May 25, 2000

Youhana hundred saves Pakistan again

Colin E. Croft

Pakistan have survived well to be 267 for 8 at the close of Day One of the Third and deciding Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground after being 33 for 3. They can give thanks yet again to Yousuf Youhana, who made a century in the last Test in Barbados. Here, he batted with tremendous maturity and concentration to complete another century.

He will resume this morning on 102 not out, including only eight 4's and a six; his 3rd test century overall. He has already batted for approximately 5 1/2 hours.

Pakistan were sent into bat first after the West Indies had won the toss on a pitch that is giving considerable help to the faster bowlers. For the West Indies, Franklyn Rose, who passed a late fitness test, replaced another fast bowler, Nixon McLean.

On a pitch that is offering considerable bounce and some pace to the West Indian fast bowlers, Pakistan have moved shakily to 60-3 at lunch.

Barbados centurion Imran Nazir was first to go, caught by Franklyn Rose, a very good running catch at backward square-leg, to Ambrose's bowling; Imran going for 10. Big Curtly then produced a wonderful leg-cutter to remove Younis Khan, caught by wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs, for 4; 27-2.

That became 33-3 when Mohammed Wasim, on 13, presented an easy return catch to Franklyn Rose as the batsman was deceived by Rose's slower ball.

Pakistan, courtesy of Inzamam ul-Haq and Curtly Ambrose, were having such a good post-lunch session that they did not lose a wicket until about 20 minutes before tea. Inzamam, who made a century in the Guyana Test, cut to Adrian Griffith at cover from Walsh's bowling. He had made 55, his 26th Test half century, including six 4's and a massive six over square-leg from Curtly Ambrose's bowling.

Inzamam and Yousuf came together when Pakistan were wobbling slightly, again at the start of a Test match, at 33-3. They put on 97 for the 4th wicket.

Abdur Razzaq, who was uncomfortable for his short stay at the crease, was soon caught behind the wicket by wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs, from Courtney Walsh's bowling, for two.

By this time the pitch had lost all of its initial kick as the preparation moisture has dried out. It will now become the usual flat batting track that it normally is. Jimmy Adams used his four fast bowlers, plus himself, as well as he could, rotating the bowlers periodically, but the Pakistani batsmen seemed up to the task now that they have weathered the initial storm. At tea Pakistan were 135-5, Yousuf Youhana on 49 not out.

After tea Youhana shared partnerships of 41 with Moin Khan (24), and 36 with Wasim Akram (26 from 27 balls), who batted as if he had no problems about any reports on his mind. Youhana brought up his hundred late in the day. When he strolled from the crease at the close of play, Waqar Younis was with him on 4 not out.

The pitch has now become the wonderful batting strip it normally is, but the West Indian fast bowlers have persevered under tough, hot conditions. The best West Indian bowler was Courtney Walsh, who has 3-81, while Curtly Ambrose and Franklyn Rose each had two wickets.

Pakistan, though, as they had done in both Guyana and Barbados, are hanging tough and should be well pleased with their first day efforts. They resume on Day 2 at 267-8.