|India's Sachin Tendulkar and Pakistani players returning from the field as India win the first cricket test match against Pakistan at Firozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)
New Delhi: India romped to a six-wicket win over Pakistan in the first test on Monday, taking the lead in the three-match series.
The hosts, chasing a target of 203, coasted to the win with six wickets in hand after needing just an additional 32 runs for victory on the fifth day.
Sachin Tendulkar was unbeaten on 56 after reaching his 46th test fifty. Strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar removed Saurav Ganguly on his overnight 48 before India knocked off the runs in just half an hour.
Ganguly and Tendulkar added 88 runs for the fourth wicket after opener Wasim Jaffer struck a fluent 53 to guide India to 171 for three at stumps on the fourth day.
India made 276 all out in reply to Pakistan's first innings 231 and then dismissed them for 247. India leg spinner Anil Kumble completed match figures of seven for 106.
The 37-year-old, making his test captaincy debut, was named the man-of-the-match.
Sourav Ganguly never ceases to surprise.
|Sourav Ganguly on way to his 48 at the Kotla on Sunday. (Reuters)
A star batsman who has also been the most successful of Indian captains, Souravís penchant for rising to the occasion in crunch situations remains an amazing aspect of Indian cricket.
The fourth day of the India-Pakistan first Test for the IndianOil Cup was mainly a Sourav show. He bowled and batted with equal elan to take India to the doorsteps of victory. Chasing 203 for a win, India were 171 for three with Sourav (48) and Sachin Tendulkar (32) going great guns. It seems to be only a matter of time before India take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Sachin and Sourav have so far added 78 runs for the fourth wicket. Play was called off because of insufficient light in the 55th over of the Indian innings.
There was another good news for Indian fans ó Sachin became the second-highest run-getter in Test cricket when he reached 24. Tendulkar (11,183) surpassed former Australian captain Allan Borderís 11,174 runs. He now only has West Indian Brian Lara ahead of him with 11,953.
Earlier, Pakistan were all out for 247 with skipper Anil Kumble returning figures of three for 68.
In the morning, things were not quite as rosy for India as it looked in the end. Pakistan, who began at 212 for five, lost two quick wickets to Zaheer Khan but Misbah-ul Haq and Mohammed Sami played patiently and seemed to be on the way of setting India an imposing target.
But Kumbleís astute leadership put paid to Pakistanís hopes.
In the 83rd over, Kumble decided to use Sourav and got the breakthrough almost immediately. The move came as a surprise since the situation had called for the introduction of Harbhajan Singh. Bowling from the Delhi Gate end, Sourav got the match back into India ís grips. Kumble took the new ball and the drama unfolded.
Misbah (45) tried to clear the long on and ended up offering a skier to Dinesh Karthik. As if to prove Kumble right, Sourav sent back Sami too with the last ball of his over. Sourav had turned the tide with the double strike.
With this, Pakistanís dreams of setting up a 300-plus target were shattered.
Souravís task was far from over. In the post-tea session, under fading light and with Shoaib Akhtar spitting venom, the southpaw was in excellent touch. India then were 93 for three with their three top-order batsmen Ė Dinesh Karthik (1), Wassim Jaffer (53), and Rahul Dravid (34) ó back in the pavilion. All three were dismissed by Shoaib.
Sourav and Sachin applied themselves to stop the bowlers from making any further inroads.
Sourav was the more dominant partner and was going for shots freely. Once Sachin found his rhythm, the Pakistani bowlers could do very little. Souravís innings included eight fours in his 61-ball knock. Sachin faced 86 balls and hit five fours.
The second test starts in Kolkata on Friday.