Bangalore, Dec.12 : An exciting last day's play in the third and final Test between India and Pakistan was brought to an end by bad light.
India needed just three wickets to register what would have been an improbable win and a 2-0 series score line, but the Pakistani batters managed to keep an aggressive Anil Kumble (5 for 60) and an aspiring bowler in Yuvraj Singh (2 for 9) at bay for at least 40-minutes.
A litle after lunch on Day five, India had left Pakistan just 47 overs to score an improbable 374 for victory. As the opening pair added 44, thoughts turned to how soon the match could be called off but dramatic interventions from Anil Kumble and Yuvraj Singh pushed Pakistan to the precipice before bad light saved them from acute embarrassment with 11 overs still to be bowled.
The playing conditions didn't allow the use of floodlights to leave India ruing a late declaration, though they clinched their first home Test series victory against Pakistan since 1979-80.
Even when Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan fell in the space of four balls, one bowled by a Kumble express and the other popping up a return catch, it appeared to be a wobble rather than a quake.
Salman Butt and Faisal Iqbal steadied the innings with a 29-run stand and, when Butt got a thin edge behind to give Kumble his third wicket of the innings, Pakistan decided to blast their way out of trouble.
With the fielders crowding the bat, cuts and drives flew to the boundary as Misbah-ul-Haq and Iqbal added 73 at seven an over.
Only nine balls remained for the mandatory overs to start when Kumble struck again. Ishant Sharma caught Iqbal at mid-on and Kamran Akmal's off-stump was uprooted by a quicker delivery.
Mohammad Yousuf avoided the hat-trick, but Yuvraj Singh, the birthday boy, then left his mark on proceedings.
An arm ball ended Misbah's cameo of 37, while Yasir Arafat had no answer to one that went straight on.
Given the batting qualities of Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria, India were effectively three decent balls away from a famous victory, but Mohammad Sami kept Yousuf company long enough for the umpires to bring their light-meters out.
Once they asked the question, the batsmen were off.
Batting, by and large, was no picnic on a pitch where the bounce had become impossible to predict.
Earlier in the day, India were helped to a decent score of 284 for six, thanks to a 91 by Saurav Ganguly, who is in the form of his life, 52 by an out of form Dinesh Karthick and 42 by former captain Rahul Dravid.
The Ganguly-Dravid partnership was worth 152 when Dravid was deceived by a googly from Kaneria, and three balls later, Ganguly slashed a wide ball from Sami straight to Iqbal at gully. His knock ended on 91.
Another nine runs and he would have become only the seventh man in history to make a double-hundred and a century in the same Test. ndia will reflect on missed opportunities, but at the end of the day, they'll take a 1-0 series win, their first against Pakistan on Indian soil since the days when a fresh-faced Kapil Dev was leading the attack. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI