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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2006, 06:07 GMT
Afridi and Akmal inspire Pakistan
First Test, Lahore, day two (stumps)
Pakistan 679-7 (dec) v India 116-0 (22 overs)

Shahid Afridi celebrates his century

India have plenty of batting to do to achieve safety after thrilling knocks from Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal put Pakistan on top in the first Test.

Afridi (103) hit 27 in one Harbhajan Singh over and put on 170 at almost eight an over with Akmal (102) as the hosts declared on day two on 679-7.

Younis Khan, who was run out for 199, and Mohammad Yousuf (173) put on 319.

Captain Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag took India to 65-0 off 13 overs before bad light ended play early.

The tourists still face a tough task to achieve their first target of 480 to avoid the follow-on.

But they will draw encouragement from a pitch which has barely any life in it and gives batsmen plenty of time to pick their shots.

India's bowlers will not remember it fondly - four of them conceded well in excess of 100 runs - and they looked short of ideas after Pakistan began the second day on 326-2.

Yousuf, whose last appearance here yielded a double century against England, gave them a clue of what was to come when he stroked three fours off Ajit Agarkar in the second over.

He continued to play some exquisite shots on the off-side as he raced to 100 in 128 balls and 150 from 181 balls, with 18 fours and one six.

28: Brian Lara (WI) off Robin Peterson (SA), Johannesburg, December 2003
27: Shahid Afridi (Pak) off Harbhajan Singh (Ind), Lahore, January 2006
26: Craig McMillan (NZ) off Younis Khan (Pak), Hamilton, March 2001

Anil Kumble gave India some respite when he had Yousuf stumped and trapped a sweeping Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw for one.

But Younis plodded away patiently to build on his superb record against the Indians - he made 147 and 267 in last year's series - and progress to 199 from 336 balls.

His knock came to an end when he turned Kumble to mid-on and set off for a single - only to be sent back by Afridi and beaten by Harbhajan's throw.

However, Afridi and Akmal stepped up the pace after the lunch interval to blast the bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Afridi immediately set his sights on Harbhajan, smacking the bowler over long-on and mid-wicket for the first of a deluge of sixes, and a delightful lofted cover-drive off the off-spinner brought up his fifty off 55 balls.

Akmal, who was also impressive against England, then thrashed Pathan over the long-off boundary to show he is no slouch, but this was very much the Afridi show.

The first ball of Harbhajan's 34th over was smashed 120 yards over the mid-wicket region, the second was a slight mis-hit which still went over the ropes down the ground and the third flew way over square-leg.

Yousuf accepts a hug from Younis as he goes to his ton
Yousuf and Younis continued Friday's good work

When the fourth was launched over the same region, memories of Sir Garfield Sobers' six maximums in an over for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in Swansea in 1968 came flooding back.

But the fifth was miscued before falling safely in the long-off region for two and Afridi collected a single off the last, an anti-climax after the mayhem which had come before.

The overall run haul from those six balls was one run short of Brian Lara's record score in one Test over of 28, achieved in Johannesburg in 2003.

But Akmal was inspired, hammering Kumble over mid-wicket en route to 15 in an over as he recorded his fifty off 51 balls.

With the fielders looking dazed and increasingly sloppy, Afridi picked up two more fours off Agarkar to bring up a 78-ball hundred featuring seven sixes.

His dramatic knock came to an end two balls later when he holed out off the paceman to Harbhajan but by then the damage had been well and truly done - the total had careered on to 647-6 and the Indians looked down and out.

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan perished in the search for quick runs but Akmal pulled Kumble to the mid-wicket boundary to bring up his third Test century off 81 balls - and the fastest ever by a wicket-keeper - and prompt an immediate declaration from Inzamam.

With no recognised opener to play alongside Sehwag, Dravid decided to lead from the front and the pair showed that the surface was still a friend of the batsmen.

They looked fluent after tea, with Sehwag dispatching two fuller deliveries from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and a shorter one from the seamer for boundaries.

He brought up the 50 with a majestic cut off Mohammad Sami before it was Afridi's turn to suffer - with the ball turning in slow motion, any error in length was punished severely by Dravid and Sehwag.

Pakistan batsmen dominate India
13 Jan 06 |  Cricket


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