Inzamam, Afridi flay Indian bowling attack

Faisalabad, January 21:

Hard-hitting batsman Shahid Afridi smashed an unbeaten 85 off 84 balls on Saturday and led Pakistan to a strong start on the first day of the second cricket Test against India.

Pakistan raced to 379 for four under bright sunshine that allowed a full 90 overs of play in a day for the first time in the series after bad weather disrupted the drawn first Test in Lahore last week.

Afridi and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq launched an assault on the five-man Indian bowling attack in the last session that yielded 131 runs in just 26 overs.

Afridi hammered 11 fours and twice smashed left-arm fast bowler Irfan Pathan over mid-wicket with the new ball for big sixes in his fiery knock.

Inzamam survived a close lbw appeal off leg-spinner Anil Kumble when on 46, and was batting on a defiant 79 off 122 balls with nine boundaries at stumps. Only rookie bowler Rudra Pratap Singh briefly slowed down Pakistan’s charge with three wickets for 77 before Afridi opened up in the last session.

Pratap Singh, a 20-year-old left-arm fast bowler, claimed the important wickets of Younis Khan (83) and Mohammad Yousuf (65) in his debut match.

Khan struck 13 fours in his knock of 83 before falling to an athletic one-handed catch by Yuvraj Singh at point, while Yousuf struck eight boundaries and a straight six over the head of Kumble in his 65-run innings before giving a low catch to Mahendra Dhoni behind the wickets. Afridi made his intentions clear when he hammered Kumble for three successive boundaries. Yousuf and Khan combined in a better than a run-a-minute, 142-run partnership and guided Pakistan to a strong 206-2 before Pratap Singh struck.

Khan could have been run out on 11 when Yousuf refused a quick single, but Sachin Tendulkar’s throw from mid-on missed the stumps before lunch. India packed its side with five bowlers, but on a flat Iqbal Stadium wicket, only Pratap Singh getting some early seam movement.

Earlier, Butt (37) and Shoaib Malik (19) provided a reasonable start of 49 runs in the first hour after Inzamam won the toss and elected to bat.

India dropped former captain Sourav Ganguly and Ajit Agarkar and brought in Pratap Singh and Zaheer. Pakistan made two changes in bowling with fast bowler Mohammad Asif and allrounder Abdul Razzaq replacing Mohammad Sami and Rana Naved.


PAKISTAN — 1st innings

S Malik c Dravid b Singh 19

S Butt c Dhoni b Zaheer 37

Y Khan c Yuvraj b Singh 83

M Yousuf c Dhoni b Singh 65

Inzamam not out 79

S Afridi not out 85

Extras: 11 (lb4, w1, nb6)

Total: 379/4

FoW: 1-49, 2-65, 3-207, 4-216

India bowling: Pathan 11-1-70-0, Singh 17-1-77-3, Zaheer 19-5-61-1, Harbhajan 21-1-75-0, Kumble 22-3-92-0