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Karachi wicket very good: Dravid

The skipper said he would prefer a combination that would "get us 20 wickets to win the game."

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 15:13 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

India and Pakistan face off in the third and final cricket Test here from Sunday confident of breaking the series deadlock on a wicket that promises a result.

The rival captains said the hard, greenish pitch at the National stadium could end the trend of high-scoring draws witnessed in the previous two Tests in Lahore and Faisalabad.

"The most sporting wicket of the series has been given," said Pakistan's Inzamam-ul Haq. "It is now up to us to play good cricket and force a result."

India's Rahul Dravid described the strip as a "very, very good wicket."

"There is no confusion in my mind about how it will play," he said.

"It may do a bit initially but then it will be excellent for batting. The ones in the previous two Tests were also good for batting but gave no help to bowlers at all.

"Here the bowlers will get that extra bounce and movement to take wickets."

India named a shortlist of 13 for the Test, leaving out openers Wasim Jaffar and Gautam Gambhir and reserve wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel from the 16-man touring squad.

It opens the door for former captain Sourav Ganguly, who did not get to bat in the first Test and was dropped for the second to accommodate five bowlers.

Dravid said he would prefer a combination that would "get us 20 wickets to win the game."

"In the end it is all about winning and we have to play positive cricket for five days to achieve that," he said.

Dravid declined to confirm speculation that Ganguly would return to the side in place of Harbhajan Singh, who failed to take a wicket in the first two Tests.

Pakistan will also finalise their team just before the toss on Sunday after assessing Inzamam's recovery from a back injury that forced him out of the last three days of the Faisalabad Test.

"I will try my best to play," he said. "There is still time till tomorrow to decide."

If Inzamam does not take the field, vice-captain Younis Khan will lead the hosts while left-handed opener Imran Farhat and middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal could both play.

Inzamam confirmed that pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar was fit from a niggle in the left ankle and was certain to take part in the decider.

"I want to play three specialist seamers," said the Pakistan captain, hinting that the other two places would be a toss-up between Mohammad Asif, Rana Naved, Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami.

India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag, Venkatsai Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh.

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul Haq (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Rana Naved, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Arshad Khan.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (AUS), Simon Taufel (AUS)

TV umpire: Asad Rauf (PAK)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 15:13 IST