Ishant~~s five-for leaves Misbah stranded

Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Bangalore: Misbah-ul-Haq crafted a fine unbeaten century to help Pakistan post 537 in their first essay on the fourth day of the third and final Test at Chinnaswami Stadium on Tuesday.

In-form Misbah struck 133 and was associated in two fruitful partnerships after the visitors resumed at 369 for five in reply to India's first innings 626 all out.

The innings ended just before tea, which was taken early.

Misbah took his overnight sixth-wicket stand with Kamran Akmal (65) to 144 to first help the visitors avoid the follow-on.

He then shared in an entertaining 93-run stand for the next wicket with debutant Yasir Arafat (44) before pacer Ishant Sharma struck four times to hasten the end for his first five-wicket haul.

Pakistan's chances of securing an improbable series-levelling victory looked dim with the visitors 89 runs behind on first innings with just four sessions left.

Hosts India lead the series 1-0 after winning the opening Test by six wickets in New Delhi.

Resuming at 54, a composed Misbah hit 17 fours in his 322-ball essay for his second century after scoring his maiden ton in the drawn second Test in Kolkata.

The 33-year-old Misbah, who got a Test lifeline after the retirement of former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in October, frustrated the experienced Indian spin duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh with his stout defence.

Tall and muscular, Misbah, who along with Akmal helped save the second Test in a sixth-wicket stand of 207, used his full reach to counter leg spinner Kumble and off-spinner Harbhajan, who both operated with attacking fields.

Cheeky Akmal, who scored his eighth fifty, was stumped off Harbhajan after he helped avert the follow-on.

Arafat followed up his five-wicket haul with a fine 44 before playing-on to Sharma.

His dismissal set off a collapse with the remaining three wickets falling for the addition of just 12 runs.

Playing in only his second Test, 19-year-old Sharma cleaned up the tail in a 6.1 overs burst in which he took four wickets, beginning with Arafat.

Sharma, who got an opportunity to play following injuries to senior bowlers, yorked Mohammad Sami for one had Shoaib Akhtar caught at short-leg also for one and last-man Danish Kaneria caught and bowled for four.

India conceded a record 76 extras, the previous mark being 71 by West Indies.

Brief Scores (at tea, D-4): 

India Ist innings 626 Vs Pakistan 537 (Misbah 133*, Younis 80, Akmal 65, Butt 68; Ishant 5 for 118, Harbhajan 2 for 131)



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