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India win first Test by six wickets

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Last updated on: November 26, 2007 12:40 IST

Sachin Tendulkar scored an unbeaten half-century as India eased to a convincing six-wicket victory over Pakistan in the first Test at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi on Monday.

Tendulkar was unbeaten on 56 as India scored the required 32 runs in 6.2 overs and 32 minutes on the final morning, after resuming on 171 for 3 in 54.5 overs.

Sourav Ganguly (48) was the only wicket to fall after he pulled Shoaib Akhtar straight to the fine leg fielder.

Akhtar took all the Indian wickets in the second innings and finished with impressive figures of 4 for 58.

This is only the second instance of India successfully chasing down a 200-plus target at home. The first was in the Mumbai Test against Australia in 1964-65.

Sachin Tendulkar started off the proceedings in style, pulling Akhtar for a boundary to the fine leg region off the second ball of the fifth morning.

He repeated the dose in the next over from Mohammad Sami, but this time the shot was placed perfectly in the narrow gap between the fine and square leg fielders.

Sourav Ganguly tried to follow Tendulkar's example but could only spoon a simple catch to the fine leg fielder and was dismissed for his overnight score of 48.

The left-hander had played a delightful knock on the fourth evening, hitting eight boundaries in 64 deliveries to put India in sight of victory.

The fourth-wicket partnership between the two senior batsmen yielded 88 runs in 23.5 overs.

Pakistan pacers Sami and Akhtar resorted to bowling short-pitched deliveries which soon became quite predictable and easy for the batsmen even though there was a thick covering of fog.

Tendulkar cut Danish Kaneria through the point region for a boundary to bring up his half-century in the 61st over of the innings. He repeated the shot in the following over by Akhtar as India romped home to a convincing six-wicket over in the first Test.

Tendulkar, who played aggressively today, finished unbeaten on 56 from 110 deliveries, including nine boundaries. At the other end, Laxman was not out on 6 from 12 deliveries, inclusive of a boundary.

For Pakistan, it was a one-man show as far as their bowling was concerned. Akhtar stole the honours with the ball, claiming all the four Indian wickets to fall in the second innings, to end up with four wickets for 58 runs in 18.1 overs.

It turned out to be a winning start for Anil Kumble in his first Test as the India captain. Not only did he make a vital contribution with the bat, but also made the right moves as a skipper.

Laxman's first inning score of 72 was one of the turning points of the match as far as India were concerned. There were also other top performances like Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brisk 57 in the first innings and Sourav Ganguly's impressive all-round showing.

Misbah-ul Haq was Pakistan's star performer in this match as he excelled with the bat in both innings, but the failures of the other senior batsmen brought about Pakistan's downfall.

The teams resume battle in the second Test in Kolkata from November 30-December 4.

Harish Kotian in Delhi