India went into the third and final test against Pakistan with 4 changes to the team – Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan coming in the place of Tendulkar, Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel, owing to injuries.
It is a well known fact that the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore is not a great ground for India – especially when they are playing Pakistan in test cricket. I am sure Kumble, the Indian captain, would have been well aware of this when he won the toss and elected to bat first in his home ground, hoping for a huge score in the first innings to break the jinx. But by lunch, Kumble must have felt a bit of deja vu, when India had lost four wickets and were struggling at 64/4.
But he needn’t have worried. The next two sessions were a completely different story – both Yuvraj Singh, (who has been in good nick in the one dayers) and Saurav Ganguly (who was had a great comeback to test cricket) pummelled the bowling and added 300 runs for the fifth wicket. Yuvraj Singh was finally out just before stumps for 161. He also scored at a hectic pace of nearly 5 runs an over.
At stumps, Ganguly was on 125* with Karthik for company. India is now nicely placed at 365/5. It is a crucial game for Karthik, who happens to be the only batsman not amongst the runs for India in this series – it will be interesting to see how he plays tomorrow. Earlier Gautam Gambhir, who is the main contender for Karthik’s opening slot scored just 5 runs. Dravid’s poor form at his home ground continued when he was out for just 19.
For Pakistan – Yasir Arafat, the debutant had a good start to his test career as he took three quick wickets before lunch. Since then, the bowling has not been threatening and with Shoaib Akthar injured, Pakistan were struggling to take wickets and to keep the scoring rate down.