OTHERS

Memorable debut for Umer as Pakistan batsmen run riot

MULTAN, AUG. 30. When Bangladesh was given Test status last year, it was looking at a hard fact that it would need a lot of time to learn the hardships of playing serious brand of cricket.

So it was little surprise when four Pakistani batsmen - Taufiq Umer (104), Inzamam-ul-Haq (105), Yousuf Youhana (102 not out), Abdur Razzaq (110 not out) scored centuries on the second day of the opening match of the Asian Test Championship opener on Thursday.

With Saeed Anwar making a strokeful 101 on day one, Pakistan equalled Australia's rare world record of five batsmen scoring centuries in one Test innings. Australia had done so against West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

Soon after Youhana completed his century after tea, Waqar Younis ended the agony of the visitors by declaring the first innings at 546 for three, a massive lead of 412 runs.

With a heavy pressure of losing the match by an innings inside three days, Bangladesh lost three quick wickets in the 19 overs with Waqar removing both openers in his opening burst of five overs. The first innings tormentor, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria reduced the visitors to 55 for three by stumps when Aminul Islam offered a simple catch to substitute Younis Khan in the slip.

All eyes were on debutant Umer when Pakistan resumed its first innings at the overnight score of 219 for two. The 20- year-old left-hander from Lahore played cautiously in his 90s and eventually joined a elite band of 68 other Test cricketers who had scored centuries on debut.

Seven Pakistanis - Khalid Ibadulla, Javed Miandad, Salim Malik, Muhammad Wasim, Azhar Mahmood, Ali Naqvi and Younis Khan - had earlier achieved similar feats.

``I was determined to score a century last night when I was batting on 77,'' said a soft-spoken Taufiq. ``He (Saeed) told me to play my normal game and said 'don't get excited and try to stay as long as you can and the runs would come,''', the 12 grade student added.

However, Bangladesh had Umer, soon after he completed his century, when Hasibul Hossain found the edge of the bat to end the left-hander's three and half hour innings during which he struck 15 boundaries.

But the arrival of Youhana at the crease quashed Bangladesh's hopes of its first bowling points. Both Inzamamul Haq and Youhana butchered a hapless Bangladesh bowling attack on both sides of the wicket with a flood of boundaries.

Inzamam's wish to score a century in front of his hometown supporters was fulfilled when the burly batsman brought the crowd of 14,000 on its feat with a superb cover drive.

However, Inzamam was forced to retire hurt due to little touch of dehydration after spending 202 minutes at the crease in humid conditions for his 105 during which he hammered 13 fours and a six. ``It was my dream to play a Test match in my hometown and score a century,'' Inzamam said. ``At last my dream come true.''

But the arrival of an aggressive Abdur Razzaq left Bangladesh skipper Naimur Rahman guessing as how to stop a barrage of boundaries. Youhana, who had completed his half century before Razzaq arrived at the wicket, was a mere spectator at the other end as Razzaq raced on to complete his half century off 49 deliveries.

Razzaq soon overtook his senior partner and completed the century off 92 balls when he hit his 14th boundary. He also had three towering sixes. Youhana followed Razzaq minutes later and brought up his century in the similar fashion and Waqar declared 40 minutes after tea.

Bangladesh is now sure to return empty-handed since it couldn't get any bowling and batting points from this game. On the other hand, Pakistan is virtually through to the final after bagging all the available points at its disposal.

It took four bowling points when it dismissed Bangladesh for a meagre 134 in the first innings and then accumulated four bonus batting points when it crossed the required 400-run mark inside 100 overs.