<
>

A newfound faith in pace

  • Over the last year, the Indians have often talked about the increased potency of their pace attack. Here, at last, is evidence that the Indian think-tank is finally confident of the ability of their fast bowlers - this was the first time in 21 years that India went into a home Test with only one specialist spinner. The last time they did this was against West Indies, at Delhi in 1983-84, when Kapil Dev, Roger Binny and Madan Lal formed a three-pronged pace attack with Ravi Shastri the lone spinner (though he had Kirti Azad to lend him support with his part-time offspinners).

  • On the eve of the series, Yousuf Youhana had played down his susceptibility against Irfan Pathan, but once again, Pathan was his nemesis in the first innings at Mohali. Youhana has now been dismissed by Pathan six times in 11 matches (four Tests and seven ODIs).

  • If Pathan has the measure of Youhana, then Anil Kumble seems to have Inzamam-ul-Haq's number - this was the fifth time in six Tests that Kumble nailed his man. Kumble thus joins five other bowlers - McGrath, Muralitharan, Vaas, Walsh and Warne - to have dismissed Inzamam five times in Tests.(Click here for the list of bowlers who have dismissed Inzamam in Tests)

  • Playing in only his sixth Test, Lakshmipathy Balaji achieved the important feat of taking his first five-wicket haul in a Test innings. His 5 for 76 bettered his previous-best performance, when he took 4 for 63 in the Rawalpindi Test against Pakistan last year. Balaji's first three Tests had yielded only two wickets, but in his last three matches (including the current Test), he has taken 16 wickets at 21.44.(Click here for Balaji's match-by-match figures before the Mohali game.)

  • Meanwhile, Pakistan's star of the day was Asim Kamal, who was dismissed in the 90s for the second time in his brief Test career - he had earlier made 99 on his Test debut, against South Africa at Lahore in 2003-04. Kamal has played only 11 Test innings, but has shown amazing consistency, with five half-centuries and an average touching 50. (Click here for Kamal's innings-wise scores in Tests.)

  • Sourav Ganguly finally broke his run of bad luck with tosses in home Tests: he had lost four in a row before this match - two against Australia and two more against South Africa earlier this season. In all, Ganguly has called corectly just six times in 19 home Tests, while overseas he has been far luckier, winning 13 out of 26 - that's exactly 50%. Before this match, Ganguly had won 18 tosses, exactly the number of Test wins India have notched up under his captaincy. However, there isn't such a significant corelation between the toss and the result: in 11 of those 18 games, India went on to win despite losing the toss.