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Pakistani pacemen Akhtar, Tanvir jolt India

Published: Friday, November 23, 2007, 15:56 [IST]
 
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NEW DELHI :
Shoaib Akhtar and debutant Sohail Tanvir shared four vital wickets to lead Pakistan's fightback in the opening Test against India here on Friday.

Fast bowlers Akhtar took 2-23 and Tanvir 2-63 as India struggled to 139-5 in their first innings at tea on the second day in reply to Pakistan's 231.

Venkatsai Laxman was unbeaten with 28 at the break with wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17) after the hosts had lost four wickets for 22 runs in a space of seven overs.

India had gained an early advantage after restricting Pakistan to a modest total, but failed to capitalise on a good pitch.

Akhtar began the slide when he had Dinesh Karthik (nine) caught behind in a sharp opening spell before trapping Wasim Jaffer (32) leg-before in the second to put the hosts under pressure.

India suffered a big blow when Sachin Tendulkar (one) was run out going for a second run, with partner Dravid not responding. He slipped and then turned back, but failed to beat a Mohammad Yousuf throw to wicket-keeper.

Tanvir, a left-arm seamer with a wrong-footed action, removed former captains Sourav Ganguly (eight) and Rahul Dravid (38), who were bowled playing a wrong line in the bowler's successive overs.

Dravid, dropped from a recent one-day series against the tourists, looked set for a good innings before being surprised by a delivery that knocked back the off-stump. He put on 56 for the second wicket with Jaffer.

Laxman and Dhoni, the last pair of specialist batsmen, then denied Pakistan further success with an unfinished 46-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Pakistan earlier added 21 runs to their overnight total of 210-8 before being all out, with tailender Mohammad Sami remaining unbeaten with 28.

India needed luck to break a stubborn 87-run stand for the ninth wicket between Sami and middle-order batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, who was run out after adding 11 to his overnight score of 71.

Misbah tried to beat a Kartik throw from point, but both his feet and bat were in the air when the ball hit the stumps at the non-striker's end.

India would have been relieved to see the back of Misbah, who had defied the hosts' attack for more than five hours, hitting one six and six fours in his 243-ball knock.

Leg-spinner Anil Kumble ended the innings when he bowled last-man Danish Kaneria for a duck to finish with 4-38 in his first Test as captain.

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