Cricket: Pathan equals world record

HARARE - Irfan Pathan's top-class swing bowling brought him a world record as India beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in the second test in Harare today.

India, notching up their first series victory outside the subcontinent since 1986, required just 19 runs to win after Pathan took five for 67 to bowl Zimbabwe out for 223 in their second innings.

The left-arm paceman's sixth five-wicket haul in 15 tests gave him 21 wickets in the series, equalling the world record for a two-test series.

Left-arm spinner Johnny Briggs took 21 wickets in two tests for England against South Africa in 1888-89, a feat matched by India's Anil Kumble against Pakistan in 1999.

Andy Blignaut was instrumental in forcing India to bat again, entertaining a sparse crowd with a brisk innings of 84 not out, striking four sixes including one over the main grandstand off Kumble, and eight fours off just 93 balls.

Hamilton Masakadza helped him avoid a sixth successive innings defeat on home soil for Zimbabwe with his innings of 71 in a record seventh-wicket partnership for the African country against India.

The duo played aggressive cricket as they added 116 runs in 100 minutes, Masakadza playing some beefy strokes in his three-hour innings.

Masakadza and Blignaut dominated the morning session and Zimbabwe went into lunch on 190 for six, but three wickets in nine balls in the second session ensured India would have a token run-chase.

Masakadza, Blessing Mahwire and Waddington Mwayenga were all trapped leg before wicket, Zaheer Khan taking the final wicket to finish with four for 58.

Virender Sehwag hit three fours as India raced to victory off 14 balls, although the winning runs came courtesy of four byes way down the leg side by Blignaut.

Zimbabwe had needed 205 runs to make India bat again and looked likely to be all out some time before the lunch break when they lost two wickets in the first eight overs of the day to slump to 85 for six.

Zaheer claimed Heath Streak's wicket, caught by Vangipurrapu Laxman at second slip for eight, with the third ball of the day, but had bad luck thereafter with three catches dropped off his bowling from successive deliveries.

Blignaut was on 16 when substitute Dheeraj Jadhav dropped him at second slip. Sehwag at third slip and wicketkeeper Dinesh Kaarthick then missed catches off Zaheer's next two balls.

Charles Coventry was the day's other wicket to fall, caught by India's captain Sourav Ganguly at mid-on off a Pathan slower ball after scoring a brisk 25.

- REUTERS

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