Pak turn heat on India after debacle
Shoaib & Co rattled Indian line-up after Pathan's hat-trick had demolished the hosts.india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 10:49 IST
Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsmen Kamran Akmal struck an incredible come-from-behind century and then the hosts scalped four top Indian batsmen to leave the first day of the final Test in Karachi evenly poised.
The decisive battle that began early on Sunday between the arch-rivals, saw Pakistan reduced to a precarious 39/6 after Irfan Pathan struck early with a splendid hat-trick.
Firing on all cylinders, the talented left-armer along with Zaheer and RP forced Pakistan into submission, before Akmal salvaged the situation with a fighting 148-ball 113 (18 fours).
Pakistan finished with reasonable 245, but managed to put the Indian batting in a spot of bother with a score of 74/4 at stumps.
The top four Indian batters were dismissed cheaply, with no one making much of an impression against some nippy bowling by the Pak pacers on a grassy and seaming track.
At stumps, Sourav Ganguly (9) and Yuvraj Singh (7) were at the crease.
Pakistan's pace attack shook Indian top order, scalping 2 wickets in just 5 overs. The 'Wall', with two hundreds to his name in the series so far, crumbled early, walking back to the pavilion for 3 runs. He fell to Asif.
Sehwag, who came one down, was the next to go, succumbing to Shoaib's fiery pace.
The next batsmen on the crease, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, looked secure and kept their wickets in hand for a while. But their 42 run partnership was broken when Asif struck again, bowling Laxman out.
Tendulkar, at the other end, showed glimpses of his old self. He struck 5 fours in his brief stint out in the middle, but he too departed for 29-ball 23, bowled by Rajjaq.
Earlier, Irfan Pathan struck gold for India after tea, dismissing the danger man Kamran Akmal.
But not before the batsman had savedPakistan the blushes and provided the impetus to the home team to post a respectable total.
His innings of 113, one of the best examples of counter punches, was laced with with 18 hits to the fence.
The rest of the tail collapsed like nine pins. Only Shoaib Akhtar produced a disciplined 45, with 8 fours and one massive six.
Post Lunch Session:
Resuming play after break, Kamran Akmalhit a fightinghalf-centuryand along with Abdul Razzaq further consolidated their position.
The packed National Stadium witnessed some breathtaking strokes by the talented wicketkeeper-batsman. Every shot that rocketed to the fence from his blade looked replete with grit and determination.
Just 45 minutes into the break, the two batsmen had surpassed their 100-run standand got the momentum back in their favour.
Abdul Razzaq, however, departed thereafter for a patient 45 when RP Singh scalped the batsman with a lucky lbw decision.
But with the hot sun beating down in Karachi, whatever moisture the pitch held, had soon dried up. The track looked relatively much easier for batting as Akmalbecame even morethreatening.
Along with Shoaib, he kept throwing the kitchen-sink, despite some pretty incisive bowling by India.
Akmalsoon reached his fourth Test century, creaming the ball through cover off the back foot.
India's pace prodigy Irfan Pathan produced a devastating first over spell to become the second Indian to take a hat-trick in Tests after Harbhajan Singh.
Salman Butt edged thefourth ball of the match to Rahul Dravid at second slip.
The fifth ball got skipperYounis Khan rapped in front of the stumps, while the last ball suckered danger-man Mohammed Yousuf, between his bat-pad and onto the middle stump.
AfterIrfan Pathan's 'devastation', Zaheer Khan sent new man Faisal Iqbal - after the youngster offered his pad instead of bat to a ball gunning for the middle stump.
Next to go was Shahid Afridiwho played an irresponsible swipe and lost his leg stump to Zaheer's well-targeted delivery.
RP Singh, not to be left behind,too got his name on the wicket column, grafting out Imran Farhat for 22.
The Pakistan batsmen looked like 'cats on a hot-tin roof', hopping and prodding to the leather whizzing past their blade. After just 10 overs, Pakistan had already lost 6 wickets with just 39 on board!
Though runs came at a fast clip thereafter -most of them as boundaries, losing six wickets within no time had severly dented their confidence.
Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal though, induced some sense out in the middle, with a dogged partnership to produce a recovery of sorts.
At lunch, Pakistan finished at 101-6.
The third and final Test that beganon Sundaybetween India and Pakistan, could be the decisive one in a seriesthat is so far deadlocked at 0-0 after two high-scoring draws.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is down with injury, is replaced by Faisal Iqbal.
Sourav Gangulyis included in the playing eleven on the expense of out-of-form offie Harbhajan Singh.
First Published: Jan 29, 2006 10:33 IST