New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) Four Indian wickets in the space of 6.2 overs turned the scales in favour of Pakistan as the hosts were tottering on 139 for five at tea in the first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla here today.
Resuming on 46 for one after lunch in reply to Pakistan first innings total of 231 all out, India lost their four top order batsmen in Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid for a mere 22 runs.
At tea break, India were trailing Pakistan by 92 runs with five first innings wickets in hand. Indian run rate, though, was high, their 139 coming from 38 overs.
VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni halted the Indian top order collapse with a 46-run stand for the sixth wicket from 10.1 overs.
Laxman was batting on 28 (48 balls, 3X4) and wicket-keeper Dhoni was giving him company on 17 (23 balls; 23 balls).
Shoaib Akhtar had so far claimed two wickets while Sohail Tanvir fetched two. Spinner Danish Kaneria, who had bowled only four overs, had been unsuccessful so far.
Akhtar initiated the Indian top order collapse, following captain Shoaib Malik handing the cherry to Akhtar for his second spell after unsuccessful nine overs and the "Rawalpindi Express" immediately trapped Jaffer in the 22nd over of India innings and tenth after lunch.
Jaffer made 32 (65 balls; 6X4) and India were 71 for two when he was out after stitching 56-run stand with Dravid for the second wicket.
Two balls later, Pakistan announced the coming back into the match by taking the huge wicket of in-form Sachin Tendulkar who fell for a mere one while running for a non-existent second.
Dravid played an Akhtar delivery off his hips towards the square leg and completed an easy single. Tendulkar, however, turned for a non-existent second and Mohammad Yousuf's lightning fast throw from the square leg hit the stumps for the third umpire to rule the little master out at India's total score of 73 for three.
The vociferous Kotla crowd, which turned out in large numbers by Test standards, returned to mute silence as a disappointed Tendulkar trudged back to the pavillion.
Tendulkar who required 25 runs to surpass former Australian captain Allan Border as second highest run getter in Test history, would have to wait for the second innings for the feat.
Next man in, Ganguly, did not survive long and four overs after Tendulkar's dismissal, the Bengal southpaw was bowled by a Sohail Tanvir beauty which jagged in after pitching outside the off stump line to beat Ganguly's defence and crash on to the middle stump.
Ganguly made eight from nine balls with the help of a four and India were 88 for four at his fall.
The hosts were in dire straits barely two overs later, with Dravid returning to pavilion after scoring 38 from 73 balls with the helped of eight fours.
A beautiful Tanvir delivery broke through famed Dravid defence and the former India captain completely missed the line while trying to flick a ball which swung away after pitching between leg and middle to see his off stump uprooted.
Laxman and Dhoni then took the Indian total towards 150 mark and they have so far shared 46 runs for the sixth wicket from 10.1 overs.
Laxman seemed to be in fine touch, timing the ball well and finding gaps with his usual wristy shots. But, the best shot was the straight drive four in the 38th over of Tanvir.
Dhoni also looked well-settled middling the ball well and taking off boundaries off Sami and Kaneria.
Before lunch break, India suffered an early jolt with opener Dinesh Karthik was out in the fifth over of their innings, edging an Akhtar delivery which seamed away after pitching outside the off stump to Kamran Akmal. Karthik made nine from 11 balls and he fell at team total of 15.
Dravid, who joined Jaffer, was greeted by a loud LBW appeal by Akhtar. But, the former captain, who hit back-to-back centuries including a double ton in Ranji Trophy matches for Karnataka, scored three fours off Tanvir in the sixth over.
The first one was an elegant cover drive, the second a flick between mid wicket and mid on and the third another flick past mid wicket. The last two shots were such beauties that none of the fielders had no time to react.
Two overs before lunch break, Dravid added another four to his name with a well-timed hit to the long off. Next over, Jaffer scored his third four sending a Mohammad Sami delivery to fine leg boundary.
In the morning, Pakistan were all out for 231 after overnight batsman Misbah-ul-Haq was run out in bizzare circumstances for 82.
Resuming the second day on 210 for eight, Pakistan folded their innings 51 minutes after play started in the morning, adding 21 runs in 10.2 overs (total 96.2) and losing two wickets in the process.
Misbah, who defied Indian bowlers for almost half of the day yesterday, was run out in bizzare circumstances in the 96th over. He ran for a single off Sourav Ganguly but in a momentary lapse of concentration he jumped up after reaching the other end without putting his bat down apparently to avoid a Dinesh Karthik throw from the point region. The ball dislodged the bails and the third umpire ruled him out with the batsman cursing himself for the mistake all the way to the dressing room.
Misbah's herculean 82 in difficult circumstances came from 243 balls and hit six fours and one six in his stay of 313 minutes at the crease.
When Misbah was out, the ninth wicket pair between him and Mohammad Sami had shared an 87-run partnership from 41.1 overs.
Four balls later, Kumble clean-bowled Danish Kaneria for a duck to return with four for 38 from 21.2 overs and take his wicket tally at this ground to 52. His total career haul has now climbed to 570.
Yesterday, Misbah and Sami defied India for 31.4 overs and denied India any success in the last session after the hosts had put the visitors on the mate by reducing them to 142 for eight.