August 31, 2001

Pakistan equal world record with 5 centuries

Pakistan equalled the world record of five centuries in an innings as the home batsmen continued to enjoy the run feast in the Asian Test Championship opener against minnows Bangladesh at the Multan Cricket Stadium Thursday.

Centuries by Saeed Anwar (101), debutant Taufiq Umer (104), Inzamamul-Haq (105), Yousuf Youhana (102) and Abdur Razzaq (110) carried Pakistan from an overnight 219 for two to 546 for three declared in reply to Bangladesh's modest 134.

Bangladesh, left to play for pride after trailing the home team by 412 runs on first innings, had limped to 55 for three when curtains were drawn for the second day's play.

Pakistan secured maximum batting (four) and bowling (four) points awarded on the first 100 overs of the first innings while Bangladesh failed to get any. An expected victory by an innings would earn Pakistan 16 more points.

Pakistan equalled Australia's 46-year-old record when five of their batsmen scored centuries in the 1954-55 Test against the West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica. Had Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis not declared immediately after the 27-year-old Youhana guided Mohammad Sharif towards third man boundary to bring up his seventh century in 34th Test, Pakistan might have gone on to establish a new record.

Around 15,000 festive and appreciative spectators had their money worth when they were thoroughly entertained by high quality and ruthless batting display by the elegant Pakistanis against a pedestrian, inexperienced and mediocre Bangladesh bowling resources. However, local hero Inzamam was not that fortunate when he had to retire hurt because of dehydration a ball after completing his 15th Test century in 75th Test.

But Inzamam's return to the dressing room piled up more agony on the tourists as Abdur Razzaq virtually blew them away with a whirlwind unbeaten century. The batting all-rounder scored 110 off 100 balls with 16 boundaries and three sixes during his 124-minute vigil at the crease.

Razzaq, who came when Youhana was batting on 60, raced to 70 against Youhana's 77 at tea in Pakistan's 478 for three before registering his second career century off 92 balls with 14 boundaries and three sixes.

It was the second quickest century by a Pakistani after Majid Khan whipped a 74-ball century before lunch against New Zealand at Karachi in 1976-77. Sir Vivian Richards holds the record for quickest century when he reached three figures off just 56 balls against England at St John's in 1985-86.

Youhana was as elegant as ever and remained cool and composed despite watching Razzaq murder the Bangladesh bowlers from the other end. His innings contained 13 exquisitely timed boundaries from 154 balls faced during 220 minutes of batting.

Youhana and Razzaq added 165 runs in 124 minutes after the former and Inzamam had put on 123 in 116 minutes. Inzamam and Taufiq Umer put on 80 in 88 minutes for the third wicket.

Inzamam, the 31-year-old burly right-hander, fulfilled his promise of enthralling his home crowd when he laced his 105-ball innings with 15 boundaries and a six. Inzamam now has century against every country except South Africa and India.

Interestingly, it was Inzamam's fourth century only on home turf. The other notable point is that 11 of his centuries have come in the crucial first innings while eight centuries have helped Pakistan win Tests.

On a record-breaking day, Taufiq Umer became the eighth Pakistan batsman after Khalid Ibadullah, Javed Miandad, Salim Malik, Mohammad Wasim, Ali Naqvi, Azhar Mahmood and Younis Khan to score century on debut. He had started the day at 77 and was the only Pakistan wicket to fall when he was caught at the wicket after an attractive 104.

Taufiq, the 20-year-old from Lahore, now has five first-class centuries in 33 matches. He batted for 231 minutes and punctuated 15 boundaries in his 163-ball innings.

Taufiq showed excellent temperament, concentration and showed no signs of nervousness when he stayed in the 90s for 19 balls, including 13 balls on 96. Unfortunately, his brilliant effort fell in the background after Pakistan stroke-makers went on a run-scoring spree.