Razzaq and Asif fire Pakistan to series win over India
by AFP

Ground:National Stadium, Karachi
Player:Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Asif, Danish Kaneria, Shoaib Akhtar, Faisal Iqbal
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 1st February 2006


Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Asif destroyed India's batting might as Pakistan won the third and final cricket Test by a massive 341 runs to clinch the series 1-0.


Razzaq claimed 4-88 and Asif took 3-48 as India, set an improbable victory target of 607, were shot out for 265 in their second innings just before stumps on the fourth day.


Yuvraj Singh played a lone hand for the tourists with 122, but could not prevent a heavy defeat in the decisive Test after the first two games in Lahore and Faisalabad ended in high-scoring draws.


It was Pakistan's best-ever Test win in terms of runs, surpassing the 301-run victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1994.


India fell just one run short of their worst defeat -- by 342 runs against world champions Australia in Nagpur in 2004.


Pakistan's remarkable win came despite the absence of their inspirational captain Inzamam-ul Haq due to a back injury and after they were three down for no run in the first over of the match on Sunday following Irfan Pathan's hat-trick.


Pakistan, reduced to 39-6, went on to make 245 after a gutsy century from Kamran Akmal and then bowled out the Indians for 239 in their first innings to gain a seven-run lead.


The victory avenged the 2-1 defeat at India's hands in the previous home series in 2004 and made Pakistan firm favourites to win the five-match one-day series starting on Monday.


Asif, a tall 23-year-old from the northern town of Sheikhupura, destroyed the top order in quick time before Razzaq polished off the middle in front of some 12,000 screaming home fans.


Asif, playing only his third Test match, dismissed Virender Sehwag, Venkatsai Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar in a hostile seven-over opening spell.


India were reduced to 74-4 before the left-handed pair of Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj stemmed the rot by adding 103 for the fifth wicket.


Yuvraj smashed 19 boundaries and a six before he was last out, caught behind off Razzaq.


Former captain Ganguly, struggling to retain his place in the Indian team, had made 37 when he was trapped leg-before by Razzaq off the first delivery after tea.


Razzaq then had Mahendra Dhoni (18) and Irfan Pathan (four) edging catches to the slip region as India slumped to 216-7.


Pakistan had never looked back after removing openers Rahul Dravid and Sehwag in the first two overs of the innings.


Skipper Dravid was given out caught at the wicket by Kamran Akmal off pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar's fifth legitimate delivery.


Sehwag was dismissed in the next over, his middle stump uprooted by a sharp in-cutter from Asif.


Laxman and Tendulkar put on 55 on either side of the lunch interval but Asif stepped in to stop both batsmen in their tracks.


Laxman was clean bowled by another in-cutter for 21 and Tendulkar had his off-stump shattered by one that kept a trifle low.


Tendulkar hit five boundaries in his 26, but his dismissal saw India slump to 74-4.


Earlier, Pakistan batted an hour into the fourth day to take their second innings from the overnight score of 511-5 to 599-7 before the declaration came.


Faisal Iqbal moved from 103 to 139 before holing out in the deep off Zaheer Khan, ending a sixth-wicket stand of 196 with Razzaq.


Razzaq hit 90, making Pakistan the first team in Test cricket in which all the top seven batsmen scored more than 50 in an innings.


Razzaq fell 10 short of his fourth Test century when he attemped to loft Anil Kumble out of the ground and was caught at long-on by Yuvraj.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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