Pakistan v West Indies National Stadium, Karachi
Reports from Various Sources - 6-10 December 1997

Day 1 - The Dawn

Saqlain bowls Pakistan to a position of strength

Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 6: Pakistan got the start they wanted in quest for handing the West Indies their first white-wash in 69 years when Saqlain Mushtaq spun the visitors out for 216 on the opening day of the final Test at the National Stadium here on Saturday.

The tourists, after an impressive start on a perfect batting surface, went down on their knees against the Pakistan off-spinner who virtually toyed with them to finish with a career-best five for 54, his third five-wicket haul in an innings.

Skipper Wasim Akram gave a good helping hand to his young spinner when he returned with figures of three for 76. Akram, who requires 29 runs to join the elite company of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Sir Richard Hadlee with 2,000 runs and 300 wickets, now has 330 scalps in 77 matches. The home team completed a wonderful day in the field by reaching 34 for no loss when an early closure was applied because of fading light. A little over six overs were still to be bowled when the two openers Aamir Sohail (20) and Ijaz Ahmad (11) accepted the umpires offer. Saqlain Mushtaq, who now has 52 wickets in 13 Tests, completely dominated the West Indians with a mixture of accurate off-spinners, floaters and 'secret' deliveries.

Saqlain's performance was also a slap on the face of those who said he was not a Test bowler. The finger spinner, it may be mentioned, was not played in the first two Tests at Peshawar and Rawalpindi despite being in the squad of 13. But Saqlain stamped his superiority over others with a performance which has left the West Indies a mountain to climb. The dismal batting performance must have further dented their morale which is already at its lowest ebb after thrashings in the first two Tests. After first day's play, one thing is certain - West Indies cannot win from here but Pakistan can lose if the batsmen don't realise their responsibilities and bat sensibly. The wicket is tailor-made for the batsmen and the West Indies have no quality spinners like Pakistan to cause problems. All they need is to concentrate and apply themselves. One final good display of batsmenship is the need of the hour which will take them into record books as the only side, besides England, to blank-out the once unconquerable West Indies.

After Courtney Walsh won the toss and elected to bat, the West Indies looked to have found their batting rhythm on a placid track when Sherwin Campbell and Brian Lara batted with ease and grace to take the score to 109 for one shortly after lunch. It was then that Saqlain Mushtaq got his acts together and after bowling Brian Lara with a gem of a delivery, never looked back. He went on to add the scalps of Sherwin Campbell (50), Ronald Holder (26), Ian Bishop (2) and Courtney Walsh (1). Mushtaq Ahmad, hero of Pakistan's win at Peshawar, was in action for a brief period in which he had the wicket of Carl Hooper off a beautiful leg-spinner that left the batsman stranded in front of the wickets. Hooper's return, seven balls after the dismissal of Lara, was the final nail in the West Indies coffin.

The tourists never recovered from those two quick setbacks as they collapsed to 216 all out some 45 minutes before stumps. The last nine wickets could yield just 107 runs, including a contribution of 28 runs from last five wickets. Brian Lara, who scored 36 with six glorious boundaries, tried to play an inside-out cover-drive but was first beaten in the air and then off the wicket as the ball, instead of turning away, came slightly in to take his stumps. Sherwin Campbell continued his good form when he scored a well played 50 off 117 balls with six boundaries and a six. He was smartly caught by Aamir Sohail off a rebound from Wasim Akram's knee in the slips off Saqlain.

Campbell, dropped twice when 6 and 14, it was his third half century in five innings on this tour. Besides, he was also involved in a series-best opening stand of 47 runs with Stuart Williams who failed to beat an accurate throw from an athletic Mushtaq Ahmad from mid-on. It has once again been Pakistan's bowling strength that has enabled the team to dictate terms. Otherwise, the cricket authorities had slammed all doors at them for a white-wash after preparing a track as flat as this one. It was astonishing and mind-boggling to see the condition of the wicket. Whatever little grass was left on the wicket, was mowed off on Friday evening and by rolling it repeatedly, they made it ideal for stroke-play. Had Brian Lara avoided a suicidal shot and then Saqlain Mushtaq not mesmerised West Indians, situation might have been quite different.

