Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Spinners hand India slim advantage

UNBROKEN STANDPakistan's last recognized batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal remained not-out at stumps and will carry their teams hopes into the fourth day

AP , NEW DELHI

"Pakistan's Salman Butt, right, plays a stroke as India's V.V.S. Laxman takes evasive action during the first Test at the Ferozshah Kotla ground in New Delhi yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

India's spinners bowled out Pakistan's top order in their second innings yesterday, giving the hosts a narrow advantage after three days of the first Test.

Captain and leg-spinner Anil Kumble (3-55) and off-break bowler Harbhajan Singh (2-52) shared the spoils as Pakistan were reduced to 212 for five despite a strong start to the innings.

Pakistan are now 167 runs ahead after India led by 45 runs after the first innings. The outcome of the match will hinge on the performance of the Pakistan tail and how India's batsmen cope with a track where spinners are beginning to dominate.

Misbah-ul-Haq (29 not out) and Kamran Akmal (21 not out), Pakistan's last recognized batsmen, added 51 runs off 75 deliveries for the sixth wicket and will carry Pakistan's hopes into the fourth day.

Pakistan were all out for 231 in the first innings and India replied with 276.

Pakistan opener Salman Butt batted for three-and-a-half hours to post a watchful 67. He shared a 71-run opening partnership with Yasir Hameed (36) before Kumble struck.

Kumble had Hameed caught by V.V.S. Laxman at silly midoff, but Pakistan staged a fine recovery to reach 108 for one at lunch.

Yesterday's last session saw India gain the upper hand as Kumble trapped vice captain Younis Khan leg before wicket for 23 and induced an edge from Butt into the hands of lone slip fielder Rahul Dravid.

Singh snared key batsman Mohammad Yousuf, whose miscued drive gave the bowler a return catch on 18, and then clean bowled skipper Shoaib Malik for 11.

It could have got better for India, but Misbah got a reprieve when on one when Wasim Jaffer spilled a catch at short-leg.

Misbah struck two sixes and a four off 34 deliveries.

Earlier, Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria ran through the India tail.

India's top-scorer Laxman (72 not out) shared a 54-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Kumble (24).

Laxman struck eight boundaries from 135 deliveries in his four-hour knock.

Kaneria (4-59) snared three wickets from 15 deliveries yesterday, starting with that of Kumble, caught at first slip by Younis Khan.

Paceman Sohail Tanvir then clean bowled Harbhajan Singh (1) to finish with three wickets on his Test debut.

Kaneria had Zaheer Khan (9) caught at mid-off and trapped Munaf Patel (0) infront of the stumps with successive deliveries to end the innings, with Laxman stranded at the other end.

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