India gain a slender lead

Kanpur, April 12:

Sourav Ganguly cracked a gutsy 87 to help India gain a slender advantage on the second day of the third and final Test against South Africa here on Saturday.

India were struggling at 123-4 before reaching 288-9 in their first innings at stumps in reply to South Africa’s 265, thanks to Ganguly’s 34th Test half-century. Ganguly counter-attacked brilliantly on a track of uneven bounce, smashing a six off left-arm spinner Paul Harris and nine fours during his 119-ball knock to pull his team out of trouble. He put on 65 for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (32) and 60 for the next with stand-in captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32).

South Africa succeeded in restricting the Indian lead when they grabbed three wickets in the space of 11 runs with the new ball. Ganguly, who had tailenders to keep him company when nearing his 16th Test hundred, was the ninth out.

The left-hander offered a difficult chance on 40 off paceman Morne Morkel but diving Neil McKenzie failed to latch on to it.

The Indian batsmen were involved in a fascinating duel with the South African bowlers. Morkel (3-57) put India in trouble with two wickets in successive overs in the afternoon session, dismissing Venkatsai Laxman (50) and Rahul Dravid (29).

Dravid not only lost his wicket to an unplayable delivery but also suffered a nasty blow on the left wrist. Dravid, who added 78 for the third wicket with Laxman, gave an easy catch to AB de Villiers in covers.

India struggled against pace in the morning, losing openers Virender Sehwag (8) and Wasim Jaffer (15). Steyn (3-60) provided the breakthrough in his third over when he trapped Sehwag leg-before. Jaffer also fell leg-before in Morkel’s opening over. The hosts trail 1-0 in the series following their defeat in the second Test in Ahmedabad. The first match, in Chennai, was drawn.

Pakistan win

Faisalabad: Pakistan relied on an entertaining half-century by Salman Butt to beat Bangladesh by seven wickets on Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-hit second day-night international on Friday.

The left-handed opener cracked a 72-ball 76 to help Pakistan reach 160-3 with 10 balls to spare, chasing a revised target of 158 in 25 overs after two hours play was lost due to rain.

The hosts now lead the five-match series 2-0. The third match will be played in Lahore on Sunday. Bangladesh owed their total to a chancy 60 by Tamim Iqbal and a career-best unbeaten 58 by Mahmudullah Riad when rain curtailed their innings to 225-8 in 48.2 overs.