Test result closer than it appears, says Younis Khan
by AFP

Player:Younis Khan
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 2nd February 2006


Pakistan's acting captain Younis Khan on Wednesday cautioned against blaming India despite thumping them by 341 runs in the final Test here to clinch the series 1-0.


"A lot went in our favour in this game which could have gone either way," said Younis, who deputed for the injured Inzamam-ul Haq in the crucial Test at the National stadium.


India, set an improbable target of 607, were shot out for 265 just before stumps on the fourth day with Abdul Razzaq claiming 4-88 and Mohammad Asif taking 3-48.


Pakistan's remarkable win came despite the absence of the inspirational Inzamam due to a back injury and after the hosts were three down for no run in the first over 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.


"It was probably a good toss to lose," said Younis, recalling his Indian counterpart Rahul Dravid's decision to field first after winning the toss.


"Anything could have happened after 39-6, we could have been bowled out for 100 and that would have changed the game.


"But Akmal and the others rose to the occasion. Maybe the early wickets we got in India's second innings helped us win the Test.


"We may have got them in four hours in the end, but it was not as easy as it seemed. We had the better luck."


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


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.


India's Dravid said his team was outclassed by a team that played better cricket over the four days.


"We had a few strategies in place to contain them, but obviously it did not work. Simply put, we were outclassed.


"We could not have hoped for a better start when Irfan (Pathan) took that hat-trick," Dravid said.


"But then Kamran (Akmal) batted very well. Worse, we did not bat well at all and that in the end cost us the game."


Dravid stressed his team did not have trouble facing the seaming ball despite falling just one run short of their worst defeat -- by 342 runs against world champions Australia on another seaming track in Nagpur in 2004.


"Any batting line-up would have struggled to put bat to ball on the first two days when the wicket was seaming around," said Dravid.


"But we should have batted better than we did. We have done well in the past so there is no reason to think we struggle when the ball moves in the air or off the wicket.


"We were just not good enough in this game. We need to rethink our strategy and the combination."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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