Inzamam century edges Pakistan to one-wicket win

Wisden CricInfo bulletin by Samanth Subramanian

September 6, 2003

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Pakistan 175 and 262 for 9 (Inzamam 138*) beat Bangladesh 281 and 154 by 1 wicket
Scorecard



Match winner: Inzamam-ul-Haq reaches his hundred on his way to 138*
© AFP


The masterclass of Inzamam-ul-Haq, who shepherded Pakistan to a one-wicket win over Bangladesh, received due acknowledgement at Multan, his home town. As a teary-eyed Inzamam made his way to the pavilion, unbeaten on 138 and having guided Pakistan to the target of 261, he was showered by rose petals and hugged by anybody who could get within range.

But after he ran Umar Gul out, calling for and then declining a non-existent second run, it appeared that he would be more reviled than honoured. The No. 11 batsman, Yasir Ali - who had received hurried batting lessons from Javed Miandad during the lunch interval - had to face and survive almost an entire over from Khaled Mahmud.

However, Mahmud drifted to leg consistently in the four balls, and Yasir managed to tickle the penultimate delivery of the over to fine leg. Inzamam called for a single, backing himself to get the requisite three runs off that last delivery. He did just that; shuffling to off, he clipped the ball just behind square for four.

Inzamam's century - the 18th of his career - was a textbook exercise in pacing a chase in a Test. Few false strokes issued from his blade, and steep levels of concentration shrugged off his poor form. Finding the rope 20 times - and clearing it once - Inzamam farmed the strike to perfection, protecting the tailenders from bowling that was alternately on target and slipshod.

He was accompanied for the most part by Gul, who had already taken eight wickets in this match. Gul escaped being run out twice - once because Mohammad Rafique warned him for backing up too far and again when Rafique knocked the bails off before Khaled Mashud's throw hit the stumps. Had the second run-out chance come off, Bangladesh may well have sealed this Test in their favour before lunch.

They started well enough towards that goal. Tapash Baisya pitched short a couple of times and was pulled through midwicket, but Mahmud struck with his second ball of the day, getting Saqlain Mushtaq to tickle an innocuous delivery through to the wicketkeeper (164 for 7).



Tension mounts as Pakistan's No. 10 Umar Gul is run out with five runs still needed
© AFP


Saqlain's wicket bucked Bangladesh up considerably, but Inzamam was quick to puncture that bubble. In consecutive overs, he struck the last two deliveries to the fence for fours, nonchalantly swatting the ball away with trademark mighty heaves.

Pakistan lost Shabbir Ahmed to an unfortunate decision, given out leg-before after inside-edging a Rafique delivery onto his back leg (205 for 8). But thereafter Inzamam took absolute control, and Bangladesh lost heart as he nudged singles, sprinted twos and thumped fours with the greatest of ease.

Bangladesh may have gotten agonisingly close to their first Test win before inexperience nipped it in the bud, but Dav Whatmore will impress it upon them to look at the larger picture. Before this series, they had never led after the first innings, but they did so twice in successive Tests. They fought tooth and nail throughout and played with commitment, putting Pakistan under pressure in every game; it is unfortunate that the final 3-0 scoreline will not suggest that.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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