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Pakistan's Kaneria hits out at Indian pitches

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Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria Sunday hit out at the lifeless pitches prepared by arch-rival India following the countries' recent Test series, saying they made contests less interesting.

"I am really disappointed at not having the success my team and countrymen were expecting of me, but the pitches used in India were of low bounce and did not give any support to the bowlers," Kaneria told AFP on his return.

India won the three-match series 1-0 on account of their six-wicket win in the first Test at New Delhi, their first series win over Pakistan for 27 years. The second and third Tests ended as draws.

Kaneria, who turned 27 on Sunday, said the turning point of the series was the tourists' failure to put up a fighting total in the second innings in the first Test.

"It was to our credit that we bowled India out for a paltry 276 in the first innings at Delhi and, considering India's strong batting line-up, it was a great success," said Kaneria, who bagged four wickets in that innings.

Trailing by 45 runs, Pakistan managed just 247 in the second innings to set India a target of 203, which the home team achieved for the loss of four wickets.

"Had we scored 300 runs we would have won the first Test and from there on it would have been difficult for India to level the series," said Kaneria.

Kaneria, who finished as leading wicket-taker for Pakistan with 12, said big scores in the last two Tests proved his point.

"The pitches in the second Test at Kolkata and third at Bangalore were playing well even on the fifth day, which demoralised the bowlers," said Kaneria who played a key role in Pakistan's 1-1 finish in the 2005 Test series.

"Pitches in 2005 had bounce and turn but this time the Indian plan was to blunt our bowling. Knowing that our batting is not as powerful as it was in 2005 they got away with a win in the first Test," said Kaneria, who now has 220 wickets in 51 Tests.

"I had a target of 20-plus wickets in the series, which I could not achieve. To our bad luck we lost toss in the last two Tests, which forced us to bowl on the flat pitches."

The wily spinner hopes he gets chance to play in next month's one-day series against Zimbabwe. He said he wanted to play to "cement my place in the side because I am confident that I can meet the challenges of limited overs cricket".

Pakistan host Zimbabwe for a five-match one-day series, with the first match at Hyderabad on January 23.

Australia then visit for three Tests and as many one-day internationals in March-April.
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