India fold first innings at 276, take crucial 45-run lead

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New Delhi, Nov 24 (UNI) VVS Laxman top-scored with an unbeaten 72 to lead India to 276 all out and help the hosts take crucial 45-run lead over Pakistan on the third day of the first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla here today.

Resuming at 228 for six, three runs shy of Pakisatn first innings total of 231, India added 48 runs in 75 minutes and 14.4 overs this morning while losing four wickets.

Danish Kaneria was the wrecker-in-chief, claiming three Indian wickets for 15 from his 4.4 overs this morning. He had taken one wicket yesterday.

India maintained a good run rate and made their total from 78.3 overs and 377 minutes. Other main contributors for India were MS Dhoni (57), Rahul Dravid (38), Wasim Jaffer (32) and Anil Kumble (24).

Tendulkar, who needed 25 runs before this match to become the second most prolific Test batsman, was out for one while Dinesh Karthik and Sourav Ganguly made nine and eight respectively.

Overnight unbeaten pair of Laxman and Kumble raised 54 runs for the seventh wicket from 108 balls to take India past 250 and the duo denied the visitors for 50 minutes before Kumble was out caught behind by Kamran Akmal off Danish Kaneria in India's 75th over and 12th of the morning. The Indian captain faced 69 balls and hit three fours and when he was out, India were 262 for seven.

Before his dismissal, Kumble, who had faced 24 balls yesterday settled nicely and gave support to Laxman. He showed he can play some delightful shots also with a cover drive off Mohammad Sami to bring up India's 250 mark.

Laxman stood like a rock, eschewing extravagant shots to consolidate India's gain. He though had a classy shot off Shoaib Akhtar for a four in the third man boundary past first slip.

Next over and one run after Kumble's dismissal, India lost their eighth wicket in the form of Harbhajan Singh. Sohail Tanvir who bowled beautifully throughout the Test clean-bowled Harbhajan for one.

Next man in, Zaheer Khan delighted the big week-end crowd at Kotla with an effortless straight six off Kaneria but next ball hole out to Shoaib Akhtar at mid off to give Kaneria his second wicket of the morning and third overall.

Kaneria ended the Indian innings next ball trapping last batsman Munaf Patel LBW for a duck. Laxman was stranded without partner on 72 which he made from 135 balls and eight fours.

For Pakistan, Kaneria took four for 59, Sohail Tanvir three for 83 and Akhtar two for 34. Mohammad Sami was unsuccessful in his 17 overs while conceding 71 runs.

Brief Scorecard:

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