It is time that for the authorities to get rid of the groundsmen who can't prepare a pitch which can suit the home team. Besides, the authorities should themselves change their attitude and encourage more sporting wickets like Rawalpindi rather than making their bowlers to toil on such dreadful wickets.

The Dawn (

Day 1 - The Electronic Telegraph

Saqlain confirms the Lara theme

Paul Newman in Karachi

THE expansive but foolhardy drive perfectly summed up the plight of a bedraggled force. It came from Brian Lara, and led to his demise, bowled by a grateful Saqlain Mushtaq, on the first day of the final Test of a tour that West Indies cannot wait to end.

Rarely can West Indies have been at such a low ebb. Thrashed by Pakistan in the first two Tests, and without a win in the quadrangular one-day tournament, they arrived in Karachi talking blandly about salvaging lost pride, but with all eyes focused on the two central characters in a drama that threatens to run at least until England arrive in the Caribbean next month.

Courtney Walsh could be leading West Indies for the last time. And, if he is replaced as captain by Lara, who has looked disinterested here, then he will consider bringing an illustrious career to an end before England's tour.

None of the West Indian batsmen showed anything like the necessary application on a blameless National Stadium pitch, as they capitulated for 216. Off-spinner Saqlain, who celebrated his return to the Pakistan side with five for 54, including his 50th Test wicket, proved particularly troublesome.

Walsh is entitled to feel thoroughly let down. His own standards have been as high as ever, but he has had little support. ``I am from the old school, and we used to show a lot more pride than this,'' said Walsh. ``We're beginning to look pathetic and drastic action is required.'' Whether Walsh will oversee that action remains to be seen.

The Electronic Telegraph (

Day 2 - The Dawn

Sohail and Ijaz rub salt into Windies' wounds

Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 7: Openers Aamir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmad caused further embarrassment to the embattled West Indies as Pakistan sat on the back of the tourists in the third and final cricket Test at the National Stadium here on Sunday.

Sohail and Ijaz put on record 298 runs for the first wicket as Pakistan finished the second day at 327 for one. Pakistan, bidding to be the first team in 69 years to whitewash the West Indies, now lead by 111 runs with nine wickets and three days to spare.

West Indies, on Saturday, were shot out for 216 in their first innings. Sohail slammed a belligerent 160 before becoming the only wicket to fall in the day which saw 293 runs being scored in 84 overs. However, make-shift opener Ijaz Ahmad remained composed and determined to be still batting on an exquisite 127. He had resumed this morning at 11 with Pakistan starting their innings at 34 for no loss. With Ijaz was Saeed Anwar on 15. A stiff neck had restrained Anwar from opening the innings on Saturday. He might, however, be regretting his decision now. After second day's play, the once unbeatable West Indies appear to be all but dead and buried. If innings thrashings were not enough for them in the two earlier Tests, they now face the anomaly of even failing to dismiss the charged-up Pakistanis in this Test. Their body language in the field on Sunday showed their agony. The fielders hardly tried to boost the morale of team when none of them was seen talking to each other or backing-up either the bowlers or his any other teammates. When such are the relationships among the players themselves, only a miracle can lift a side from as precarious a situation as this one.

The only thing the West Indies now require is a complete overhaul. If the team remains as disparate as currently it is, they may be up for greater humiliation when they face the Englishmen in three months time. The England team, who are themselves a second rated side without having quality batsmen and effective bowlers, will be visiting the Caribbean for a series of five Tests and as many one-day internationals. Reverting to the proceedings, it was a record breaking day for Pakistan and specially for Aamir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmad. Sohail and Ijaz became the first Pakistan opening pair in 243 Tests to score centuries in an innings. When the duo reached 160 of the stand, they erased Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas from record books who had put on 159 runs against the West Indies for the first wicket at Georgetown in 1976-77.

