KOLKATA - An insipid India slumped to yet another series defeat with a pathetic display as Pakistan spanked the hosts by 85 runs in the second one-dayer to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series on Thursday. Riding on Nasir Jamshed's second consecutive century, the visitors posted 250 all out and then shot out the Indians for a paltry 165 to record a convincing victory with two overs to spare at the Eden Gardens.
It was yet another woeful display by the famed Indian batting line-up, which has been struggling for sometime now and has been largely responsible for the team's forgettable results in recent times. India lost eight successive overseas Tests. They lost a home Test series. And now the ODI world champions have lost a home bilateral series for the first time in more than three years. They are in free fall, and continue to touch a newer nadir each time. The failure of the batsmen has been a common factor in all these reversals, and it was no different at Eden Gardens. Despite the bowlers taking ten wickets for 109 to keep Pakistan to 250, India crumbled without any fight, losing their top five batsmen before they had reached 100. The tail had collapsed before MS Dhoni could even think about improbables such as miracles.
Pakistan added to their record of being the only side, other than Australia, to inflict home ODI series defeats on India in the previous ten years. They also continued their impressive record at Eden Gardens, and have now won all their four ODIs at the ground.
The huge defeat to the Pakistan will now raise questions on the future of some of India's under-performing batting stars, who have let the team down more often than not. Jamshed (106) notched up his third ODI century, all three coming against India, but Pakistan suffered a dramatic collapse after being at a healthy 141 for no loss at the mid-way stage. Mohammed Hafeez was the other contributor with a rollicking 76 off 74 balls.
The floodgates opened up after the dismissal of Hafeez as none of the other batsmen could hang around for long on a slow Eden Garden track, which made stroke-making difficult after the ball became older. The Indians needed a good start from their struggling openers -- Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag -- but it did not materialise yet again, putting pressure on the jittery middle-order.
Sehwag (31), Gambhir (11), Virat Kohli (6), Yuvraj Singh (9) and Suresh Raina (18) perished in quick succession to give the visitors the upper hand in what eventually turned out to be a lop-sided contest. Skipper Dhoni, who scored a heroic unbeaten 113 in the first ODI in Chennai, again provided some resistance with a cautious and unbeaten 54 but wickets kept tumbling at the other end to nullify his efforts.
Junaid Khan bowled his heart out in an opening spell of 7-1-18-2, taking out Gambhir and Kohli. Umar Gul came in to remove a subdued and edgy Sehwag, and followed it up with the dismissal of Yuvraj. Raina was peppered with short balls before falling to Hafeez's offspin. India went from 42 for 0 to 95 for 5. Dhoni was left battling alone, and again, he battled till the very end, refusing several singles with the last man Ishant Sharma and hitting the odd boundary, despite knowing that all of it was in vain, despite knowing that he was the only man in this line-up prepared to fight.
Sehwag and Gambhir may have put on 42, but their partnership was full of plays-and-misses and inside edges eluding the stumps. And eight of those 42 runs came off two overthrows to the boundary, courtesy Hafeez. The tall Mohammad Irfan continued to test India with his bounce, but Junaid's was the standout spell. Displaying superb control, Junaid beat the outside edge on numerous occasions, and also hit Sehwag on the pads a few times. It wasn't unusually good deliveries that got him his wickets, though it could be said he had persevered enough to earn some luck. Gambhir tried to drive a widish length ball, which moved in slightly for the batsman to play on. Kohli fell to an outstanding, leaping take by Kamran Akmal down the leg side.

     scoreboard

PAKISTAN:
Nasir Jamshed st Dhoni b Jadeja    106
M Hafeez b Jadeja    76
Azhar Ali run out    2
Younus Khan lbw b Raina    10
Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Ashwin    2
Shoaib Malik c Yuvraj b Sharma    24
Kamran Akmal c Sehwag b Jadeja    0
Umar Gul b Sharma    17
Saeed Ajmal c Sehwag b Kumar    7
Junaid Khan not out    0
M Irfan b Sharma    0
EXTRAS: (w 6)    6
TOTAL: (all out; 48.3 overs)    250
FOW: 1-141, 2-145, 3-177, 4-182, 5-210, 6-210, 7-236, 8-249, 9-250, 10-250
BOWLING: B Kumar 9-0-61-1, A Dinda 7-0-42-0, I Sharma 9.3-0-34-3, R Ashwin 10-0-49-1, S Raina 2-0-13-1, R Jadeja 10-1-41-3, Yuvraj Singh-1-0-10-0
INDIA:
G Gambhir b Junaid    11
V Sehwag lbw b Gul    31
V Kohli c Akmal b Junaid    6
Yuvraj Singh c Akmal b Gul    9
S Raina st Akmal b Hafeez    18
MS Dhoni not out    54
R Ashwin st Akmal b Malik    3
RA Jadeja c Junaid b Ajmal    13
B Kumar lbw b Ajmal    0
A Dinda lbw b Ajmal    0
I Sharma b Junaid    2
EXTRAS: (lb 4, w 14)    18
TOTAL: (all out; 48 overs)    165
FOW: 1-42, 2-55, 3-59, 4-70, 5-95, 6-103, 7-131, 8-131, 9-132, 10-165
BOWLING: M Irfan 10-0-46-0, Junaid Khan 9-1-39-3, Umar Gul 7-0-24-2, M Hafeez 10-0-29-1, Saeed Ajmal 10-1-20-3, Shoaib Malik 2-1-3-1