SPORT

India scores an emphatic win

Standout PERFORMANCE: Virender Sehwag was in his element once again, flaying the Pakistan attack to all parts of the park.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AP

S. Dinakar

Paceman Praveen complements Sehwag, Gambhir’s good effort

Dhaka: With his unique wrist action, Praveen Kumar is among those rare pacemen who can swing and seam, often the same delivery.

The canny Praveen cut through the Pakistani top-order on a sluggish wicket to fashion an emphatic win for India in a Kitply tri-series league game at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Tuesday night.

Chasing 331, Pakistan was dismissed for 190 in a no-contest.

The victory also brought to an end Pakistan’s run of 12 ODI wins

The deceptive Praveen of a quick-arm release dismissed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf before prising out a threatening Kamran Akmal.

Brilliant catch

Butt, who does not quite keep his back-foot punches in the early phase, fell to the trap with Rohit Sharma plucking a brilliant catch at short cover point.

Younis nicked a delivery that swung in and seamed away and Mohammad Yousuf, who has a tendency to shuffle across initially, was leg-before to a delivery that darted in.

Ishant Sharma nailed Misbah-ul-Haq, who struck a couple of lusty blows, outside the off-stump with a delivery that straightened. Young leg-spinner Piyush Chawla displayed the presence of mind to slip in a quicker delivery outside the off-stump, when Shahid Afridi, out of his crease, made room on the leg-side. M.S. Dhoni whipped off the bails. Pakistan struggled to put together partnerships.

Skipper Shoaib Malik made a defiant 67-ball 53 but received little support.

Made for each other

There is more to the Sehwag-Gambhir partnership than the two forming a right-left opening combination. Their methods are different, so are their scoring areas.

Sehwag tends to stay back, plays beside the line of the ball, has this precious ability to create width. Gambhir, fleet-footed and quick-thinking, can convert the length of the ball.

Sehwag is strong in the arc between third man and point, Gambhir can be very clever with his on-side play. The bowlers are compelled to make serious adjustments.

Their body language is positive. And the two are swift between the wickets. They sizzled after India opted to bat under a cloud cover.

Sehwag creamed Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir through the off-side field. Gambhir charged Rao Iftekar and slammed him to the widish long-on fence. The pacemen’s length was disrupted. Gambhir, dropped on 4 and 29 by Younis Khan in the slips, rode on his luck while Sehwag breached the in-field during the Power Play overs.

Young left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz finally snared the left-handed Gambhir (62, 62b, 6x4) with a delivery that lifted a shade and moved away from the off-stump. The opening pair had put on 155 in 21.3 overs.

Sehwag smote Riaz to the long-on fence but the left-armer got his man with a delivery, bowled from round the wicket that climbed into the batsman from just outside the off-stump.

A reprieve

The opener’s 89 (76b, 13x4, 1x6) was a buccaneering effort. He could have departed earlier (on 43), walking back after edging Rao Iftikhar Anjum and then stopping in his tracks after receiving a message from an alert team-management. Akmal had grounded the ball on his second attempt.

The lively Riaz extracted unexpected bounce with effort balls but requires to bowl with greater consistency. A second above-waist-high beamer at the death terminated his stint.

Debutant Yusuf Pathan wasted an opportunity and India suffered a slight stumble with Afridi bowling well. The leg-spinner tricked Rohit Sharma with a slower delivery that skidded and straightened.

Yuvraj, who had walked in at No. 3, held the innings together. He slog-swept Afridi for a six and whipped an astonishing blow off Riaz over long-off. Importantly, he was decisive against Afridi’s spin.

Dhoni, Suresh Raina, and Pathan provided flourish to the end.

Pakistan’s fielding was ordinary and the bowling patchy. The Indians were not complaining about the 20 wides and nine no balls..

SCOREBOARD India: G. Gambhir c Akmal b Riaz 62, V. Sehwag c Akmal b Riaz 89, Yuvraj b Gul 55, Y. Pathan c Iftikhar b Afridi 3, Rohit b Afridi 9, M.S. Dhoni lbw b Tanvir 24, S. Raina c Misbah b Gul 26, I. Pathan c Malik b Gul 18, Praveen (not out) 6, P. Chawla (not out) 0; Extras (w-20, nb-9, lb-4, b-5): 38; Total (for eight wkts. in 50 overs): 330.

Fall of wickets: 1-155 (Gambhir), 2-174 (Sehwag), 3-199 (Y. Pathan), 4-231 (Rohit), 5-269 (Dhoni), 6-271 (Yuvraj), 7-322 (I. Pathan), 8-324 (Raina).

Pakistan bowling: Gul 10-0-61-3, Tanvir 9.4-0-57-1, Riaz 9.2-0-86-2, Iftikhar 10-0-63-0, Afridi 10-0-52-2, Younis 1-0-2-0.

Pakistan: S. Butt c Rohit b Praveen 9, K. Akmal c Yusuf b Praveen 38, Younis c Dhoni b Praveen 0, Mohd. Yousuf lbw b Praveen 11, Misbah c Dhoni b Ishant 24, S. Malik c Raina b Chawla 53, S. Afridi st. Dhoni b Chawla 23, S. Tanvir c & b Chawla 6, U. Gul c Ishant b Yuvraj 7, R. Iftikhar (not out) 16, W. Riaz lbw b Chawla 0; Extras (lb-3) 3; Total (in 35.4 overs) 190.

Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Butt), 2-14 (Younis), 3-26 (Yousuf), 4-81 (Akmal), 5-94 (Misbah), 6-138 (Afridi), 7-156 (Tanvir), 8-169 (Gul), 9-180 (Malik).

India bowling: Praveen 9-1-53-4, Ishant 6-0-28-1, Irfan 6-0-38-0, Chawla 8.4-0-40-4, Yuvraj 4-0-17-1, Yusuf 2-0-11-0.