Bangalore: Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly notched up strokeful half-centuries to pull India out of trouble in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Chinnaswami Stadium here on Saturday.
India reached 192/4 in their first innings at tea on the opening day with Yuvraj and Ganguly batting with ease on 67 and 62 respectively.
The hosts were reeling on 61/4 before Yuvi and Ganguly stitched an undefeated 131-run partnership for the fifth wicket and revived the tottering innings after the debutant Pak seamer Arafat struck thrice in quick succession.
The visitors were unable to add to their success as in-form Ganguly and Yuvaj, playing his first game in the series, took control after surviving early scare.
Yuvraj played some attractive shots and used his full reach to counter the big-spinning leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who operated with two men in catching position.
Yuvraj, who hit 12 fours, was severe to Sami, striking two eye-catching boundaries - one in the cover-boundary region and the second one flick to the fine-leg area - in one over to bring up the team's score to 100.
Fluent Ganguly, playing in his 99th Test, also struck 12 boundaries for his 30th Test fifty, reaching it with a boundary off part-timer Younis.
Earlier Debutanat Pak seamer Yasir Arafat wrecked India top-order with three quick wickets in the first session.
The right-arm seamer dismissed the in-form opener Jaffer (17), Dravid (19) and Laxman (5) in a disciplined opening spell as hosts struggled to reach 65/4 at lunch in their first essay at lunch on opening day.
Skipper Kumble's decision to bat first on a seaming wicket backfired as Pak seamers made most of the moisture on the Bangalore strip.
The first change bowler Arafat struck in his third over when he consumed Dravid caught by Misbah at first slip. In the following over he trapped in-form batsman Jaffer plumb in-front with a full length delivery that kept straight and hit India opener below knee.
He then had the dangerous Laxman with a short of good length and on the off that kept low to beat VVS all ends up to rearrenge the timberwork.
Mohd Sami sent Gambhir (5) packing in his fourth over when he induced Gambhir to edge the short of length ball that was nipping away for a simple caught-behind.
Hosts made four changes after their ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar, wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni and new-ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel ruled out due to injuries.
In-form batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh and pacemen Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma were named in the side.
Pakistan, who staged a spectacular fightback to draw the second Test in Kolkata, made one change with left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir making way for all-rounder Yasir Arafat, who is making his debut.
Younis Khan will again stand in for injured captain Shoaib Malik while fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami have recovered from the injuries that hampered them during the previous game.
India lead the three-match Test series 1-0 after clinching the first Test by six wickets at Delhi.
Brief Score (at tea, D-1):
India Ist innings 192/4 (Yuvraj 67*, Ganguly 62*, Dravid 19; Arafat 3 for 49, Sami 1 for 62) Vs Pakistan