Kolkata, Dec 2 (UNI) Pakistan stared down the barrel as Indian bowlers picked up four vital wickets in the first session of the third day to reduce the visitors to 154 for five at lunch in the second Test at Eden Gardens here.
Chasing 417 to save follow-on, Pakistan went into lunch with Misbah-ul-Haq batting on 35 and Kamran Akhmal on two. In the morning session Pakistan scored 104, commencing on 50 for one, and lost four vital wickets to put them in the middle of a rut.
Pakistan began the day 50 for one and Salman Butt looked poised to be a thorn in the Indian flesh, till Harbhajan Singh was introduced in the 26th over of Pakistan innings. Salman beaten in flight and was gone. The ball was flighted up, above the eye-level and dipped, Salman didn't quite get a full stride out and chose to off drive but got a outside edge and its snapped up by Dravid at slip. Salman gone for 42 that had six boundaries written in class.
The score was 77-2 and the Pakistan innings looked like crumbling apart.
Harbhajan was on song as his deliveries both spun and bounced, leaving the Pakistan batsmen bewilderd. In the 28th over he bowled a big off-break that went through Mohammed Yousuf's gates. Castled at six, Yousuf began his long walk back to the pavilion, as visions of a rearguard from the experienced duo of Younis-Yousuf pair was snuffed out.
Munaf Patel who was operating from the High Court end got into the act. Patel got rid of the danger man Younis Khan with an ordinary delivery, short and wide outside the off stump. Khan walked across and hung out his bat-- horrible shot to say the least to induce a thick outside edge and MS Dhoni takes a dolly. Khan, who began on the overnight score of two, was gone for 43, that had five boundaries and a six to his name.
Kumble, brought himself on from the pavilion end, and made all his experience count against greenhorn Faisal Iqbal who was done in by the wrong one and was out on duck. It landed outside the off stump and broke back in to rap him in front of the middle stump.
Faisal was stretching forward but the bat was well outside the line --he didn't pick the googly-- and was caught right in front.
Pakistan were in the midst of a big hole here at five for 150.
They could have been in a worse position had Sachin Tendulkar held on to a wild swipe from Misbah-ul-Haq on one run then.
Tendulkar dropped him at midwicket off Kumble.
The Indian bowlers bowled with verve and energy, going for the kill with skipper Anil Kumble rotating his bowlers intelligently.
The Pakistan batsmen on the other hand hardly showed the determination that was needed in this hour of crisis.