India on top, Pakistan tottering on 142 for 8 at tea

New Delhi, Nov 22 (UNI) Indians gave a fine show of pace and spin bowling to continue their vice-like grip over Pakistan by reducing the visitors to 142 for eight at tea in the first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla here today.

The hosts' bowlers added five more Pakistani wickets after lunch to the three before it and when tea was taken after 56 overs, India need only two wickets to begin batting on the first day.

Pakistan could not stitch a single big partnership and their wickets fell at regular intervals. At the break, Misbah-ul-Haq, the only recognised batsman left for the visitors, was batting on 32 from 96 balls and Mohammad Sami was giving him company on no score.

Sourav Ganguly and Munaf Patel shattered the visitors hopes of revival after being reduced to 74 for three at lunch and later Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh joined in to put Pakistan on the mat.

Kumble claimed three from his 12 overs by conceding 26 runs while Harbhajan pocketed one wicket at the cost of 21 runs from his seven overs.

Among the pacers, Zaheer Khan was the most successful so far with two wickets at the expense of 31runs from his 12 overs while Munaf and Ganguly claimed one each.

The action-filled post-lunch session began with Mohammad Yousuf being trapped LBW by Ganguly in the second over after lunch (30th) at individual score of 27 and team total of 76. And, with him the Pakistan backbone was broken. Yousuf faced 43 balls in 69 minutes and hit five fours.

Captain Shoaib Malik, who came in for Yousuf, had a forgettable time at the crease and was out for a duck off Munaf and he was the fifth Pakistani batsman to fall at 83.

Munaf, the late replacement bowler, was bowling beautifully without much luck but this time he was able to extract unexpected bounce and Malik edged a simple catch to MS Dhoni to the wild jubiliation of a good crowd at Kotla.

With the departure of Malik, who faced 12 balls, half of Pakistan's batsmen had returned to the hut by the 33rd over.

Kamran Akmal, who came in at the fall of Malik, and Misbah-ul-Haq tried to retrieve the lost ground somewhat by stitching a 39-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Akmal was clean-bowled by a Kumble flipper for 30 from 50 balls.

Kumble, who was leading India for the first time as a regular captain, celebrated his 50th wicket against Pakistan with the dismissal of Akmal.

Short of partners, Misbah who grafted for his runs in order to hold one end together launched himself in the 49th over and hoisted Harbhajan for a six. Sohail Tanvir also joined in to hit a fout off Kumble.

But next over, Harbhajan removed Tanvir LBW for four and next man in Shoaib Akhtar could last only six minutes before a Kumble delivery crashed in between his off and middle stump to announce the fall of Pakistan's eighth wicket.

Indian bowlers had maintained a good line and length before lunch also to wrest the initiative after Shoaib Malik called the coin correctly and inserted the hosts on a surface which kept low.

Salman Butt was the first to go in the last ball of the fifth over, and Zaheer's third, for one at Pakistan total of 13. He missed the line of a Zaheer delivery that swung from outside the off stump to see his bails dislodged. Butt faced 18 balls in his stay of 21 minutes at the crease.

Vice-captain Younis Khan lasted 31 minutes and he got out for seven and Pakistan score of 35 for two while trying to pull a Zaheer bouncer only to hole out to Munaf Patel at long leg boundary in the last ball of the 13th over. Younis faced 19 balls for his seven and hit one boundary.

Pakistan scored 35 for two after 15 overs and their 50 came in the 18th over with opener Yasir Hameed getting a bounadry off Anil Kumble.

Captain Kumble, who introduced himself in the 16th over, consolidated India's position, removing well settled Hameed with a beauty of a delivery in the 22nd over. Hameed was foxed by a Kumble special which straightened after pitching and the Pakistan opener completely missed it while trying to drive and saw his off stump uprooted.


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Story first published: Thursday, November 22, 2007, 15:49 [IST]
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