Pakistan seal ODI series in style

Pakistan sealed the three-match ODI series with a comfortable 85-run victory against India in the second match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

Chasing a 251-run target, the Pakistani bowling attack never allowed their opponents to build partnerships and they were eventually dismissed for 165 in 48 overs.

Skipper MS Dhoni top scored with 54 not out and Virender Sehwag made 31 in a dismal batting display that only featured 10 fours in the entire innings.

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up three wickets giving away 20 runs. All of his wickets came in one over.

Junaid Khan also grabbed three wickets and Umar Gul two.

India got off to cautious start after Sehwag and Gambhir negotiated the Pakistan pacers well and added 42 for the first wicket before the latter got an inside edge onto the stumps off the impressive Junaid.

Sehwag was trapped lbw by Gul.

Junaid also sent back Virat Kohli (6) who was smartly taken by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.

Gul grabbed his second wicket removing the dangerous Yuvraj Singh (9) with another excellent delivery that forced the left-hander to edge behind to the keeper.

India’s plight was made worse once Suresh Raina (18) was stumped off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez to leave the home side tottering on 95 for five after 26 overs.

R Ashwin did not last long after Shoaib Mallik had him stumped.

Ajmal then ensured India were heading for a big defeat after striking thrice in an over to get rid of R Jadeja, B Kumar and A Dinda cheaply.

All the while Dhoni could only watch from the other end.

Earlier, opener Nasir Jamshed led the way with his second successive hundred of the series (106 off 124 balls) to help Pakistan reach 250 in 48.3 overs.

His knock featured 12 fours and two sixes. It was also the left-hander’s third ton on the trot against India.

After being put into bat, Pakistan made a fantastic start with openers Mohammad Hafeez and Jamshed putting on 141 runs in 24 overs.

But occasional bowler Ravindra Jadeja made the breakthrough having Hafeez bowled for 76 with a length delivery on middle and off that went straight on with the arm. The batsman tried a slog sweep but missed the ball that sneaked through and rattled the stumps.

Hafeez’s dismissal opened the door for India as they clawed back their opponents claiming the next five wickets for 69 runs.

Pakistan lost their second wicket with the score on 145 when Azhar Ali was run out.

Ravindra bowled a full delivery outside off, Ali looked to play a sweep but got a bit of glove onto his pads. The ball rolled over to the leg side and as Jadeja appealed for an lbw, Ali set off for a single but was sent back.

Dhoni chased the ball and lobbed it to Sehwag who came up to the stumps and whipped off the bails to run out Ali, who slipped on his way back to the stumps.

Younis Khan (10) was given out leg before wicket even though he got a thick inside edge onto his pads.

The lucky bowler was Suresh Raina as the umpire raised his finger to reduce Pakistan to 177-3 in 34.3 overs.

Five runs later skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was trapped plumb in front by R Ashwin.

Jamshed and Kamran Akmal both fell off alternate deliveries with the score on 210 in the 41st over off the bowling of Jadeja.

Jamshed was stumped by wicketkeeper MS Dhoni while Kamran slashed hard at a delivery which landed in the hands of Sehwag at first slip.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and B Kumar then clean up Shoaib Mallik (24), Umar Gul (17) and Saeed Ajmal (6) to leave Pakistan well below the 300-run mark.

Jadeja finished with 3-41 and Sharma bagged 3 for 34.

Pakistan won the first match in Chennai by six wickets. The final match of the series is at the Firoz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Jan 6.

This is the first bilateral series since the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.

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