Top order crumbles again, India all out for 197

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Abu Dhabi:Shoaib Malik grabbed three wickets to boost Pakistan's chances of ending a dismal run against India as they restricted their arch-rivals to 197 in the first one-dayer here.

Pakistan, who lost the last four matches at home against India in February, bowled and fielded with discipline Tuesday in the first of two day-night games held here to raise funds for last year's earthquake victims.

India, fresh from a recent 5-1 triumph against England at home, found runs hard to come by on a slow Zayad stadium pitch where the stroke-making was difficult.

Off-spinner Malik made the Indian batsmen struggle with his tidy line and length and finished with 3-40, including the wicket of in-form aggressive batsman Mahendra Dhoni (three).

Middle-order batsman Venugopal Rao top-scored for India with an unbeaten 61, his best in 14 one-day internationals. Even he was not allowed to score freely as he hit just three fours in his 93-ball knock.

Pakistan's fielders backed their bowlers remarkably well, bringing off four run-outs.

India's problems began when skipper Rahul Dravid (20) and Irfan Pathan (26) were caught short of the crease in quick succession. The innings also ended in a pair of run-outs, victims being Harbhajan Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

Rao gave a good account of himself on a difficult track, steadying the innings with a 64-run stand for the fifth wicket with teenager Suresh Raina (40) after his team had been reduced to 72-4.

Proceeds from Tuesday's match will be donated to the survivors of the massive earthquake that hit Kashmir last October killing more than 73,000 people in Pakistan and 1,300 in India.

Revenues from the second game on Wednesday will be shared by the Indian and Pakistan cricket boards after a million dollars is given to the hosts.

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