Bangalore, Dec 8 (UNI) After being down in dumps at 65 for four at lunch, Sourav Ganguly (62 batting) and Yuvraj Singh (67 batting) helped India made a smart recovery and reach 192 for four at tea on the opening day of the third and final Test between India and Pakistan at M Chinnaswamy stadium here today.
Pakistani pacemen, especially Yasir Arafat, who was playing for the first time in the Test series as replacement for injured Umar Gul, spelt the doom for the Indian top order as the hosts were reduced to 61 for four just before lunch.
Arafat struck telling blows removing Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer and VVS Laxman in quick succeession to put India in a tight spot.
However, the two left handers -- Ganguly and Yuvraj -- added a fruitful 131 runs for the fifth wicket in 190 balls to take India to relative safety.
A seaming wicket and the Pakistan bowlers sticking to a very good line and length made life difficult for the Indian batsmen.
The wicket also offered bounce but eased up a bit during the post lunch session. Batting looked easy after the initial burst by the Pakistani speedsters and cashing in on this, Ganguly and Yuvraj built the crumbling Indian fort in a steady manner.
Yuvraj looked more authoritative than his senior partner as he struck some sweetly-timed boundaries square of the wicket and on the on-side piercing the midwicket and square leg fielders.
Pakistan, already short of one bowler, received a jolt when its pace spearhead Shoaib Akthar was taken to a city hospital on complaints of back pain after falling on the wicket at the non striker's end while trying to run out Yuvraj Singh soon after the lunch. He would undergo an MRI scan.
Turning the tables on the Pakistanis after the visitors had made early inroads, Yuvraj played with authority after a brief initial struggle and unleashed his strokes all round the wicket.
He struck 10 sweetly-timed boundaries and raised his 50 in 90 minutes facing just 75 balls. He was severe especially on Mohd. Sami hitting the bowler all over the wicket.
Ganguly began cautiously but grew in confidence and began stroking freely in company of Yuvraj and completed his half century in 140 minutes facing 92 balls with ten hits to the fence.
This was the highest score for the southpaw in Bangalore. He overtook his previous best of 45 against Australia during 2004-05.
The India duo's 100-run partnership came in 102 minutes and 149 balls that set the stage for a major recovery of the Indian innings.