Pakistan's debutant Arafat rocks India

Published: Saturday, December 8, 2007, 13:28 [IST]
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Debutant Yasir Arafat grabbed three big wickets to put an under-strength India in trouble in the third and final Test against Pakistan here on Saturday.

The seamer took 3-22 off seven disciplined overs before India reached 65-4 in their first innings at lunch on the opening day after electing to bat on a good track.

Arafat, who joined the side as a replacement for injured seamer Umar Gul, dismissed in-form opener Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid and Venkatsai Laxman to raise his team's hopes of restricting India to a modest total.

Sourav Ganguly was unbeaten on 12 at the break with Yuvraj Singh, who had yet to open his account.

India, leading 1-0 in the series, made four changes from the side that drew the second Test. Ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar, wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and pacemen Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel were ruled out due to injuries.

India suffered a setback when left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir was caught behind off fast bowler Mohammad Sami after contributing five runs in his first Test in two years.

Arafat claimed his first big wicket when he had former captain Dravid caught cutting by Misbah-ul-Haq at first slip. Dravid made 19 runs before edging an away-going delivery.

Jaffer, who scored a double-century in the previous match, was then trapped leg-before for 17 to leave his team tottering at 51-3 in the 19th over.

Arafat, 25, continued to maintain pressure on the hosts and struck again when Laxman played on a low delivery on to his stumps just before the interval.

India batted cautiously in the opening hour, scoring just 20 in 11 overs. Jaffer and Dravid then executed some handsome shots before being dismissed in the space of seven runs.

Jaffer steered and flicked Sami for two fours in an over while Dravid fluently drove Arafat for two boundaries, but their flourish did not last long.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, bowling at a lively pace, also tested the batsmen with short-pitched deliveries during his two short wicketless spells.

India included pacemen Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma, and batsmen Yuvraj and Gambhir following injuries to key players.

Pakistan made only one change, bringing in Arafat for seamer Sohail Tanvir.

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