Cricket: Ganguly keeps India in business

Pakistan 238 & 34-1 India 254
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The Independent Online
SAURAV GANGULY and Rahul Dravid saved India's blushes with gritty half-centuries as Pakistan fought back strongly on the second day of the first Test here yesterday.

Dravid made 53 and Ganguly a defiant 54 as India, replying to Pakistan's first-innings score of 238, slipped to 166 for 6 before recovering to post 254 on the second day.

Pakistan, trailing by 16 runs on an uneven wicket, lost Saeed Anwar for seven before closing the day at 34 for 1 in their second innings. Saeed was leg- before to Venkatesh Prasad but Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Ahmed saw off the day - with the promise of an intense struggle between bat and ball over the remaining three days.

The Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq claimed 5 for 94 after the captain, Wasim Akram, led his team's dramatic fightback in the morning session when India resumed at their overnight score of 48 without loss.

The new Test opening pair of Sadagopan Ramesh and Vangipurappu Laxman took the score to 67 when three wickets fell in successive overs for the addition of just five runs. Wasim's lethal left-arm swing bowling trapped both Ramesh and Laxman leg-before and then Sachin Tendulkar went without scoring to leave India struggling at 72 for 3.

Tendulkar shocked 35,000 home fans when he aimed a reckless heave at his third ball and only managed to spoon an easy catch to Salim Malik at point. Saqlain also removed India's captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, before lunch as India reached 124 for 4.

Azharuddin, who made 11, failed to keep down a ball that rose sharply and was snapped up at silly point by Inzamam-ul Haq. However, Dravid followed his 190 and 101 in the last Test against New Zealand with another solid performance before he was trapped leg-before by Saqlain, offering no stroke to a straight ball.

Saqlain then had Nayan Mongia stumped and Anil Kumble caught at short leg to reduce India to 188 for 7. But Ganguly responded by lofting the spinner for two sixes after tea, the first bringing up India's 200 and the second his sixth Test match half-century.

Ganguly, who put on 41 for the eighth wicket with Sunil Joshi, finally fell to the leg- spinner, Shahid Afridi, when he edged a catch to Ijaz Ahmed at first slip. India were still nine runs behind Pakistan when Ganguly departed, but Javagal Srinath ensured the lead by making 10. Joshi was undefeated on 25 as Shahid removed Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

Second day; Pakistan won toss

PAKISTAN - First Innings 238 (Moin Khan 60, Yousuf Youhana 53; A Kumble 6-70).

INDIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 48 for 0)

S Ramesh lbw b Wasim Akram 43

V V S Laxman lbw b Wasim Akram 23

R S Dravid lbw b Saqlain Mushtaq 53

S R Tendulkar c Salim Malik b Saqlain 0

*M Azharuddin c Inzamam b Saqlain 11

S C Ganguly c Ijaz Ahmed b Shahid Afridi 54

N R Mongia st Moin Khan b Saqlain 5

A Kumble c Yousuf Youhana b Saqlain 4

S B Joshi not out 25

J Srinath c Ijaz Ahmed b Shahid Afridi 10

Venkatesh Prasad st Moin Khan b Shahid 4

Extras (nb18, b2, lb2) 22

Total 254

Fall: 1-67, 2-71, 3-72, 4-103, 5-156, 6-166, 7-188, 8-229, 9-246.

Bowling: Wasim Akram 20-4-60-2 (nb10); Waqar Younis 12-2-48-0; Saqlain Mushtaq 35-8-94-5 (nb5); Shahid Afridi 7.1-0-31-3 (nb3); Nadeem Khan 7- 0-17-0.

PAKISTAN - Second Innings

Saeed Anwar lbw b Venkatesh Prasad 7

Shahid Afridi not out 16

Ijaz Ahmed not out 11

Extras 0

Total (for 1) 34

Fall: 1-11

Bowling (to date): Srinath 4.5-0-18-0; Venkatesh Prasad 4-1-16-1.

Umpires: V K Ramaswamy (Ind) and R S Dunne (NZ).