August 26, 2003

Pakistan aim for first home series win in five years

Wisden CricInfo staff

Pakistan will be aiming to seal their first home series win in five years when they take on Bangladesh in the second Test, which starts on Wednesday in the north-western border city of Peshawar.

Once invincible in their own backyard, Pakistan have not won a series on home turf since whitewashing West Indies in 1997-98. "We are heading in the right direction," Rashid Latif, Pakistan's captain, said today. "What happened in the past is past, and now the young team is progressing well as we aim to build for the future."

Pakistan have lost four successive home series, to Australia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and England. Their first-round exit from this year's World Cup prompted the selectors to induct fresh blood into the team, and one of those young players made a glorious debut in the first Test against Bangladesh at Karachi.

Latif pinned the team's hopes on new batting star Yasir Hameed, who marked his debut last week with a century in each innings. Latif said: "We have found a good batsman in Yasir Hameed to supplement the middle-order batting."

Hameed's twin centuries led Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Peshawar will present more of a problem for both sides, however. Both teams will have to battle oppressive monsoon heat and humidity, at a venue where Pakistan have lost two of their past three Tests.

"Conditions are tough, but they should bring out the best from the tough," Latif said. "Bowling long spells will be difficult. We hope to put up a big total and dictate the terms." Latif also hinted that the 11 players from the first Test would be retained for the second Test.

Dav Whatmore, Bangladesh's coach, saw signs of improvement within his team's loss in Karachi. "I hope the boys build further on that," said Whatmore. Bangladesh, Test cricket's 10th and newest nation, have lost 21 of their 22 Tests, with one rained-off draw against Zimbabwe.

Bangladesh are likely to bring in Mohammad Ashraful and Manjurul Islam in place of Sanwar Hossain and Tapash Baisya.

Teams (from)

Pakistan Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umer, Yasir Hameed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Misbah-ul-Haq, Rashid Latif (capt, wk), Shoaib Akhtar, Shabbir Ahmed, Danish Kaneria, Umer Gul, Shoaib Malik.

Bangladesh Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Ashraful, Sanwar Hossain, Razin Saleh, Alok Kapali, Khaled Mashud (wk), Khaled Mahmud (capt), Mohammad Rafique, Mashrafe Mortaza, Manjurul Islam, Alamgir Kabir, Tapash Baisya.

Umpires Steve Bucknor (WI) and Russell Tiffin (Zim)

TV umpire Asad Rauf (Pak)

Match referee Mike Procter (SA)