Sohail and Ijaz also bettered Pakistan's previous best-ever opening wicket stand of 249 between Khalid Ibadullah and Abdul Kadir which was against Australia at the same venue 33 years ago. Interestingly, Ijaz had opened an innings for the first time in a Test though he began his career in the Under-19 championships for PACO Shaheen as an opener. The innings of Sohail and Ijaz were of contrasting styles. Sohail was more aggressive than Ijaz who was cautious and rightly so as he had not scored enough runs in his last six innings that only produced 118 runs. Sohail, who faced 254 balls for his 160, batted for little under six hours during which he hit 21 punishing boundaries. He reached his first 50 off 82 balls with nine boundaries. His second 50 came off 56 balls with seven hits to the fence.

Ijaz, on the contrary, scored his first 50 runs from 83 balls with four fours and a six. But he took 120 balls to score the second 50 that included four boundaries. Ijaz's 127 has so far come off 284 balls with 11 boundaries and a six. He has already consumed 401 minutes at the crease. It was after a long time when Sohail blitzed the opposition with his trademark attacking and commanding innings. Ijaz, on the contrary, took his time in the centre and picked the balls to score runs. Sohail struck blistering drives and cuts while Ijaz sweetly flicked off his toes besides driving with ferocious power. But both the knocks were flawless and full of elegance, grace, maturity and discipline. It was Sohail's fourth century of the season after having earlier hit 128 against South Africa, 170 against KRL for ABL and 160 against West Indies last week at Rawalpindi. But it was the first hundred for Ijaz in six Tests this year after his last (113) was against Sri Lanka in April. Overall, it was the fourth century by Aamir Sohail in 38 Tests and eighth in 42 Tests for Ijaz.

The two batsmen also silenced their critics by making their bats do the talking. Ijaz Ahmad was told at Peshawar by a selector that he has played his final Test while Sohail's career was almost ended earlier this year by the cricket board had the government not intervened. Ijaz, in the last two years, has emerged as Pakistan's most consistent stroke-maker after Inzamamul Haq since staging a comeback in Australia as a substitute for Saeed Anwar. In his last 27 innings of 19 Tests, he has scored 1,223 at 48.92, including six centuries.

Pakistan's dominance over the West Indies can be figured out from the fact that they scored 102 runs in the first session, added 110 runs in the second and put on 81 runs in the final session that was curtailed by six overs because of bad light.

The Dawn (

Day 2 - The Electronic Telegraph

Sohail and Ijaz open up West Indian wounds

Paul Newman in Karachi

TWO batsmen who epitomise the glorious uncertainty of Pakistani cricket ground the hapless West Indian attack into the Karachi dust yesterday with a record opening partnership on the second day of the third Test.

Aamir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed could easily have been missing from this astonishingly one-sided series. Sohail fell out so badly with Majid Khan, chief executive of the Pakistani board, earlier this season, that he vowed never to play for his country again. Two weeks later he was back in the side. Meanwhile, Ijaz was told by a selector at the start of the series that he was on borrowed time as a Test batsman. Now he has earned a stay of execution.

So emphatic was the pair's domination yesterday, after West Indies had capitulated for 216 on a perfect National Stadium pitch to the off-spin of Saqlain Mushtaq on Saturday, that Sohail was quickly passing Majid's record, compiled with Zaheer Abbas, of 159 for the opening Pakistan wicket against West Indies. By the time he and Ijaz, opening only because Saeed Anwar injured his neck on Saturday, were separated, they had surpassed their country's best opening stand against anyone, 249 from Abdul Kadir and Billy Ibadulla against Australia in 1964.

West Indies simply had no answer. Their four fast bowlers, a mode of attack looking increasingly outdated, virtually went through the motions, their length too short for the surface.

The only way they could break through was via the occasional leg-spin of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who, bowling round the wicket, earned an lbw decision from Cyril Mitchley, with a long hop that the left-handed Sohail somehow missed as he attempted to slog it through midwicket.

