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The most thrilling moment of a disappointing Test series between India and Pakistan was when both teams failed to win a match by a narrow margin.

[caption id="attachment_194" align="alignright" width="300"]Pakistan squad that toured India under the captaincy of Asif Iqbal (Photo: Sikander Bakht) Pakistan squad that toured India under the captaincy of Asif Iqbal (Photo: Sikander Bakht)[/caption]

The Delhi Test, Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, ended in a draw when India were just 26 runs away from victory and Pakistan needed four wickets to win.

Sikander Bakht’s had destructive bowling left Indians hopeless in the match, which ended today (December 9) in 1979. India’s failure to speed up their chase deprived them of win. Though Dilip Vengsarkar played a pivotal role in preventing India from loss by scoring 146 runs, his batting might have helped India beat Pakistan had he played a bit more quickly.

As for Pakistan, the main reason for their failure to defeat India was the absence of Imran Khan, who had been injured on the second day of the match.

He got injured in the first inning while bowling his eighth over and could only bowl one over in the second inning. His absence boosted India’s confidence and they managed to rescue the match from Pakistan.

In the first inning, Wasim Raja’s 97 and Asif Iqbal’s 64 helped Pakistan score 273 runs. In reply, the Indians were bowled out on 126, thanks to young pacer Sikander Bakht who took eight wickets for 69. This was Sikander’s first Test in India and he sent eight Indian batsmen to pavilion, including Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev.

With an amazing lead of 147 runs, Pakistan started their second inning with a boosted morale and, with the help of half-centuries by Zaheer Abbas and Waseem Raja, took their lead 348 runs at the loss of four wickets.

But as the captain departed, Pakistan could not stand the opponents’ bowling attack and lost their last six wickets for just 41 runs. Dev and Dilip Doshi ended the Pakistani line-up on 364.

Consequently, India started their second inning with a target of 390 runs and with one and a half day in their hands. India managed to score 117 runs, losing two wickets, but the slowness of Vengsarkar on the last day proved to be the biggest obstacle for India to achieve the target. The extent of his sluggishness can be gauged by the fact that he made just 17 runs in the entire first session.

It seemed as if the Indians were only trying to prevent themselves from defeat and not win the match. And when they tried to win, it was too late.

India required another 139 runs in the last session. The batsmen then speeded up their chase at both ends, but the wicket of Yashpal Sharma by Bakht was more of a shock for Indian team. They were still 114 runs away from victory which they had to make in 20 overs. In the final moments, Dev and Vengsarkar did try but failed to achieve their target from just 26 runs.

Vengsarkar remained at crease for a hefty 522 minutes and made 146 off 370. So, his historic inning can be regarded as match-saving, but not match-winning.

Bakht took 11 wickets for Pakistan in the match which made it the best bowling performance of his career.

However, despite this brilliant performance, the series proved disappointing for Pakistan. After the first two matches ended in a draw, Pakistan lost the next match in Mumbai and India got a lead which did increase afterwards but didn’t decrease. The fifth Test in Madras set the seal on Indian win as they beat Pakistan by 10 wickets. The last Test in Kolkata also ended in a draw after riveting performances by both sides. The hosts won the series 2-0 as a result.
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