Awesome Yousuf cracks record of Vivian Richards

yohanaRun Machine Mohammad Yousuf capped his fabulous year with yet another century to break the West Indian legend Vivian Richards’s 30-year-old record of most runs in a calendar year and help Pakistan set the West Indies a daunting 444-run target on the penultimate day of the third and final Test at the National Stadium here on Thursday.

It was Yousuf’s last Test day as a batsman this year and like all of 2006 it was, using Brian Lara’s words, slightly unbelievable.

So incredible were Yousuf’s feats — most runs and centuries in a calendar year, a record six tons in five Tests and a few more that he completely overshadowed the rest of the happenings during the course of the day.

It was a day when opener Mohammad Hafeez (104) played the best Test innings and Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq ended his run draught with a fifty as the home team brought themselves in a perfect position to win the Test and the series by reducing the tourists to 39-2 at stumps.

The West Indies’ only hope of saving the match now rests on the aging shoulders of Lara, 18 not out, as they are still 404 runs behind and need to bat out an entire day to avoid losing the series 0-2.

But it was also a day when all those details became rather insignificant.

Consistency has seldom been the hallmark of Pakistan batsmen which makes Yousuf’s run feast all the more important — 1788 runs from 11 Tests ahead of Richards record of 1710 that ‘The King’ established in 1976.

In doing that Yousuf reached a few other milestones too that included breaking his own record of eight successive tons in a year which he set in the previous innings (102) of this Test. It was his sixth ton in five successive Tests, bettering the great Don Bradman’s record of six centuries in six matches.

Yousuf took his tally in this series to 665 runs surpassing the record of most runs scored by a Pakistani batsman in a three-Test series, previously held by Zaheer Abbas who scored 583 against India in 1978. Yousuf also became only the sixth Pakistani to score centuries in each innings of a Test.

Yousuf hit 124, his ninth century this year, and together with opener Mohammad Hafeez (104) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (58 not out) guided the home team to a position from where a defeat seems highly unlikely.

The highest run chase in Test history (418) was achieved by the West Indies against Australia at St John’s, Antigua in 2002-3 but Lara’s men would be aware they are away from home and batting on a track where it is still not easy to play shots.

After the heroics of the local batsmen earlier in the day, medium pacers Umar Gul and Shahid Nazir made an already good day even better for Pakistan.

Umar made a terrific start as he got the scalp of Chris Gayle on the fourth ball of the first over, an inside edge shattering the stumps. Two overs later, Shahid reduced the West Indies to 17-2 trapping the other opener, Daren Ganga, leg before. Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan (11) survived the final five overs of the third session in fading light to take the fight into the fifth and final day.

At the start of the day’s play, all eyes were on Yousuf. He began at 1, still requiring 46 runs to erase Richards’s record. Slowly a crowd of over 10,000 assembled at the National Stadium and cheered every run the bearded batsman scored.

The moment they had been waiting for finally came when on 44 Yousuf produced an elegant on-drive off Corey Collymore to reach the milestone and the crowd erupted in jubilation. He raised his bat in acknowledgement and received a standing ovation.

The Lahore-born batsman continued to bat with the same concentration and, like Hafeez, marched towards a century.

Hafeez got there first as he completed his second Test ton with a four off Jerome Taylor at mid-on. It came off 258 balls after a marathon 405-minute stay on the crease and the figures aptly reflected the huge effort made by the man, trying to make his bones as a regular Pakistan opener. After adding 149 runs with Yousuf, he departed on 104, allowing Inzamam to take another shot at regaining his lost form.

The Pakistan captain has been having a horrific run of form in recent outings and was in a desperate need to get some runs.

Yousuf, meanwhile, was in no such problem. He made full use of two dropped catches, one by Ganga off Sarwan at 68 and later by Taylor off his own bowling at 87, to reach his 23rd Test century off 145 balls with his 14th four. He put on 94 with Inzamam before getting bowled round the wicket by Sarwan. His 124 came off 195 balls in almost five hours.

Pakistan later lost Shoaib Malik (10) and Abdul Razzaq (10) but Inzamam scored the first fifty of this series — an unbeaten 58 from 91 balls to raise his confidence.

Pakistan are well set to win this Test after a nine-wicket triumph in Lahore and a drawn match in Multan. They might have been in a better position had a declaration from Inzamam come a bit earlier but the captain was in no mood to take any risks. He knows Lara is capable of doing anything after watching his smashing 216 in Multan and wanted to play it safe.

With cloudy weather making the days shorter here, such a defensive strategy might cost Pakistan a win but even a drawn Test would give them a 1-0 series win — something that they seem happy to achieve.


Pakistan won toss

Pakistan 1st inns 304 (Imran farhat 47, Mohammad Yousuf 102)

West Indies 1st inns 260 (C H Gayle 40, D Ganga 81, D Ramdin 50; Umar Gul 4-79)

Pakistan 2nd inns (overnight 130-2)

Mohammad Hafeez c Ramdin b Taylor 104

Imran Farhat c Ramdin b Powell 20

Younis Khan lbw b Gayle 38

Mohammad Yousuf b Sarwan 124

*Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 58

Shoaib Malik b Collymore 10

Abdul Razzaq c Gayle b Sarwan 10

Extras (b13, lb21, w1) 35

Total (6 wkts dec, 123.5 overs) 399

Did not bat: †Kamran Akmal, Shahid Nazir, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria

Fall: 1-43, 2-122, 3-271, 4-365, 5-384, 6-399

Bowling: Taylor 24-8-60-1; Collymore 22-10-52-1; Powell 24-6-70-1; Bravo 19-1-68-0; Gayle 15-2-38-1; Sarwan 17.5-0-70-2; Chanderpaul 2-0-7-0 (1w)

West Indies 2nd inns

C H Gayle b Umar Gul 2

D Ganga lbw b Shahid Nazir 2

*B C Lara not out 18

R R Sarwan not out 11

Extras (b4, lb1, nb1) 6

Total (2 wkts, 9.2 overs) 39

To bat: R S Morton, S Chanderpaul, D J Bravo, †D Ramdin, J E Taylor, D B Powell, C D Collymore

Fall: 1-2, 2-17

Bowling: Umar Gul 5-0-25-1 (1nb); Shahid Nazir 4.2-2-9-1

Series: Pakistan leads the 3-Test series 1-0

Umpires: M R Benson (England) and D J Harper (Australia). TV umpire: Riazuddin. Match referee: R S Mahanama (Sri Lanka)

Previous matches: November 11-14 1st Test Lahore, Pakistan won by 9 wickets. November 19-23 2nd Test Multan, match drawn

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on December 1st, 2006 with 84 Views

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