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Karachi track should break high-scoring deadlock

Last updated on: January 28, 2006 19:07 IST

It's hard and it's green and the Pakistan Cricket Board is hoping it will produce a result in the third and final Test against India starting on Sunday.

Stung by criticism about the flat pitches in the first two matches, the PCB is confident that Karachi's track will break the high-scoring deadlock between the two teams.

"The weather conditions led to the pitches for the first two Tests being dead tracks," PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan explained on Friday after taking a close look at the pitch.

"But the sunshine and breeze in Karachi have ensured we have a good Test pitch for this match."

The first two Tests in Lahore and Faisalabad ended in draws after producing 2,791 runs, including 12 centuries, with only 36 wickets falling.

It also led to both captains warning that such dead tracks would eventually rob India-Pakistan contests of their traditionally fierce competition.

The ground staff finally appear to have rectified the situation for the final match when Karachi will host its first Test against a top-ranked side since December 2000.

Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa, England and India have all shied away from playing Tests in this volatile port city over the last five years due to security concerns.

Although Pakistan's main strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar has an ankle problem and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is recovering from a back problem, coach Bob Woolmer is optimistic they will play.

"It is a very important game for both teams and they are working very hard to play in the Test. The chances of them missing the match appear slim," he said.

The Indians have no major fitness problems though opener Virender Sehwag, who scored 254 in the first Test, has been recovering from food poisoning.

Former captain Sourav Ganguly, who was dropped for the second Test, will probably be drafted back into the squad since India are unlikely to retain five bowlers.


Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Rana Naved, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Arshad Khan.

India (from): Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Venkatsai Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia), Simon Taufel (Australia)

TV umpire: Asad Rauf (Pakistan)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)

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