England in Pakistan / News

Pakistan v England, 1st Test, 4th day, Multan

Butt: 'I want to score as many runs as possible'

Cricinfo staff

November 15, 2005

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'I thought about my [first innings] dismissal a lot and the senior players also spoke to me...they said I should have just tried to stay at the crease which I did this time round' © AFP
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Having helped Pakistan fight back from a position of little hope to one from where they can at least attempt to win, Salman Butt can be justifiably proud of his contribution to this turnaround. He went a few steps better than his first-innings 74 with a career-best 122, the second century in a seven-Test career, to set up a fascinating final day with England chasing a further 174 runs - and Pakistan, nine wickets.

Speaking to BBC Sport Urdu, Butt said of his innings: "I am glad that the innings came when the team needed it most. The effort will only be good though if we can win the match tomorrow. In the first innings, I should've timed the shot that I got out to instead of trying to hit it so hard. I thought about my dismissal a lot and the senior players also spoke to me. Like in the second innings, they said I should have just tried to stay at the crease which I did this time round."

The dismissal of Inzamam-ul-Haq, which ended his 135-run partnership with Butt and precipitated a collapse of seven wickets for 75 runs, meant there was more pressure on Butt to continue his innings. "My plan then was just to stay, but I had a little lapse in concentration and the ball from Hoggard just kicked up a little and caught the edge. But we will try our best now to bowl them out tomorrow."

His maiden century was made against an equally accomplished attack in Sydney last year, although Butt said this innings gave him more satisfaction. "I think the team needed this innings more. The Sydney century was in the first innings and, although I am very proud of that innings, I think most players will agree that scoring in the second innings is always more important. Mostly it was important today because the team really needed it."

His performance was also significant because it came in the wake of Pakistan's much-publicised problems with finding a settled opening combination. Butt himself was dropped during the India tour early this year after playing in the first Test at Mohali. On his recall to the side in the Caribbean, he was again dropped after failures in the first Test, a move which prompted the panic about Pakistan's lack of openers.

"Every player is under pressure when they don't perform and it is the same for me. But the senior players in the team and the management backed me, saying that this happens to everyone. For batsmen, failure is only ever a matter of one ball. Now I just want to solve the problem we have with our opening by scoring as many runs as possible for Pakistan, for as long as possible."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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