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India take control of first Test with Pakistan
by AFP


Ground:Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, L Balaji, IK Pathan, Taufeeq Umar
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 8th March 2005

 

India seized the initiative on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan, ripping the heart out of the tourists' batting to leave their rivals reeling on 191-6 at tea.

 

Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji did the damage for India, making the most of a seaming track to share four wickets as the long-awaited best-of-three series got underway here on Tuesday.

 

Pakistan, playing their first series in India since 1999, reached tea with Asim Kamal (33) and Kamran Akmal (nought) at the crease.

 

Leg-spinner Anil Kumble got the prize wicket of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who threatened to neutralise India's advantage on a seamer-friendly pitch with a fluent 57 before being trapped leg-before.

 

Kumble drove home the advantage given by pacemen Pathan (2-45), Balaji (2-46) and Zaheer Khan (1-62) who rattled the Pakistani top order on a grassy pitch which had both pace and movement.

 

Inzamam was the only batsman to apply himself well on a lively track, middling the ball right from the beginning to keep India's pace-oriented attack at bay during his 37th half-century.

 

The Pakistani captain put on 59 for the third wicket with left-handed opener Taufeeq Umar (44) and 52 for the fifth with Kamal, but it was not good enough to stop India from consolidating their position.

 

India skipper Sourav Ganguly's decision to put Pakistan in to bat on a seaming track produced the desired result as Pathan and Zaheer shared the first two wickets to reduce the tourists to 30-2.

 

Balaji, playing his first Test in nearly a year due to an injury, struck a crucial blow just before the lunch-break when he removed Umar who inside-edged a delivery on to his stumps after hitting seven fours.

 

Pakistan suffered another big blow after the interval when reliable Yousuf Youhana (6) fell to a soft dismissal, edging an awaygoing delivery from Pathan straight to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik.

 

Pakistan were off to a shaky start as left-handed Salman Butt and vice-captain Younis Khan fell cheaply in the opening hour.

 

Pathan struck in his fourth over when he dismissed Butt (5), who was bowled off-stump playing across the line.

 

Younis (9) also did not last long, trapped leg-before by left-arm fast bowler Zaheer with the one that nipped back.

 

Barring Inzamam, the Pakistani batsmen had a torrid time in the middle as the trio of Indian seamers kept pressure during their probing spells.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)



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