Cricket: India let it slip as Mushtaq strikes

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Pakistan 238 & 286 India 254 & 258 Pakistan win by 12 runs

PAKISTAN SCORED a nail-biting 12-run victory over India in the first Test played in the sub- continent between the two arch- rivals in 12 years yesterday.

Pakistani players knelt and kissed the ground as their star off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq bowled India's Javagal Srinath to win the match. "This is one of the closest games we've played in," Pakistani captain Wasim Akram said afterwards.

Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin said Pakistan "played a brilliant game".

Some 35,000 spectators at the M A Chidambaram Stadium gave a standing ovation to the Pakistani players as they did a victory lap.

Pakistan, who dominated the Test until lunch, appeared to be losing their grip as Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 136, carried India's hopes. When he was out, India needed 17 runs with three wickets in hand. But Wasim and Mushtaq mopped up the tail.

India will have an opportunity to level the series at the second and last Test in New Delhi starting on 4 February. "Hopefully, we will come out with flying colours," Azharuddin said.

Tendulkar and Nayan Mongia putting on 136 runs for the sixth wicket after India's top five batsmen had fallen for 82 runs. The two opened up after tea, with Tendulkar hitting Mushtaq for four fours in one over. He then turned a Wasim delivery to square leg and reached his 18th Test century. Shirtly afterwards Mongia swung Mushtaq over square leg for six to reach his 50.

Mongia was out trying to hit Wasim over mid-off and the enthusiasm of the spectators waned.

Mushtaq lived up to his reputation as the best off-spinner in the game, capturing five wickets in both Indian innings'. Yesterday, shortly after the first drinks break, Mustaq dismissed Azharuddin who offered no stroke to a spinning delivery and he was adjudged him leg before wicket. Just before lunch, Saurav Ganguly was caught by wicketkeeper Moin Khan off Mushtaq, after the ball had ricocheted off a fielder standing close to the batsman.

Final day; Pakistan won the toss

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

India - First Innings 254 (S C Ganguly 54, R S Dravid 53; Saqlain Mushtaq 5-93).

Pakistan - Second innings 286 (S Afridi 141; R V C Prasad 6-33).

INDIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 40-2)

S Ramesh c Inzamam-ul-Haq b Waqar 5

V V S Laxman lbw b Waqar 0

R S Dravid b Wasim 10

S R Tendulkar c Wasim b Mushtaq 136

* M Azharuddin lbw b Mushtaq 7

S C Ganguly c Khan b Mushtaq 2

N Mongia c Waqar b Wasim 52

S B Joshi c and b Mushtaq 8

A Kumble lbw b Wasim 1

J Srinath b Mushtaq 1

R V C Prasad not out 0

Extras (b8 lb10 nb18) 36

Total 258

Fall: 1-5, 2-6, 3-50, 5-73, 5-82, 6-218, 7-254, 8-256, 9-256.

Bowling: Wasim 22-4-80-3; Waqar 12-6-26-2; Mushtaq 32.2-8-93-5; Afridi 16-7-23-0; Nadeem Khan 13-5-18-0 (nb-1).