Pakistan 245 India 74-4: Pakistan bounce back after Pathan's stunning hat-trick

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The Independent Online

By PA Sport

Pakistan hit back from 36 for six to end on top after a dramatic first day of the third Test against India in Karachi. India paceman Irfan Pathan claimed a remarkable hat-trick in the first over of the match but Pakistan recovered to post 245 and reduce the tourists to 74 for four at stumps.

Pathan removed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf to record the first ever hat-trick in the first over of a Test and three more wickets quickly followed. But Kamran Akmal arrested the slump and went on to hit 113 to lift his side out of trouble. Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar also weighed in with 45 each. Akmal was relieved to have survived such testing circumstances and told Ten Sports: "There is no doubt, the Indian bowling is very good. "It's not that easy. Irfan and Kumble bowled well. I don't think it's easy bowling. I am just glad I am able to perform against them."

He thanked coach Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is missing this Test, for helping him with his batting. Akmal said: "Yesterday I practised with the coach and Mushy Bhai (Ahmed). "I practised the drive a lot, especially I practised with left-arm spinners bowling to me. I also talked with Inzy Bhai (Inzamam) yesterday. I asked him a few things and he taught me some things too."

The first two Tests had been dominated by the batsmen and petered out into draws but on the evidence of day one there will be a result in this decisive rubber. Younis, who scored centuries in the first two Tests, had a tough baptism as stand-in skipper as Pathan produced his first-over fireworks. Butt was first to depart to ball four as he edged the ball to Rahul Dravid at first slip and Younis was then trapped lbw as the ball swung in. Yousuf arrived at the crease but stayed no longer than Younis as he was bowled attempting to drive Pathan.

Faisal Iqbal was next man in and had only made five when he was given out lbw, not playing a shot to an inswinger from Zaheer Khan. Shahid Afridi then went for 10 when he was bowled trying a typically audacious shot off Pathan. Opener Imran Farhat was sixth man out with the score on 39 - he had made 22 before edging Rudra Pratap Singh to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Akmal and Razzaq then put on 115 for the seventh wicket before Razzaq was trapped by Singh for 45.

After tea, Akmal eventually fell edging a Pathan delivery to wicketkeeper Dhoni, with the Indian seamer also removing Shoaib Akhtar for 45 with Yuvraj Singh pouching the catch. Pathan finished with five for 61. Rudra Singh then took the final wicket as he had Mohammad Asif caught by VVS Laxman for a duck.

India's batsmen were less impressive than their bowlers, however, with Dravid out for three as he edged Asif to wicketkeeper Akmal. Virender Sehwag then came to the crease but departed for five to another Akmal catch, this time off Shoaib's bowling. With the score on 56, opener Laxman went for 19 as he was bowled by Asif. Without further addition to the score, Sachin Tendulkar went for 23 as he was bowled by Razzaq. Sourav Ganguly (nine) and Yuvraj (seven) were unbeaten at close of play but - thanks largely to Pathan - the series has belatedly come to life as a contest.