Bangalore, March 27: Inzamam-ul Haq taunted India and challenged his own bowlers when he declared 382 in front. Moreover, the Pakistan captain ensured the last day of this three-Test series, tomorrow, gets underway on a knife's edge.
Trailing 0-1 in the TVS Cup, Inzamam had to give the Mohammed Samis and Danish Kanerias reasonable time to dismiss India. Then, he needed to tempt the hosts. On both fronts, he and coach Bob Woolmer couldn't have got it better.
The declaration (at a whirlwind, India-aided 261 for two) gave a teasing 96 overs to either knock off the target or trip in that effort. By stumps today, the hosts were 25 for no loss in six overs.
Well, 18 years after the Imran Khan-led side created history, stopping India 16 short on a minefield of a Chinnaswamy Stadium wicket, Inzamam's men will be looking for a repeat at the same venue.
This time, however, the wicket is playing true.
'We need to quickly get the big boss, Rahul Dravid... we've got to break India's Wall. Once done, victory is going to be Pakistan's,' insisted Kaneria, who returned a five-wicket haul (second time this series) in innings No. 1.
Cool about the ask, the leggie added: 'I'm confident I can help bowl India out. Main 101 per cent koshish karunga and, hopefully, the final day will belong to us.'
Kaneria, perhaps, is going to head for the nearest temple early on the morrow.
V.V.S. Laxman, though, had a different take. He said: 'Anything is possible with Virender Sehwag around. Yes, we'll be looking to get there (383), but much is going to depend on how we resume in the morning. Thankfully, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have given starts on all but one occasion.'
The balance could see a dramatic shift if Sehwag, known to be rather enigmatic in the second innings, goes ballistic putting even Shahid Afridi ' who smashed Pakistan's fastest 50 this afternoon ' in the shade.
Laxman, by the way, was unbeaten on 79 when the Indian first innings ended on 449 ' 121 behind Pakistan's 570 ' some 16 minutes after lunch.
The wicket has no demon, but the highest target achieved in India remains the 276 for five by the West Indies at the Kotla (1987-88).
'I'm not making a prediction. We have all 10 wickets and they will get 90 overs. Let's see how the first hour goes,' Team India captain Sourav Ganguly, assured of not losing the series, told The Telegraph.
Given that 358 runs have still to be scored, a draw does seem the most likely result. A close second is an Indian win. At this stage, there aren't takers for a Pakistan victory.
Inzamam led his team out with an emotional 'jeetna hai' exhortation but, frankly, lacks the bowlers to run through such an accomplished line-up.
Yet, cricket has seen strange results. In any case, there's no better stage to corner the limelight than a face-off featuring India and Pakistan.