Sohail's 160, the same score as he made in Rawalpindi last week, was only his fourth hundred in Test cricket after a 17-match wait for his third. Ijaz, less fluent but with the responsibility his batting has often lacked, reached his seventh Test hundred, and was unbeaten on 127 at the close. By that stage Pakistan were 327 for one, already 111 in front and seemingly certain of a third successive innings victory.

The Electronic Telegraph (

Day 3 - The Dawn

Saqlain overshadows Dillon, Hooper on an eventful day

Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 8: Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq pushed the West Indies to the brink of only their second whitewash in 69 years on an eventful third day of the third and final cricket Test at the National Stadium here on Monday.

On a day which saw 16 wickets tumbling down, Saqlain followed up his five for 54 with four for 25 as the West Indies plunged into further depths after being reduced to 198 for seven when bad light forced an early closure by 15 overs.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan resuming this morning at 327 for one, went crashing out for 417 with Mervyn Dillon leading a rare West Indies fightback with a career-best five for 111. Courtney Walsh removed the tail to finish with four for 74 and completed 350 wickets in Test cricket. With the defeat almost inevitable for the West Indies, what has made this Test interesting is the fact that whether it would again be by an innings margin.

The West Indies still require three more runs to make the Pakistanis bat for the first time in their second innings. Pakistan won by an innings and 19 runs at Peshawar and improved their victory margin at Rawalpindi by winning by an innings and 29 runs.

If Pakistan achieve victory by an innings, they would equal the feat of Percy Chapman whose Englishmen crushed the West Indies in all the three Tests by an identical margin in 1928. However, what would make the Pakistanis a more proud team will be the point that Chapman's team beat the West Indies who were playing their inaugural series. On the contrary, Wasim Akram's men would be beating the Caribbeans who in the last two decades were considered as an unbeatable and invincible force. Saqlain Mushtaq was the man who made things look so simple for the home side on a perfect batting track. He bowled with accuracy and controlled spin to keep the West Indies batsmen at bay. Even a world-class batsman like Brian Lara appeared to be dancing to Saqlain's tune before succumbing to the off-spinner for the second time in the match.

Lara, who scored 37, finished the series scoring 129 runs. He fell to the pacers four time and twice to Saqlain Mushtaq. After getting Lara, there appeared no stopping Saqlain as he further added the wickets of Shivnarine Chanderpaul (16), Ronald Holder (5) and David Williams (2). This performance by Saqlain would certainly earn him the status of as effective a spinner as Mushtaq Ahmad and Shane Warne to grace the modern era. But Saqlain penetrated through the West Indies defences courtesy Waqar Younis who removed both the West Indies openers to become Pakistan's third leading wicket-taker with 238. He surpassed Abdul Qadir (236) and now stands behind Imran Khan (361) and Wasim Akram (330). While Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq amused a handful crowd with clas sical bowling displays, Carl Hooper's whirlwind century was by no means less entertaining.

Hooper slammed the most thundering of all centuries of the series when he reached his 100 from just 80 balls with 14 blistering boundaries and three huge sixes. It was his eighth Test century and third against Pakistan. Hooper's innings ended 10 balls later when a banana-like inswinger from Wasim Akram sent his middle-stump cart-wheeling. Hooper completely overshadowed Brian Lara in a third wicket partnership of 121 runs in 100 minutes. In fact, when Hooper completed his century with a graceful straight drive for a boundary, the West Indies were 167 for two.

Hooper, who is one of the most attractive and stylish batsmen today, was in a very punishing mood. His first 50 runs came from 48 balls with eight boundaries and a six while he took just 32 balls for his second 50 runs that spiced six boundaries and three sixes.

Hooper, who was bowled on the first ball after final water break of the day, was ruthless against Mushtaq Ahmad when he struck the Pakistan leg-spinner for 47 runs, including seven boundaries. Azhar Mahmood also received a rough treatment from him to concede 32 runs from his three overs.

Earlier, Pakistan repeated the Rawalpindi Test story to be fired out for 427 after starting the day at 327. Pakistan, on Monday, lost their nine wickets for the addition of only 90 runs with four batsmen being adjudged leg before wickets.

