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Ganguly likely to play in Karachi

India may opt for the customary four-bowler combination as they go into the crucial final Test on a grassy pitch.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 15:00 IST
S S Ramaswamy (PTI)
S S Ramaswamy (PTI)

India may bring back deposed captain Sourav Ganguly and opt for the customary four-bowler combination as they go into the crucial third and final cricket Test against arch rivals Pakistanon Sundayon a result-oriented grassy pitch.

The Indian team management may drop the out-of-form Harbhajan Singh from the playing eleven and strengthen the batting by inducting the experienced Ganguly in what promises to be a more balanced contest between the bat and ball.

Harbhajan has failed to claim a single wicket in the first two matches which have produced mammoth totals though the batsmen, for a change, may not find the going easy this time around.

After the high scoring draws on featherbed tracks in Lahore and Faisalabad, a result appears to be a distinct possibility in this virtual final as the pitch has a lot of grass which could prove handy for the fast bowlers.

The fitness of captain Inzamam-ul Haq is a worrying factor for the Pakistani camp and it remains to be seen whether the burly batsman, who is down with a back injury, recovers sufficiently to take the field on Sunday.

In case Inzamam rules himself out, the in-form Younis Khan will lead the team at a ground which has proved lucky for the home team.

Both the sides have not yet announced the team composition for the crucial game and will only decide the playing eleven after having another look at the track in the National stadium.

With the three-match series tied 0-0 after the first two Tests, both the teams are determined to ensure that the best combination is picked for the match.

After the batting beauties reduced the first two matches into a farce, the focus is on the pitch and the curator has promised a more sporting strip.

How much grass will be allowed to remain on the track will be known only tomorrow as the groundsmen were seen using a brush to remove the grass from the pitch. But still some green could be seen on the strip.

It would be a problem of plenty for the Indian think-tank as the fit-again Ajit Agarkar, who missed the second match due to a hamstring strain, making himself available for selection along side pacemen Zaheer Khan and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Since Zaheer and R P Singh both performed adequately, with the latter even getting the man-of-the-match award for his four-wicket haul in the first innings at Faisalabad, it is anyone's guess which three pace bowlers would play.

The toss could prove crucial as the team that wins it will opt to field first to utilise the early juice in the wicket to the maximum extent.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 11:12 IST