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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Pakistan left on the ropes
Third Test, Rawalpindi, day one (stumps):
India 23-1 v Pakistan 224 all out

L Balaji
Balaji claimed four wickets in an innings for the first time
India's young pace attack bowled Pakistan out for 224 on day one of the deciding third Test in Rawalpindi.

But the home side struck back as Shoaib Akhtar dismissed opener Virender Sehwag first ball.

Parthiv Patel (13) was joined by Rahul Dravid (10) to guide India through 15 overs to stumps at 23-1.

In swinging conditions, Indian pace bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji claimed four wickets before Mohammad Sami made a career-best 49.

Ashish Nehra - returning from an ankle injury - and Irfan Pathan claimed two wickets each.

Sami was joined by Fazl-e-Akbar in an eighth wicket alliance worth 70, helped by a good degree of luck.

Thick edges went just wide of fielders, and India's bowlers were soon frustrated into losing control.

Sami's biggest let-off came when he had already made 34, as wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel dropped a catch that had ballooned high off a mis-timed flick.

He took several blows to the head and body in an innings that included 122 balls, with seven fours, topping his previous Test best of 25 and first-class high of 41.

India's fielders breathed a collective sigh of relief when Anil Kumble finally struck Fazl on the pad just in line with off-stump after 22 overs of resistance.

Sami's technique improved as the innings went on, including some classy late shots but he was run out by a direct throw by Pathan from mid-off looking to complete his half-century.

Sami dives for his ground
Sami was run out looking to reach 50
Pakistan's good fortune continued as home town hero Shoaib had Sehwag caught by a juggling Yasir Hameed at point.

The dismissal brought into question India's decision to drop opener Akash Chopra to make room for skipper Sourav Ganguly's return from a back injury.

But the failure of Pakistan's bowlers to find the same swing as their counterparts will have eased any Indian fears of a repeat collapse.

Ganguly's smile upon winning the toss was erased early on as bowlers struggled to master the swing on offer.

It took a bowling change, with Balaji switching ends, to stop the opening partnership at 34 as Taufeeq Umar was out lbw for 16 to a full-pitched ball.

Similar deliveries from the 22-year-old right-hander dismissed Asim Kamal leg before and uprooted Shoaib's off-stump.

Akhtar's dismissal came two balls after second slip VVS Laxman had taken a diving catch to collect Kamran Akmal's thick edge for 17.

Yasir Hameed was the highest scorer in the Pakistan top order, stroking a classy 26 before edging to slip with a loose drive.

Nehra then had home captain Inzamam caught behind for 15, making a rearguard action necessary to avoid embarrassment.

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Asim Kamal, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Danish Kaneria, Fazl-e-Akbar.

India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Anil Kumble, Ashish Nehra.

Umpires: David Shepherd (ENG), Rudi Koertzen (RSA)


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