Pakistan v India, 3rd Test, Karachi, 4th day February 1, 2006

'We had more variety and mix' - Younis



Younis Khan was full of praise for Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal © Getty Images

On a pitch which saw Pakistan score 599 in their second innings and one on which India were bundled out in less than 60 overs in both innings, Younis Khan said the varied nature of the Pakistan attack made a crucial difference in Pakistan's comprehensive 341-run win inside four days.

"The Indian and Pakistan teams are similar in look. We had the edge in this Test because India had three left arm seam bowlers while we had more variety and mix. Shoaib Akhar's presence in any team is a big boost and the others all bowled really well," said Younis, who was standing in for the injured Inzamam-ul-Haq as Pakistan captain.

A phenomenal first hour apart, India's attack lacked bite, particularly in the second innings. Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq shared 14 wickets between them and the former in particular, exploited every last bit of help from the pitch and the new ball. Backed up by several short, speedy bursts from Shoaib Akhtar, they managed to overcome the absence of another seamer, rarely allowing the Indian batsmen to settle.

But Younis also highlighted two other factors; a little bit of good fortune as well as the grit that has come to mark this Pakistan side. "A lot went in our favour in this game which could have gone either way. It was probably a good toss to lose in the end but anything could have happened after 39-6. We could have been bowled out for 100 and that would have changed the game.

"But Akmal and the others rose to the occasion. Maybe the early wickets we got in India's second innings also helped us win the Test. We may have got them out in four hours in the end, but it was not as easy as it seemed. We had the better luck."

The timing of Pakistan's declaration - they eventually did so an hour into the morning session -was the subject of considerable speculation overnight. Although it became a moot point as India were bowled out 25 minutes before the scheduled close of play, Younis said much thought had been given to the question. "I discussed it with Inzamam overnight. There was some talk about giving them a full 180 overs to bat. But then we thought with their batting and people like Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and the rest, we should set a target of over 600 runs. Until yesterday the wicket looked a bit casual so we thought about the time needed. But today our bowlers bowled better."

Younis also highlighted the contribution of Abdul Razzaq, whose inclusion in Faisalabad had been criticised for being a defensive selection. Razzaq scored a calming 45 in the first innings, where his 115-run partnership with Akmal formed the backbone of Pakistan's fightback. As well as scoring a 90 second time round, Razzaq ended with seven wickets, some of them - like Sachin Tendulkar's in the first - crucial.

"Razzaq gave an outstanding performance and has answered his critics who were questioning his presence in the team. He scored runs for us, crucial ones in the first innings and took wickets at regular intervals."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo