India 352-3 Pakistan: Jaffer bears fruit as India take control with century partnerships

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The Independent Online

Wasim Jaffer's unbeaten 192 steered India to a commanding 352 for 3 at stumps on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan here yesterday. The opener shared in two century partnerships to lay the foundations for an imposing total after the hosts chose to bat on a benign Eden Gardens pitch.

The stylish 29-year-old flayed 32 boundaries for a fifth Test century his first against Pakistan as he dominated a weak bowling attack. Shoaib Akhtar, who had cleared a fitness test in the morning, bowled just nine overs in four spells. Younis Khan led the side in the absence of the captain, Shoaib Malik, who was ruled out with an ankle injury.

The tall and correct Jaffer shared a 136-run stand for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid (50) after Dinesh Karthik fell early. Jaffer then put on 175 for the third wicket with Sachin Tendulkar, who reached 1,000 runs against Pakistan during his breezy 82. The left-armer, Sohail Tanvir, struck with his first delivery when he had a tentative Karthik edge to Younis at second slip for one. But Pakistan, trailing 1-0 in the three-match series, had to wait until an hour after lunch to strike again.

Jaffer reached his century off 150 balls with a fine cover drive off Danish Kaneria after Dravid was unluckily given caught behind to the leg spinner in his second spell.

Jaffer was particularly severe on the erratic Tanvir, hitting him for four boundaries in a single over to reach his 50. He lashed the left-armer for 18 boundaries. Jaffer drove fluently on either side of the wicket and raced towards a double century when fading light stopped play. Sourav Ganguly was unbeaten on 17.

"I don't think I have batted so fluently in my Test career," Jaffer said, "192 in a single day, I haven't done it before. I'm used to scoring big. I've not been doing it frequently in international cricket and I'll try and do that from here on."

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