Fluent Dravid pulls India out of trouble

India 407 & 133-3 Pakistan 393
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The Independent Online

India rallied through Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to hold a 147-run lead over Pakistan at stumps on the third day of the second Test in Kolkata.

Pakistani paceman Mohammad Sami had ripped into the Indian top order to take two quick wickets and leave them reeling at 21 for two.

However, that brought Dravid and Tendulkar together and they shared a stand of 98 before the latter was dismissed for 52, leaving Dravid unbeaten on 54 and captain Sourav Ganguly four not out as bad light ended play.

Earlier, spin pair Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh ran through the Pakistan tail as the tourists lost their final eight wickets for 120 runs.

Pakistan were dismissed for 393, only 14 runs behind India's first innings total of 407. Resuming on 273 for two, the tourists had added only eight to their overnight total when they lost century-maker Yousuf Youhana.

The right-hander was trapped lbw by Lakshmipathy Balaji, offering no stroke to a ball which pitched outside off-stump. He had made 104 when Australia umpire Darrell Hair's finger went up.

Inzamam-ul-Haq joined Younis Khan and the pair put on 50 before the Pakistan skipper was dismissed.

Inzamam pushed at a ball from Irfan Pathan which angled away and got a faint edge to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik to leave Pakistan on 331 for four.

The tourists suffered another blow when Asim Kamal was adjudged run out by the TV umpire for six after fine fielding by Tendulkar. After lunch, Pakistani wickets fell in pairs and it was Kumble who snared the all-important scalp of Younis.

He tried to turn a ball past slip which spun and bounced, edging to VVS Laxman at second slip who gratefully pouched the chance. This ended an excellent innings of 147 from the batsman off 258 balls that included 19 fours.

Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal soon followed for a 13-ball duck as he failed to build on his excellent match-saving innings in the first Test.

Pakistan were under great pressure from India's spin duo and Abdul Razzaq was the next to fall for 17 to Kumble before Harbhajan induced a top-edge from Sami that lobbed up to Ganguly.

Mohammad Khalil was the last wicket to fall for four as Kumble picked up his third wicket for 98 runs.

However, the tourists roared back and it was a fiery spell from paceman Sami that accounted for two early Indian wickets.

Virender Sehwag had begun in typically attacking style taking 14 runs from Khalil's first over.

However, his opening partner Gautam Gambhir fared less well as Sami ripped in the perfect yorker with his first ball to smash his stumps.

Sami was a man possessed and when Sehwag could only play forward his defences were breached as the ball unluckily clipped off his bat and body, before glancing the bails.

This brought Tendulkar to the crease and he and Dravid began the fightback, the former reaching his third consecutive half-century off 83 balls in an innings sprinkled with nine fours.

But he was to add only a further two runs as he fell victim to a dubious umpiring decision from Steve Bucknor, standing in his 100th Test.

The master batsman was adjudged caught behind from a ball by Razzaq but Pakistan barely appealed and replays showed the ball missed the bat.

Ganguly joined Dravid at the crease and the latter reached his 37th Test half-century before play was called off shortly afterwards with thunderclouds gathering overhead and India on 133 for three.