India 626 & 131-2 Pakistan 537: Series defeat looms for Pakistan despite Misbah's brave effort

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The Independent Online

India held a commanding 220-run lead over Pakistan at stumps on day four of the third Test yesterday, which continues to head for a draw here in Bangalore.

After the tourists had been bowled out for 537, a half-century from Sourav Ganguly helped India to 131 for 2 in their second innings. The openers Wasim Jaffer and Gautam Gambhir were the men out before Ganguly and Rahul Dravid shared an unbeaten third-wicket stand of 105.

Misbah-ul-Haq earlier hit an unbeaten century to help Pakistan avoid the follow-on. The visitors started the day on 369 for 5, still 257 runs adrift of India's mammoth 626. But Misbah and Kamran Akmal chipped away, the wicketkeeper-batsman reaching his eighth Test fifty in 83 balls.

Akmal was tempted down the pitch by a flighted delivery from Harbhajan Singh and stumped by Dinesh Karthik on 65 before Yasir Arafat and Misbah guided Pakistan safely to lunch. The former went on to 44 before being bowled by Ishant Sharma.

An afternoon collapse turned 525 for 6 into 537 all out at tea, leaving Misbah the last man standing on 133. Sharma finished with 5 for 118 from 37 overs.

Pakistan have to win here to level the series. But with just a day remaining they face a near impossible task, needing to dismiss India and then chase what should be a total well beyond reach.