Misbah carries Pakistan out of follow-on zone

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Kolkata, Dec 3 (UNI) Pakistan won the smaller battle of avoiding follow-on against India, reaching 418 for six at lunch with Misbah-ul-Haq going great guns and batting on 141 on the fourth day of the second Test at Eden Gardens here today.

Of course, the bigger war is to save the Test match and the scales are still marginally tilted in India's favour, with the score of 616 for five on board.

Pakistan, beginning the day at 358 for six, reached 417 for six in 131.3 overs when Misbah flicked Sourav Ganguly off the pads for two runs. Misbah reached 140 and Mohd. Sami was giving him company on 24.

India are to be blamed for not getting a breakthrough. The very second ball of the day's play, Harbhajan Singh got one to spin and bounce. The ball took the gloves of Sami, then on 0, and a sharp chance was floored by Wasim Jaffer in the gully.

Next, Sami offered a chance to Rahul Dravid in the first slip off Anil Kumble on six. But that went abegging.

Misbah was a picture of concentration, playing perhaps the innings of his life. He middled every delivery and a six over kneeling on one knee will remain a signature shot of the day.

At 141, Misbah continued from where he had left in New Delhi, at once appearing Pakistan's most sensible and best batsman.

Spurred on by Sami's daredevilry, he took educated risks before lunch, lofting Kumble over midwicket, slog-sweeping Zaheer Khan and flashing through slips. His innings was studded with 13 boundaries and a six.

At the other end, Mohd. Sami was a perfect foil. In New Delhi, he showed he could hang on. Today, he should he could bat also, as he lofted a six off Kumble. It must have hurt the Indian bowling, but Sami braced himself for greater glory remaining undefeated at 24 off 86 balls. Misbah at the other end had consumed 303 deliveries.

In a rare incident, on-field umpire Raymond Doctrove, standing in his 15th Test here at Eden Gardens today, left the field in the 118th over complaining of chest pain.

Play was stopped for 10 minutes and early drinks break taken.

Later Amiesh Maheshbhai Saheba from Gujarat replaced him as the second on-field umpire with Rudy Koertzen. Doctrove left as Zaheer Khan was operating from the pavilion end, 50 minutes into the fourth day's play.

K G Laxminarayan became the third umpire and local umpire Sudip Moitra became the fourth umpire.

Earlier, Koertzen had replaced Billy Bowden for this Test after he was dropped from the Kandy Test (between England and Sri Llanka).

CAB sources told UNI, ''Doctrove was feeling discomfort and pain on the left side of the chest. The doctors are attending him.'' UNI

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