February 28, 2001

Astle rates century one of his best

New Zealand's man of the match Nathan Astle in last night's win over Pakistan rated his 119 one of the best of his nine One-Day International centuries.

It was an innings that saw Astle at his attacking best, scoring at better than a run a ball throughout. His 50 came off 48 balls, his century off 93 balls and his 119 was off 116 balls.

As he approached his century, the student-packed terraces in a crowd of 10,100, were chanting his name in the manner of an English football crowd barracking for their club.

"It's always a good atmosphere here.

"The pitch was good, and perhaps we should play a few more games here than we do," he commented.

The century was his first since that he scored against Australia in Napier last year.

He totalled 728 runs this season at an average of 30.33.

Astle said facing fast man Shoaib Akhtar had been an interesting experience.

"There's not a lot of reaction time. The ball is on you before you know.

"You don't get a lot of time to move your feet," he said.

Astle's highest score is 120 twice, against Zimbabwe in 1995/96 and against India in Rajkot in 1999/00 and he seemed certain to pass it tonight but was out, caught by Saleem Elahi, off Waqar Younis' bowling, with the score on 243.