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Monday, January 30, 2006


Never mind, the Rang disappointment (see post below), at least the third day of the cricket test between India and Pakistan seemed to make up for some of it.

Looks there never will be any semblance of balance, when India take on Pakistan. If the pitches sounded the death knell for the bowlers in the first two test matches, the one in Karachi reversed that to make just about everything impossible for the batsmen.

So it was that the bowlers look set to smash some records along the way. Having won the toss, India elected to field first and really there couldn't have been a better start than this.

Irfan Pathan became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the opening over of a Test match.

He simply ripped through the Pakistan top order. If you missed the action, here's how the wickets fell.

Salman Butt was caught by Indian skipper Rahul Dravid off Pathan's bowling. He was gone for a duck off just the fourth ball of the day.

Then the free-scoring Younis Khan was trapped leg-before-wicket for a golden duck by Pathan off the very next ball. Then, Pathan went on to create history as he bowled Mohammad Yousuf for another golden duck with the sixth and final ball of a very special over.

Pakistan nought for three and in serious trouble.

Even, the swashbuckling crowd favourite Shahid Afridi was bowled for just 10 by Zaheer Khan and the hosts moved deeper into the mire at 37 for five.

However, wicket keeper Kamran Akmal smashed 113 to rescue Pakistan from a disastrous 39 for 6 to take the hosts to their seemingly respectable score to 245 in the first innings. He was ably helped along the way through two partnerships - one with Razzaq who kept the scoreboard ticking with his contribution of 45 runs and another with Shoaib Akhtar who also added a valuable 45.

When it came to batting, India too had a disastrous start.

First to go was Dravid who was caught behind by Akmal after scoring just 3 runs. 9 for one soon became 14 for two as Virender Sehwag was undone by a delivery that lifted and left him as Akmal took the catch off Shoaib's speed bowling.

Just when things looked like they were settling down, Pakistan struck again as opener VVS Laxman went for 19. India too in trouble on 56 for three.

The biggest prize of them was to come next. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar gone for just 23.

It was advantage Pakistan, when beleagured former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly took to the crease with Yuvraj Singh. India ended the day's play on 74 for four.

Some would say lots more cricket ahead, but with the way the wickets have been crumbling, who really knows? One thing's for sure though, either way, there's bound to be a winner and a loser.

And that finally is good news for a rivalry that's supposed to be more intense than the Ashes.