Kolkata, Dec 2: Keeping the Pakistani hope alive, middle-order batsman Misbah-ul-Haq and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal struck brilliant centuries to almost bring their team on the verge of avoiding follow-on on the third day of the second Test match against India here at the Eden Gardens today.
After the Pakistani top order once again failed to perform to its calibre, leaving the team tottering at 150 with five wickets down at one stage, Misbah and Akmal steadied the innings. The two scored 207 runs for sixth wicket before off-spinner Harbhajan Singh got rid of Akmal, who scored 119, which included 16 fours.
Earlier this morning, it was the same old story for the Pakistani batsmen as none of their top four players could score even a half-century, and the visitors lost half of their side for just 152 runs.
Thanks to some fine bowling by skipper Anil Kumble and Harbhajan, they lost the wickets of opener Salman Butt (42) and their most outstanding batsman of recent time Mohammad Yousuf (6) within the first hour of the morning session.
Soon, Younis Khan (43) and Faisal Iqbal (0) were also back to pavilion. At stumps on day three, Pakistan was 358 for six, with Misbah unbeaten on 108 and Mohammad Sami batting at nought. Pakistan still needs 59 runs to avoid follow-on with four wickets remaining.