Fri, Mar 25, 2005 - Page 24 News List

Pakistan on the road to a huge score over India


Skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq celebrated his 100th test appearance with an aggressive century and Younis Khan notched his second hundred in successive matches Thursday to set Pakistan on the road to a huge score in the third cricket test against India.

Inzamam slammed an unbeaten 184, his 21st century, and Khan hit a smashing 127 not out as Pakistan overcame a jittery start to reach 323 for two at stumps on the opening day of the series' final match.

Inzamam, 35, become the fifth batsman in test cricket's 129-year history to mark his 100th test with a century, joining England's Colin Cowdrey and Alec Stewart, Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies and Pakistan's Javed Miandad.

Inzamam's score is the highest score by any batsman in his 100th test outing, eclipsing Greenidge's 149 versus England in 1989-'90.

Inzamam and Khan's unconquered 316-run, third-wicket partnership is Pakistan's highest on Indian soil, and came after the loss of two early wickets -- openers Shahid Afridi for a duck and Yasir Hammed for six -- in 17 balls by the third over.

Inzamam smashed 25 boundaries from 263 deliveries during his attacking six-hour knock, which surpassed Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar's 177 against Australia in 1997-98 as the top score at Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Khan, who posted 147 in the second test at Calcutta last week, compiled his eighth century in 35 tests, but his knock was overshadowed by Inzamam's authoritative innings.

Khan hit 12 fours and one six off 261 balls.

Inzamam won the toss for the first time this series, but Pakistan was rattled by two blows from Laxmaipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan.

Hameed off-drove Pathan for a boundary in the first over, but Afridi got out first ball to Balaji, edging a catch into the hands of Rahul Dravid at first slip.

Inzamam notched up a century of test appearances when he went out for the toss, becoming the fourth Pakistan cricketer to appear in 100 tests after Javed Miandad (124 tests), Wasim Akram (104) and Salim Malik (103).

Before the start of play, both teams lined up on the boundary line to congratulate the Pakistan captain, who was also presented with a commemorative crystal bowl by the Pakistan Cricket Board and a salver by the Bangalore-based Karnataka State Cricket Association, which is staging this test.

On the way to his 131-ball century, Inzamam guided off-spinner Singh for four to covers using just his wrists, and no swing of the bat, to impart power to the stroke. Inzamam completed his century by turning Pathan for a single to square-leg, and then watched Khan open up at the other end to loft off-spinner Singh for a six over long-on, which was followed by a heated exchange of words between Khan and Singh.

Khan reached his hundred by steering Kumble for a single to short third-man.

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