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Salman Butt hails Pakistan's character after Test win

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Butt predicts tough Ashes test for England

Pakistan captain Salman Butt hailed his side's character after they survived a final session wobble at The Oval to give them hope of rescuing the series.

Despite losing three wickets for just eight runs after lunch Pakistan reached their 148 target for a four-wicket win.

"A few people put their hands up in this Test, it was a great effort from the whole team," reflected Butt.

"We can definitely level the series," added Butt, whose side trail 2-1 ahead of next week's final Test at Lord's.

Resuming on 221-9, England added only one more run to their second innings total.

Pakistan opener Yasir Hameed then went for a duck but Butt steadied the ship with a solid knock of 48 as it seemed as if the tourists would reach their target at a canter.

However, when Azhar Ali was run out cheaply just after lunch, Pakistan suffered a mini-collapse as James Anderson and Graeme Swann went on to claim three wickets in the space of four overs, leaving Butt's men on 132-6.

Youngsters Umar Akmal and Mohammad Amir, though, were more resolute as Pakistan saw out victory - only their fourth at The Oval.

"These small targets are always harder," opined Pakistan coach Waqar Younis. "If it was like a 270 or 280 or 300 it probably would have been a touch easier.

"It was tough at the end and these things do happen. And they bowled really well - you've got to give Swann and Anderson credit."

BEN DIRS' BLOG

Pakistan could afford their nervy finish thanks to a solid first innings total (308), built on Azhar Ali (92) and Mohammad Yousuf's half-ton (56), and a man of the match-clinching five-wicket haul from Mohammad Amir during the hosts' second innings.

"This was a team effort, the slip fielders caught well and the support of the captain is important for any bowler," said teenager Amir, after holding his nerve with the bat.

"In these conditions everyone feels pressure but I had control of my nerves," he added. "I'm working hard on my batting also."

Butt tipped Amir to claim the International Cricket Council's Emerging Player award, and heaped praise on Yousuf, who chipped in with 33 on the final day, for his display on his return to Test action after coming out of retirement.

"It was a tremendous comeback from Mohammad Yousuf after six months out, a brilliant performance. It was a wonderful team effort.

"He is a class act and hopefully he goes on from it."

Butt, meanwhile, revealed paceman Umar Gul could return from the hamstring injury he suffered in the second Test at Edgbaston for the final Test, which begins on Thursday.

"Umar Gul plays in the nets and we might give him a fitness test before Lord's.

"But the boy who came in for him [Wahab Riaz] did very well.

"We dedicate this win to the people affected by the floods [in Pakistan] and we hope we can get another win for them at Lord's and square the series."

And that's a feat that Waqar is confident his young side can achieve.

"It's very much possible. The way guys played will give them a boost.

"A few days off - because this tour has been pretty long for us - and we'll hope the cloud goes away and we get a bit of sun. I think we will do alright."



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan edge to win over England
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Strauss wants batting improvement
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England v Pakistan day four photos
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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