Pakistan v India, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 2nd day January 22, 2006

Woolmer content with Pakistan bowlers

Bob Woolmer was impressed with Mohammad Asif. 'He was excellent, he really bowled very well. He kept a tight line to Sehwag and was very unlucky not to get Rahul Dravid' © AFP
Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the bowling attack on the second afternoon of the second Test against India. With Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman at the crease, India eventually ended the day on 110 for 1 but Pakistan will be happy with the wicket of Virender Sehwag, who has haunted and taunted their bowling in equal measure in this series and a generally tidy performance.

"I thought we were quite disciplined and bowled well against their batsmen in the right areas. We bowled really well to Sehwag in particular and got the length and line right this time, especially Shoaib who beat him a couple of times with superb deliveries," Woolmer told Cricinfo. Mohammad Asif, who bowled 11 mostly tight and often probing overs in his second Test appearance, came in for special praise.

"He was excellent, he really bowled very well. He kept a tight line to Sehwag and was very unlucky not to get Rahul Dravid (an edge fell just short of Kamran Akmal). That would have been a huge wicket. Danish's leg-before appeal against Laxman was also very close, one of those that could go either way. But I am happy with their performance."

Asif's solitary Test appearance came against Australia at Sydney a little over a year ago, and in conceding 88 runs from 18 overs, it wasn't a particularly fruitful one. Since then, however, he has become, in Woolmer's own words, one of the most improved bowlers in Pakistan, tweaking his action a little and gaining a little extra pace.

After taking ten wickets in a warm-up game against England in October last year, he came very close to being picked for the subsequent Test series, eventually missing out on a place in the final XI. He made his ODI debut against them in December and it turned out to be a more impressive one. One day after his 23rd birthday, he took the wicket of Marcus Trescothick with his third ball and ended with 2 for 14 off seven overs.

Woolmer was also happy with Abdul Razzaq's contribution thus far. Razzaq picked up the vital wicket of Sehwag with a ball that bounced a little more than expected; bowling from the Pavilion End, Razzaq exploited some uneven bounce in a seven-over spell occasionally troubling both Dravid and Laxman. Razzaq was surprisingly included in the side at the expense of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan but the decision resulted from a combination of a shoulder injury to Rana and the belief that the pitch might be better suited to Razzaq's bowling.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo