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Imran Lives The Dream: Beats India In India.

The 1987 tour of Pakistan to India turned out to be a historical one. Pakistan beat India for the first time in their den.

The first four Tests were drawn and the teams arrived in Bangalore for the decider. There had already been a lot of drama over umpiring decisions earlier in the series. The Bangalore groundsman then added spice to the drama by not rolling the strip sufficiently and thus making it look under-prepared.

It was best to win the toss and bat first, as no one was aware how the wicket would behave by the third day.

Imran Khan.

This was Gavaskar's last test and Kapil Dev sent him out for the toss. It was a befitting gesture to bid farewell to a legend.

Imran won the toss and decided to bat first. In the first session itself, it was noticed that the ball was playing all kinds of tricks. The bounce being uneven, the spinners could purchase big turn by rolling the ball with their fingers without the use of their wrist. It was a dream wicket for the spinners, emphasized by the fact that 35 out of the 40 wickets were taken by the slow bowlers.
India was given a good start by the seamers. Kapil took the first two wickets, those of Rizwan-uz-Zaman for zero and Rameez Raja for 39. It was very difficult to score runs, and the batsmen needed to be patient.

The next hurdle for the Pakistani batsmen was the spinners. The introduction of Maninder Singh kept the batsmen on their toes. His variation and turn kept them guessing, and they slumped to 74 for 8. They finished with a score of 116, with the tail-enders throwing their bat around. Maninder finished with career-best figures of 18.2-8-27-7.

Imran Khan had set a defensive field for the openers, Gavaskar and Srikkanth, and the runs were flowing in singles. Then came the Pakistani spinners and dropped the run rate drastically. The next 25 overs yielded only 25 runs.

The pressure of not getting the ball away ultimately won over the experience of Gavaskar and Srikanth and both were bowled by Tauseef. Qasim was not as lethal as Tauseef, but more accurate. He conceded a miserly 13 runs of 14 overs, which put tremendous pressure on the batsmen.

Then followed the great Indian collapse with wickets falling at regular intervals. Vengsarkar was the only one who showed some mettle with a gutsy 50. He played with controlled aggression, mixing caution and attack beautifully. After the fall of his wicket, the Indian innings folded up within 19 runs for 145.

Qasim and Tauseef had all the skills to take advantage of the track. They shared the burden, bowling a total of 57 overs of the total 64 overs bowled by Pakistan.
In the second innings, Miandad opened with Rameez. They played the Indian attack confidently and with lot of determination. All the Pakistani batsmen followed the same and chipped in with 30s and 40s and took the score to a respectable 249.

India, set a target of 221, had to bring all their experience into play. Though not a very stiff target, the situation demanded immense concentration and the eschewing of flashy strokes.

However they lost two wickets very quickly in the form of Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath. Wasim Akram played spoilsport. Vengsarkar was greeted with a loud bat-pad appeal that was turned down by umpire R.B. Gupta. He was playing well before Tauseef gulped him. India lost Kiran More before stumps.

It rained on the rest day but the pitch wasn't affected. Gavaskar and Azharuddin batted well the next day and the Indians felt assured, but a twist was waiting round the corner. Azharuddin was brilliantly caught and bowled by Qasim. Gavaskar changed gears with Shastri's arrival, who did not last long. Nor did Kapil Dev. India were 161 for 7, needing 60 more to win.

Binny, who came in next, batted superbly and together with Gavaskar took the score to 189. Then the Gods smiled on Pakistan and Gavaskar fell for a masterly 96 to a dubious decision.

India could have had the last laugh had the little master batted with greater urgency while making his 96 runs. But that was not to happen and Pakistan ran home with India falling short by 16 runs.

An Indo-Pak encounter is always a high-pressure drama and this was no exception. There were lots of umpiring errors, tantrums from the players, accusations of bias on the umpires and finger-pointing. The pressure was not only too much to handle for the players but also for the umpires who succumbed to some irrelevant appeals.

All said and done, the match will be remembered for Imran's astute and inspired leadership and Gavaskar's brilliant batting display.

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