Opener Nasir Jamshed fired his second consecutive hundred of the series to give Pakistan a rollicking start before India fought back to run through the visitors’ batting line-up in the second One-day International at the Eden Gardens here Thursday.
Riding on a 124-ball 106 by the 23-year-old Jamshed and his 141-run opening wicket stand with Mohammed Hafeez (76), Pakistan looked poised for a 300-plus total, but then surrendered wickets at regular intervals to end their innings at 250 in 48.3 overs.
The story of Pakistani batting is best exemplified by the fact that except the opening stand, there was not a single half-century partnerships in the innings. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also deserves some credit for the way he used his bowlers, particularly left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, in the middle and late overs.
Asked to bat in overcast conditions, the Pakistan openers played their shots well to score at over a run a ball to lay a solid foundation.
Dhoni’s decision to put the visitors in seemed to have been prompted more by a desire to deny the dangerous Pakistan seamers the opportunity to exploit the favourable conditions, with his side already 0-1 down in the three-match series.
Nevertheless, the Indian pacers disappointed as they failed to bowl at the right lengths, with a plethora of short deliveries making batting an easy task for the visiting openers.
Lahore based Jamshed, who seems to have developed a special liking for the Indian bowlers, played a masterly knock, which was embellished with a dozen boundaries and two sixes. Jamshed completed his third ODI hundred - all having come against India - in style.
The left-hander hit a six above Ashok Dinda’s head to reach 96, and then took a couple and a single in the same over. He got to his hundred in the following over, when he drove Ravichandran Ashwin for a boundary past mid-off. The landmark was reached in 120 balls.
The only blemish in Jamshed’s innings came while he was on 35. He drove powerfully but the edge went to backward point where Virat Kohli got his fingers but ultimately could not grip the ball.
Hafeez initially looked circumspect as he twice outside edged Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for boundaries, but grew in confidence as the overs progressed.
The 100 of the partnership came in 16.4 overs, and it was ultimately left-arm spinner Jadeja - the pick of the Indian bowlers - who got the breakthrough. Hafeez missed a sweep and lost his wicket.
Azhar Ali (2) was run out, and he was himself to blame. He swept a Jadeja delivery and set off for a non-existent run. Jamshed did not respond, and Sehwag rattled the stumps following an underarm throw by Dhoni.
Younis Khan (10) was distinctly unlucky as television replays clearly showed the ball wrapping the pad off an inside edge. Pakistan were then 177/3 in 34.3 overs.
Misbah-ul Haq (2) also did not last long, Ashwin trapping him leg before as the Pakistan skipper misjudged the line in an effort to play the ball to the legside.
Jamshed’s innings ended in the 41st over. The left-hander darted down the track to Jadeja, missed, and Dhoni fumbled in making a clean collection in his first attempt, but rattled the stumps in his second effort. Pakistan’s score then read 210/5.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja got another success two balls later, with Kamran Akmal snicking to Sehwag at the slip.
Sharma, who was luckless in the earlier part of the innings, struck gold in his last spell, removing Shoaib Malik (24), Umar Gul (17) and Mohammad Irfan (0) within a space of nine balls.
Sharma finished with three for 33 while Jadeja bagged three for 41.