India demolish Pak, win series

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India created history in Rawalpindi, winning the third and final test by an innings and 131 runs.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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India have created history by clinching the first ever Test series by winning the third and final test by an innings and 131 runs. While India had won the first test at Multan by an innings and 52 runs. Pakistan came back to win the second test at Lahore to level the series. But Team India demolished the hosts in their own backyard delivering a double blow to Pakistan which had lost the one-day series 3-2 to India last month. Record win It had taken 50 years for the Indians to record their first series win on Pakistani soil since their first visit in 1954-55 under the captaincy of Vinoo Mankad. But the innings and 131-run victory margin makes it doubly sweet, since it is India's biggest ever abroad. It is also the biggest win against Pakistan at home or away, bettering the innings and 70-run win it had registered in New Delhi when the archrivals made their first visit in 1952-53. The Pindi win is India's second biggest ever against any opposition after the innings and 219-run defeat of Mark Taylor's Australia at Kolktata in 1997-98. It is India's 77th win and 21st abroad in its 72 years of Test history. The last 16 wins have come since 1999-2000 when Sourav Ganguly took over from Sachin Tendulkar. India's first series win abroad came in New Zealand in 1967-68 when it beat the Kiwis 3-1 in a four-Test series. Wickets tumble When the Indian team took the field this morning the die was already cast although Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul Haq, who has been in brilliant form with the bat, had promised a fightback. But that never materialised and the home side, overnight on 49 for two, perished for 245. India's mammoth 600 runs against Pakistan's first innings score of 224 in the end proved too much for the hosts. Over eager to win a historic series, the Indians dropped as many as seven catches today but such was the dominance of their bowlers that they still emerged easy winners. After Laxmipathy Balaji (3/108), Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra had knocked off the cream of the Pakistan batting line up, Anil Kumble wrapped up the innings with 4 for 47 to take his tally to 15 in the series. Watched by a paltry crowd, a forlorn Pakistan coach Javed Miandad and a nail-biting Shoaib Akhtar in the Pakistani dressing room, the Indian team erupted in joy when the last batsman Danish Kaneria was caught by Ganguly off Sachin Tendulkar to end the home side's misery. Applause for India In the true spirit of the series, the few hundred Pakistanis in the stands applauded the Indians as they hugged each other. On this 40-day tour of Pakistan, there were many heroes among the Indians who came and conquered their arch-rivals in both the one-day and the Test series. India toured Pakistan for the first time in 1955 and had to wait for this day for rewriting history. Virender Sehwag, who bludgeoned his way to a record 309 in the first Test was declared Man-of-the series, Rahul Dravid, who made a marathon 270 in this match, was predictably declared the Man-of-the-match and veteran Anil Kumble won the 'Golden Ball' award for his 15 wickets in the series on tracks designed for fast bowlers. Pathan, Balaji shine In some ways the real bowling heroes for India were the inexperienced medium-pacers – the popular Balaji and lion-hearted Pathan who tore into the Pakistani batting in the first Test at Multan and the decider here on wickets on which the much-vaunted Pakistani fast bowlers failed. Never before has an India-Pakistan series been played in such sporting spirit and never before has sport contributed to goodwill between the two antagonistic neighbours as on this tour. The images of Pakistani as well as Indian fans with the flags of the two countries painted on their faces will linger in memory for long as will the spirit of bonhomie between the two teams.
(With PTI inputs)

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