Third Test

Pakistan v West Indies, 2006

Craig Cozier

At Karachi, November 27, 28, 29, 30, December 1, 2006. Pakistan won by 199 runs. Toss: Pakistan.

Mohammad Yousuf's record-breaking year culminated in a comprehensive Pakistan win, even though they had to go an hour into the final session to seal the series 2-0. Yousuf's 102, his fifth century in as many Tests, held together the first innings, in which no one else passed 50. Then his second-innings 124 made Pakistan's position impregnable. It also boosted his aggregate for the calendar year to 1,788, eclipsing the previous record of 1,710 by Viv Richards in 1976. Yousuf also scored an unprecedented nine centuries.

Umar Gul played an equally crucial role, with some more high-quality pace bowling. In the first innings, he cut short the dangerous Gayle, and produced two stunners to castle Lara and the recalled Sarwan for ducks. In the second innings Gul again did for Lara and Sarwan (with a yorker that broke his foot and kept him out of the oneday series), while Danish Kaneria salvaged a modest series with three vital wickets just as West Indies looked like hanging on for a draw.

Another grassless pitch influenced Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to bat, but the bounce was so low and untrustworthy that Lara brought on Gayle's slow off-spin for the ninth over of the match. In fact, it was Collymore who inspired the bowling. Powell produced his best spell of the tour, and was rewarded with two wickets - but Yousuf's century seemed inevitable. Dropped at 63 by Ramdin off Gayle, he marched onwards before departing to Collymore late on the first day. And an enterprising last-wicket stand of 32 enabled Pakistan to creep past 300.

Gul's second spell changed the course of the match. Gayle, who described the surface as "the worst Test pitch I have ever seen", lofted to mid-off, Lara's off stump was sent cartwheeling by an outswinger, then the recalled Sarwan failed to negotiate a wicked yorker, giving Gul three for none in ten balls. Ganga managed an adhesive 81, and Chanderpaul played as fluently as the enigmatic pitch allowed, but Kaneria, aided by some sharp close catching from Imran Farhat, helped his side claim an important lead of 44, which would have been more but for another determined last-ditch stand, this time between Ramdin and the straight-batted Collymore.

Pakistan, keen not to repeat their first-innings extravagances, grafted their way into a position of strength through obdurate resistance from Mohammad Hafeez and - of course - more classy assurance from Yousuf. Their third-wicket stand of 149 batted West Indies out of the game, as the pitch played with increasing certainty. A crowd of close to 20,000 turned up on the fourth day to watch Yousuf go for Richards's record. They were not disappointed: he had the rare treat of raising his bat at 48, after a delightful on-driven boundary off Collymore carried him past 1,710.

Hafeez added to the celebrations with his second Test hundred, which spanned just under seven hours and 266 balls. Yousuf, let off at 68 as West Indies' effort flagged, strolled to his second century of the match - his 23rd in Tests, including six in his last five - before he was bowled behind his legs by Sarwan's tempting leg-spin. He was the sixth Pakistani to score twin centuries in a Test. Inzamam delayed the declaration until an hour after tea, 443 ahead, having completed his first half-century of the series.

Both openers departed before the close, condemning West Indies to a difficult last day. Lara and Sarwan threatened to save their side with a stand of 80, before Gul landed two killer blows. Lara drove to short extra cover and, four runs later, another nasty yorker thudded into Sarwan's right foot. Chanderpaul orchestrated the final resistance, but when he fell to Kaneria in the second over after tea, the last four wickets tumbled for just 17. Pakistan secured their 21st victory in 39 Tests at the National Stadium, against just one defeat, England's dance in the dark in December 2000.

Man of the Match: Mohammad Yousuf.

Man of the Series: Mohammad Yousuf.

© John Wisden & Co.
 
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