Pakistan take early series win

Nasir Jamshed slammed a century for Pakistan.

KOLKATA – Nasir Jamshed struck his third successive one-day international century against India to help Pakistan into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with victory at Eden Gardens today.

The left-handed opener joined Zaheer Abbas as the only other Pakistan player to score three ODI hundreds in a row against India with a score of 106 which set the team on their way to a series-clinching 85-run win.

Jamshed struck 12 boundaries and two sixes to pile more misery on India, who, after folding to just 165 in reply to Pakistan’s 250 all out, have now won only two of their last nine matches in all formats.

The third and final one-dayer in Delhi on Sunday will now be a dead rubber following Pakistan’s six-wicket victory in Chennai in the previous match.

It was another day to forget for India and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after he had won the toss and opted to chase under lights.

Jamshed and fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez may well have left him questioning that decision when the pair added a superb 141-run stand for the first wicket inside 24 overs.

The introduction of spin then brought India back into the game with Ravindra Jadeja (3-41) breaking the partnership with the wicket of Hafeez (76) and Suresh Raina and Ravi Ashwin accounting for Younis Khan (10) and Misbah-ul-Haq (2) respectively.

The earlier run-out of Azhar Ali meant that Pakistan had crashed to 182-4 after 36 overs but Jamshed kept the scoreboard ticking over and moved to his third ODI century with a crunching boundary down the ground off Ashwin.

The left-hander’s innings came to an end when Jadeja snuck one past him and Dhoni whipped off the bails, leaving Shoaib Malik (24) to add late impetus and ensure Pakistan reached 250.

India never recovered from 29-5 in the opening ODI and another deadly opening burst from Junaid Khan (3-39) silenced a packed Eden Gardens early in the run-chase.

The left-arm seamer removed Gautam Gambhir (11) and the out-of-form Virat Kohli (6) early in the piece and when Umar Gul pinned Virender Sehwag (31) lbw, India found themselves tottering on 59-3.

The wicket of Yuvraj Singh – caught behind off Gul for nine – brought Dhoni to the middle but, just as was the case in Chennai, he lacked support at the other end.

The India captain cut a forlorn figure when Saeed Ajmal (3-20) dismissed partners Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashok Dinda in the space of six balls and was eventually left stranded on 54 not out when Ishant Sharma was the last man out.

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