December 3, 2000

Pakistan recovers from the shock

After the 1st Test at Gaddafi stadium Lahore where the honors were evenly shared amidst criticism of the bad pitch, the two teams looked happy and well prepared for the second encounter. It was a day of rejoicing for Wasim Akram, the ace of fast bowling who was entering into his 100th Test. Before start of the day's play the Pakistan team had a brief ceremony in which the boys presented Wasim with a souvenir.

It was a day of ups and downs for the Pakistan team that eventually ended in a happy note of Pakistan having scored 243 runs for the loss of 5 wickets, a respectable score by all standards. At one time it looked as if the team was suffering from a collapse but the two warriors Yousuf Yuhana and Moin Khan raised it to the level of a real competition.

After winning the toss Pakistan elected to bat on a spin oriented pitch slightly faster than the one at Lahore. Pakistan included off spinner Arshad Khan and a young leg spinner named Danish Kaneria to boost up its spin attack. The youngster was making his test debut after performing exceptionally well in Domestic cricket.

Pakistan opened the innings with its regular pair of Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi but lost the first wicket with only 33 runs on the board. Saeed gave the side an enterprising start while Afridi lost his bearing. Pakistan's 50 came in only 11 overs while Saeed hoisted his exciting half century in the 19th over to depart immediately after. Inzamam ul aq came and was bowled first ball. By claiming 2 wickets in a span of 3 balls Andrew Giles changed the complexion of a brilliant Pakistan innings. Pakistan's run rate suffered an immediate slump with the score board showing 115 runs in 30 overs as compared to the first 50 that came in 11 overs. Saleem Elahi who was holding the innings together after the departure of Saeed Anwar was out after scoring a brilliant 41. Abdur Razzaq just came and left rendering Pakistan to 151 for 5.

England was dominating the show when Yousuf Youhana and skipper Moin Khan got together in a formidable partnership to rescue Pakistan from a possible collapse. They broke the magic of England's bowling by thrashing them all over the field with fours and sixes. The advantage that Pakistan lost was regained. Both of them hoisted their individual half centuries. Moin did it in a grand style by hitting a mighty six off Giles over the long on boundary.

Pakistan had reached a respectable 243 for 5 when the play was called off. Yuhana (61) and Moin Khan (57) were still holding the fort. With 3 for 63 Andrew Giles was the most successful bowler. With his achievement the pitch had proved its character of being spin oriented. With 5 wickets in hand and the two batsmen almost in full command of the game, Pakistan appears to be in a happy position.