Pakistan thump India in Kolkata to seal series
KOLKATA, Jan 3: An insipid India slumped to yet another series defeat with a pathetic display as arch-rivals Pakistan spanked the hosts by 85 runs in the second One-day International to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series here on Thursday.
Riding on Nasir Jamshed’s second consecutive century, the visitors posted 250 all out and then shot out the Indians for a paltry 165 to record a convincing victory at the Eden Gardens.
This is the first time in more than three years that India have lost a home series. The series defeat against Pakistan marks another low for the struggling Indian team which suffered an embarrassing Test series debacle against England at home and levelled the T20 series 1-1, against both England and Pakistan.
The latest defeat – Pakistan’s fourth on the trot in Kolkata – has also rendered the third and final one-dayer at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday totally inconsequential.
It was yet another woeful display by the famed Indian batting line-up, which has been struggling for sometime now and has been largely responsible for the team’s forgettable results in recent times.
The huge defeat to Pakistan will now raise questions on the future of some of India’s under-performing batting stars, who have let the team down more often than not.
Nasir (106 off 124 balls, 12 boundaries and two sixes) notched up his third ODI century, all three coming against India, but Pakistan suffered a dramatic collapse after being at a healthy 141-0 at the midway stage.
Mohammed Hafeez was the other contributor with a rollicking 76 off 74 balls with 10 boundaries.
The floodgates opened up after the dismissal of Hafeez as none of the other batsmen could hang around for long on a slow track, which made stroke-making difficult after the ball became older.
India’s dramatic comeback was largely thanks to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who took three for 41, as Pakistan were bundled out in 48.3 overs.
After giving the first breakthrough, Jadeja took two wickets – Nasir and Kamran Akmal – in one over to trigger a collapse, as paceman Ishant Sharma (3-34) polished off the tail.
Pakistan lost all 10 wickets in 25 overs as India made a spectacular comeback in their must-win match.
The Indians needed a good start from their struggling openers – Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag – but it did not materialize yet again, putting pressure on the jittery middle-order.
Sehwag (31), Gambhir (11), Virat Kohli (6), Yuvraj Singh (9) and Suresh Raina (18) perished in quick succession to give Pakistan the upper hand in what eventually turned out to be a lop-sided contest.
With wickets tumbling, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained till the end with his 47th ODI half century but even he could not bail India out. Dhoni, who scored a heroic unbeaten 113 in the first ODI in Chennai, needed the middle order to give him company but that was not to be.
Gambhir and Sehwag had a quiet start in pursuit of 251. They played and missed a lot of deliveries against Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan. The left-arm seamers did not allow the Indian duo to score freely.
Gambhir was the first to go, inside-edging a Junaid delivery. Kohli chased a wide ball on leg-side and Kamran Akmal completed an outstanding diving catch to his left to give Junaid his second scalp.
Sehwag and Yuvraj too departed to leave India at 70-4 in the 19th over. Dhoni and Raina had a brief resistance before the left-hander was brilliantly stumped out by Kamran off Hafeez.
Ravichandran Ashwin, batting ahead of Ravindra Jadeja, struggled for 22 balls scoring three runs before he was stumped off Shoaib Malik.
Ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and Junaid finished with three wickets each with Umar Gul taking two.
Earlier, put into bat, in-form Hafeez and Jamshed were at ease against the Indian pace attack up front and got off to a watchful
The inexperienced duo of Ashok Dinda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar could not make use of the overcast conditions like Dhoni would have expected after winning the toss.
On the other hand, it was intelligent cricket on display from the opening duo as they cleverly bisected the field to steal a boundary almost every over in the first Power Play to go almost six an over.
Dinda was wayward with his bouncers while Bhuvneshwar too lacked the bite as the Pakistani duo went scotfree.
The 23-year-old Nasir continued from where he had left in Chennai, while Hafeez made up for his duck in the first match with a sensible display and rotating the strike.—Agencies