South Africa January 20, 2007

The best hundred Inzy never got

This morning Inzamam-ul Haq needed a century to make sure he had scored one against every Test nation

This morning Inzamam-ul Haq needed a century to make sure he had scored one against every Test nation. More importantly, he required a substantial innings to lift his team into a commanding position. The record may have slipped away from him today but this was the best hundred Inzy never got.

From the moment he began to the moment Mohammad Asif played a bizarre defensive stroke to end Pakistan's innings, Inzy was in total control. That mastery did not only apply to his strokeplay but it also applied to the way he protected Asif from the strike. If Pakistan win this Test, this innings will be remembered as one of Inzamam's greatest.

One of the joys of watching cricket is a final stand from a major batsman as the tail wags around him. It is great entertainment for the team's supporters and neutrals, not so much fun for the bowling side of course.

Another joy of watching cricket is a contest on a pitch with pace and bounce. The groundsman here has produced a fabulous wicket, shame that his colleagues around the world have forgotten how to produce them. Thanks to that failure, most modern batsmen aren't as comfortable on such surfaces as they should be. Inzamam, at least, has a long enough memory to remember the pleasure of such a surface. And today he passed on that pleasure to millions of spectators around the world.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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