Sun, Nov 12, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Gul the hero as Pakistan assume control

FIVE-WICKET HAUL Captain Brian Lara's stubborn innings saved the Windies from embarrassment after Shahid Nazir's early blast had reduced them to a worrying score of 52-4


Pakistan's Umar Gul, right, makes a successful appeal for a catch against West Indies captain Brian Lara, center, during the first day of the first Test between Pakistan and the West Indies at Gadaffi Cricket Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday.


Fast bowler Umar Gul took five wickets and fellow paceman Shahid Nazir grabbed three to dismiss the West Indies for 206 on the first day of the opening Test at Gaddafi stadium yesterday.

Gul returned with figures of 5-65 and was ably supported by Nazir (3-42) after West Indies captain Brian Lara fought a lone battle with a pugnacious 61.

Gul and Nazir dispeled fears Pakistan would miss their two key strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif who were banned after testing positive for banned steroids last week.

Gul took four wickets in his third spell after lunch including the prize wicket of the world's top batsman, Lara. Gul conceded just 11 runs.

The West Indian captain hit Gul for two boundaries to reach his 48th Test half century, surprisingly his first in five Tests in Pakistan. Gul had his revenge when he produced an unplayable in-swinger which took an edge off Lara's bat for a regulation catch to wicket-keeper Akmal.

Lara, whose previous best of 44 in Pakistan was in his debut Test 16 years ago, hit eight boundaries during his fighting 155-minute knock.

He added 44 with Dwayne Bravo (32) for the fifth wicket and another 52 for the seventh wicket with Dave Mohammed who made 35.

Gul dismissed the tail in no time for his third five wicket haul in his 12th Test, also completing his 50 wickets in Test cricket.

The first session belonged to the home team who bowled well with Nazir leading the way.

West Indies, who won the toss and elected to bat, were given a confident start before Gul struck by removing opener Daren Ganga for three.

Nazir then took three wickets off 12 deliveries to rock the tourists, trapping Chris Gayle leg-before for 34, Ramnaresh Sarwan (three) caught in the slip and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (five) lbw to leave West Indies reeling at 52-4.

Gayle hit six boundaries in his rapid 34.

Bravo, who hit a brilliant 108 in his team's tour opener earlier this week, holed out to leg-spinner Danish Kaneria for 32 while Denesh Ramdin (12) miscued a sweep off Kaneria's last ball before lunch to leave West Indies 122-6.

Pakistan was 39 for one in reply when bad light ended the day's play 18 overs before the scheduled stumps.

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