Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Multan, 5th day November 16, 2005

Inzamam: 'This is one of the best wins'

Inzamam-ul-Haq: 'Shoaib Akhtar has also worked really hard here and he got very crucial wickets for us in this Test' © AFP
As Pakistan added yet another fightback story to their recent tale, on a spectacular final day at Multan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, called the 22-run win one of his country's best in recent times.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Inzamam - in his hometown - said, "This is one of the best Pakistan wins and can be compared to the wins at Bangalore earlier this year against India and our win against them last year at Lahore."

Both those wins, however, had come after Pakistan had gone one-nil down in the series, a pattern that had been set over the last 18 months in various series. Inzamam was quick to recognise the importance of going one-nil up early in the series. "Our resolve not to lose courage has helped us in the last one year whether it's India or England. It's a fantastic win and to win the first Test of a series has always been important. It will help us in the next two Tests. It is nice to beat a strong team like England, a team which has recently won the Ashes, so it's still a very memorable one."

With 174 runs to get and nine wickets in hand, England were considered favourites on the final day. But confidence in the Pakistan team was high. "We knew that it won't be easy for England to get the 174 runs on the final morning. We had the motivation and I told the boys to give me two quick wickets and we would be on course for a win."

Pakistan's key bowlers before the match were always going to be Danish Kaneria and a fully-fit Shoaib Akhtar. Kaneria's four wickets, in particular, on a last day pitch that still held no major alarm but offered him bounce and turn, was crucial. "I knew Kaneria would get turn. He has been bowling really well for the last year and has won us a few matches. I was confident he would do it here as well. Shoaib Akhtar has also worked really hard here and he got very crucial wickets for us in this Test."

Inzamam, who scored two fifties in the Test to keep up his staggering record in Pakistan wins, also praised his other bowlers. Shabbir Ahmed, with four wickets in the first innings and the vital one of Marcus Trescothick on the fourth afternoon, and Mohammad Sami with two today, also played a part. "I don't know whether their batsmen played rash shots but I know that my bowlers bowled extremely well today and did exactly what was asked of them."

With Pakistan now one-up, a position they aren't used to, Inzamam was understandably unwilling to predict how this series will unfold. "It's difficult to say that we can now win the series. One thing is certain, we will give it our best shot. There are still two more Tests to play and England is a very good team as we have seen."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo