After a tense start, Pakistan levelled the two-Test series against Australia at 1-1 after winning by three wickets today.
Pakistan win second Test against Australia
Pakistan ended their 15-year wait for a Test win over Australia on Saturday, a feat captain Salman Butt put down to having possibly the best pace attack in the world. Pakistan, chasing 180, lost four wickets on a sunny fourth morning in what was expected to be a comfortable run chase but was eventually far from it as Australia went on the attack. After Australia won the first Test by 150 runs, the second marked Butt's debut as captain with Shahid Afridi stepping down. Australia were on the backfoot from the opening day when they were skittled for just 88. The pace trio Mohammad Asif (11 wickets), Mohammad Aamer (11) and Umar Gul (8) claimed a collective 30 wickets in the two-Test series. "I feel very fortunate to have them in my team," said Butt, speaking at a press conference as horns were sounded by jubilant Pakistan fans on an adjacent road. "If they are not the world's best then they are amongst the world's top two or three. "Mohammad Aamer is definitely amongst the world's best fast bowlers. And Mohammad Asif with the new ball is the best fast bowler I've seen for a long time, probably since Glenn McGrath." They pressurised the Australian batsmen in both Tests and not one Australian managed to reach three figures in a series where the ball moved prodigiously in the air in largely overcast conditions. Australia captain Ricky Ponting said it was the most challenging conditions his team had ever faced. "I said before the tour that their group of bowlers are perfectly suited to English conditions," he said. "Asif moved the ball around and was the hardest one to score off in both games and boundaries were hard to find. "Aamer continues to improve and has not only got pace up his sleeve but he seems to think about the game as well. You know what you are going get with Gul and they have a world-class leg-spinner in (Danish) Kaneria." While Australia have a two-Test series in India in October, before a much-anticipated Ashes series at home, Pakistan will now face England on a high at Trent Bridge this week. Butt had encouraging words for his new, young team and feels they should be persisted with. Numbers three and four batsmen Azhar Ali and Umar Amin were debutants in the first Test at Lord's while Aamer is still only 18. "I can't predict what is going to happen (in the England series), but so far they have done a wonderful job," Butt added. "I hope they continue to learn and that this win doesn't get into their heads. "We have to work harder because we know we will make mistakes. They are pretty young, they are raw. But we have to back them when they make mistakes. This is important to build a side." Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board is to pay 500,000 rupees (Dh21,000) in prize money to each player in the team and has former Pakistani test cricketers predicting the beginning of a new era. "I can see the dawn of new era in Pakistan cricket with this victory," former Test captain Moin Khan said. "Young players showed they can perform in tough conditions of Headingley where the ball swung and seamed. The way the team has gelled under the new captain, it shows that we are now on the right track." Former chief selector Abdul Qadir believes Ali and Amin deserve an extended run in the team at the expense of Younis and Yousuf. "We should learn from this victory," Qadir said. "Chapter of Yousuf and Younis should be closed and even rest of the senior players should be warned to either perform or be left out." * Reuters
Australia 88 & 349 Pakistan 258 & (overnight 140-3): Salman Butt c Clarke b Hilfenhaus 13 Azhar Ali c Paine b Bollinger 51 Umar Amin c Paine b Bollinger 0 Umar Akmal c Paine b Hilfenhaus 8 Shoaib Malik c North b Hilfenhaus 10 Kamran Akmal c Hussey b Johnson 13 Mohammad Aamer not out 5 Umar Gul not out 1 Extras: (7lb, 5nb) 12 Total (for 7 wickets, 50.4 overs) 180 Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-137, 3-137, 4-146, 5-150, 6-161, 7-179. Bowling: Doug Bollinger 13-2-51-3 (3nb), Ben Hilfenhaus 13-2-39-3 (1nb), Mitchell Johnson 10.4-1-41-1 (1nb), Shane Watson 5-1-18-0, Steven Smith 9-2-24-0.