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West Indies out to stop Yousuf in final Test
by AFP


Player:BC Lara, Mohammad Yousuf
Event:West Indies in Pakistan 2006/07

DateLine: 26th November 2006

 

West Indian captain Brian Lara said Sunday his team was ready for make or break in the final Test against Pakistan and would stop prolific batsman Mohammad Yousuf from achieving a world record.

 

"One of the motivating factors in the last day at Multan was we started thinking about winning against teams like Australia, Pakistan and South Africa," said Lara, ahead of the third Test which starts here from Monday.

 

The West Indies were trailing 1-0 in the three-match series following their nine-wicket defeat in the first match in Lahore. The second Test at Multan ended in a draw.

 

Once a major power in international cricket, the West Indies have not won an away Test against a major country, minus Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, since their win over England at Edgbaston in 2000.

 

Their last series win came against New Zealand in 1995 and since then they have lost 38 of their 44 away Tests against major opposition, with five draws and one win.

 

The tourists were unlucky not to win the second Test at Multan. They dropped a crucial catch off Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf to help the home team escape with a draw.

 

"We had a hard fought draw minus dropped catches, and I think we are heading towards the right direction and hope to make it happen sooner rather than later and we are looking forward this time," said Lara, who promised to come down hard on prolific Yousuf.

 

"Yousuf is of course challenging the world record of Vivian Richards, but we would like Richards to continue holding the record of most runs in a calendar year so we'll be coming really hard at him," said Lara.

 

Yousuf, who hit 192 in Pakistan's win in the first Test in Lahore, saved home team's blushes with a fighting 191 in the second.

 

The stylish right-handed batsman, who has already notched 439 runs in three innings of the series, needs 149 runs more to break Richards' world record of 1710 runs in eleven Tests in a calendar year.

 

Richards, from the West Indies, achieved the record in 1976.

 

Lara, who made his Test debut in Pakistan 15 years ago, hoped he would make his last Test in this country a memorable occasion.

 

"I would like to do something really special and if after six days we beat a major Test playing nation away from home, and to leave a memory of West Indies or Brian Lara here that will be my number one aim," said Lara.

 

He said batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, dropped from the second Test due to poor form, was eager to make a comeback.

 

"Sarwan still remains the brightest of talents in the West Indies cricket over the last 15 years. He is looking forward to the chances, if given, and I can see everybody is eager," said Lara, who hit an epic 216 at Mulan.

 

The batting maestro, already leading Test run scorer, needs another 96 more to become the first batsman to score 12,000 runs.

 

The West Indies' task for a series-levelling win will be more uphill at a venue where Pakistan have lost only one of the 38 Tests played.

 

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said his team was eager for a series win.

 

"We did well to draw the second Test. This will be a new Test and we will do our best to win the series," said Inzamam, under whom Pakistan have won four Test series since he took over as captain in 2003.

 

Inzamam refused to agree pitches prepared for the current series were not to his liking.

 

"We have produced more results in the last three years than in the past. Both teams dropped catches in Multan and that's why the Test ended in a draw, this wicket will be result oriented," he said.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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