Bangalore, Dec 9 (UNI) With Sourav Ganguly going strong at 169, India consolidated its position by reaching 461 for 6 at lunch on the second day of the third and final Test match against Pakistan being played at M Chinnaswamy stadium here today.
Resuming his overnight score of 125, Ganguly guided the Indian innings with confidence despite losing his overnight partner Dinesh Karthik. The Tamil Nadu batsman got out needlessly after scoring 24 runs by offering a tame catch to Pakistan keeper Kamran Akmal off a widish delivery to give debutant Yasir Arafat his fourth wicket.
All-rounder Irfan Pathan (18 batting) joined Ganguly and played cautiously to take the team into lunch without further damage.
Karthik and Ganguly added 66 runs for the fifth wicket in 120 balls.
Ganguly grew in confidence and greeted Arafat with two boundaries, pulling him with panache and a sweetly timed cover drive in the fifth over of the match to set the momentum even as the big Sunday crowd cheered the Bengal Tiger.
However, he was cautious and never over ambitious that helped India advance to a strong position. India reached 400 in the 97th over during the first hour and soon after he reached his 150 which came in 243 balls with 23 hits to the fence.
Shoaib Akthar who did not bowl after lunch yesterday, as he suffered back spasms trying to run out centurian Yuvraj Singh, came on to the field but did not bowl.
This hampered Younis Khan as he could only operate the other three main bowlers -- Mohammad Sami, Arafat and Danish Kaneria through the morning session. Sami was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers. He bowled a tidy six over spell for 11 runs without any success.
Ganguly took on Arafat, the most successful bowler for Pakistan, for harsh treatment as the medium pacer conceded 24 runs in his first spell of four overs. However, he came back strongly to claim Karthik in the second spell reading 7-2-12-1.
Pathan got his first boundary edging Arafat to third man fence.
Kaneria was hit on the leg by a Ganguly straight drive, giving stand-in captain Younis Khan a scare as he is already marshalling a depleted bowling attack, but the big hearted leg-spinner continued to bowl.
India advanced to 450 in the 116th over just before the lunch.