Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Stunned India humbled by Pakistan ~~A~~

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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Lahore:India crashed to an embarassing six-wicket defeat at the start of their Pakistan tour after their bowlers were pounded in spectacular fashion in Lahore.

Having posted 335 for six from 50 overs, the tourists were jolted when Pakistan 'A' wased past the imposing total with 24 deliveries to spare in a Limited Overs practice match at the Gaddafi stadium on Thursday.

The home team's captain, Taufiq Umer, hit 104 and Imran Nazir contributed a fiery 65 off 32 balls to dent India's confidence ahead of Saturday's first One-day International in the southern port city of Karachi.

India will play five One-dayers and three Tests on their first full tour of Pakistan since 1989.

For the tourists, Rahul Dravid stroked an unbeaten 92 to build on Sachin Tendulkar's 76 and a typically aggressive 75 off 68 balls by Virender Sehwag.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly managed only five runs before fending a rising ball from Umer Gul back to the bowler - a dismissal sure to please Pakistan's speed king Shoaib Akhtar.

Ganguly's woes were compounded as Pakistani openers Nazir and Taufiq launched a spectacular assault on his bowlers. The pair had smashed the new ball duo of Zaheer Khan and Laxmipathy Balaji for 50 by the fifth over and brought up the century stand off the first delivery of the eighth over.

When young seamer Irfan Pathan replaced Zaheer, he was hit for 24 runs in his first over. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik was welcomed into the attack by conceding 23 runs in an over. Victory looked distinctly possible as Pakistan 'A' had cruised to 183 for one by the 15th over.

Nazir, dropped from Pakistan's One-day squad last year, hit nine boundaries and a six before he was bowled by Zaheer.

Umer, a regular Test batsman but not considered good enough for the One-dayers, hammered 13 fours and two sixes in his 89-ball knock.

India clearly looked incapable of containing the batsmen in the absence of their three strike bowlers, Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh.

Leg-spinner Kumble and seamer Agarkar, who were forced to miss the first part of the tour due to injuries, are expected to be available for the Test series starting on March 28.

Off-spinner Harbhajan is out of the entire tour following surgery on his bowling hand during the recent tour of Australia.

The Indians were guilty of conceding 42 extras, including 17 no-balls and 12 wides. Zaheer, who went for 78 runs in nine overs, was the worst culprit with 12 no-balls and 10 wides. Balaji was battered for 60 runs in six overs and Pathan gave away 49 in five.

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