Murali takes a blow on nose, injury plagues Pak practice today

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Kolkata, Nov 28 (UNI) Comeback man Murli Kartik took a knock on the nose while fielding during India's first practice session here today, while Pakistan skipper Shoaib Mallik sat out when his team went through their paces at the Eden Gardens ahead of the second Test commencing on November 30.

Both the teams arrived at the Eden Gardens a little after 1 PM and sweated it out for the next three and half hours.

The Indian team began their practice with a warm-up and fielding session, before the players retired to the nets. During the fielding session under fielding coach Robin Singh's hawk eyes, Murli took a knock on the nose when Dinesh Kaarthik's elbow hit his face while they were playing handball during their warm-up session.

He was attended by John Gloster, Indian team's physio. Later team sources said his injury was not serious.

Newly appointed skipper Anil Kumble not only had a longish bowling session at the nets, but also batted with great concentration.

At the nets, Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer opened the batting, followed by Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Next to bat were Sachin Tendulkar, V V S Laxman, M S Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. While Zaheer bowled sparingly at the nets, Munaf was in full flow.

Ranadeb Bose and Shib Shankar Paul were called in to bowl at the nets to the Indian batsmen.

On the other side of the ground, the Pakistan team, plagued by injuries and indisposition, began their practice. Their cup of woes was already overflowing with Shoaib Akhtar in hospital and Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammed Sami down with viral fever. Skipper Shoaib Mallik had come to the venue but sat it out on a chair for the three hours as his team practiced.

To make matters worse, Umar Gul finished his bowling and immediately went in for medical attention to Dr Faizal Hyat Khan.

However, the team management said there was nothing to worry.

While Yasser Hamid and Salman Butt began the batting for the visitors, they were followed by Md Yousuf and Younis Khan.

All the bowlers including Danish Kaneria and Sohail Tanvir bowled at the nets. Pakistan team's Media Manager Ehsan Mallik told UNI, ''The doctors are hopeful of releasing him today. He is much better today. He is responding to medicine.'' Akhtar had been admitted to a private hospital in the city last evening with chest infection and dehydration. He was kept in the deluxe suite of the hospital and given intravenous fluids.

Mallik also informed that both Mohammed Sami and Misbah-ul-Haq, who had blood tests done last evening, were getting better. Though it was too early to confirm the trio's participation in the Eden test commencing this Friday, the team manager was hopeful of their being match fit.

The good news was that the visiting team skipper Shoaib Mallik, who had come to Kolkata with a left ankle sprain he picked up at the Firoz Shah Kotla, was present at the venue though he did not practice today. But the team management is hopeful that he will be match fit by Friday.

UNI

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