In Rawalpindi also, Pakistan had collapsed from a 323-run third wicket partnership between Aamir Sohail (160) and Inzamamul Haq (177). This time, they slumped after Sohail's 160 and Ijaz's 151. For Ijaz, who started the day at 127, it was his career-best knock that was laced with 15 boundaries and a six. Ijaz batted for a minute under seven hours and faced 337 balls.

Mervyn Dillon, playing his third Test, was the wrecker-in-chief when he bowled a dream spell of 13.4-4-52-5 to finish with analysis of 29.4-4-111-5. Dillon bowled with venom and fire to swing the old ball appreciably. He was, however, extremely lucky to get favourable leg before decisions against Inzamamul Haq (4) and Wasim Akram. West Indies skipper Courtney Walsh ended up with four for 74. He now has 353 wickets in 96 Tests. Walsh may arrive in his country with his head down but when it will come to performance, he would be a very proud man after taking 14 wickets in the series with two five-wicket hauls.

The Dawn (

Day 3 - The Electronic Telegraph

West Indies humiliated despite Hooper hundred

Peter Deeley in Karachi

A ferocious 80-ball hundred by Carl Hooper will not prevent West Indies today enduring the indignity of a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Pakistan in this Test series.

In other circumstances Hooper's century would be recalled in Caribbean folk songs of years to come. Wisden records only six players - two of them fellow West Indians, Viv Richards and Roy Fredericks - who have scored faster centuries in terms of balls received.

Sadly, his innings will be but a footnote to a tour which has seen the modern West Indies sink to an all-time low. They still need another three runs to prevent their third successive innings defeat and only the bowlers are left at the crease. Bad light alone helped the visitors extend the game into the fourth day, as in the first two Tests.

Hooper's hundred, which took two hours and included three sixes and 14 boundaries, was the highlight of an extraordinary day when 16 wickets fell.

With West Indies at last bowling a full length, Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for the addition of 90 runs to give them a lead of 201. Ijaz Ahmed was sixth out after reaching his highest Test score of 151, having batted for eight hours.

Courtney Walsh alone has maintained his reputation as a world-class bowler among the wreckage of West Indies' quick attack. He claimed four more wickets in the space of 21 balls to give him 14 in three Tests.

Walsh's tally now in 96 Tests is 353 victims - 23 behind the leading Caribbean bowler of all time, Malcolm Marshall, who is coaching here.

Trinidadian Mervyn Dillon, 24, who had been on the sidelines before this game, returned his best figures of five for 111 in only his third Test, with four of his victims top-order batsmen. Here perhaps is some ray of hope for the side when England visit next month.

West Indies made a familiarly disastrous start, Waqar Younis removing both openers by the time the score had reached 19. That brought Brian Lara and Hooper together and for once Lara found himself playing the support role.

He hooked Waqar for six just over wide fine leg but Hooper obviously thought that the only way to save the follow-on - and some pride - was to attack.

Mushtaq Ahmed was the unlucky recipient of his aggression. The leg-spinner has probably never been so cruelly mauled and retreated to the deep after 67 runs had come off seven overs, 47 of them to Hooper.

It was said recently of Hooper that he is a ``wastrel''. That is much too strong but he has under-used his enormous natural talent. We saw an afternoon of the other Hooper as he took 14 off one Mushtaq over, then 16 off another, using his feet and driving straight or pulling through midwicket.

There was sometimes a hint of bravado about it and Lara several times went down not to touch gloves in the common congratulatory manner, but to plead with his partner to control himself.

Saqlain Mushtaq at the other end was treated with much more respect and he eventually got Lara caught at silly point trying to turn the ball through the leg side. Lara's 37 brought him to only 129 runs in six innings here - a major factor in the West Indies' demise.

Hooper's first 50 came off 48 balls in 67 minutes and the second in only 32 balls and a further 54 minutes. But he was visibly tiring towards the end and on 106 a delivery from Wasim Akram cut back past a weary prod.

After that, West Indies were easy meat for Saqlain, who again bowled brilliantly, using the rough to take four wickets for only 25 in 16 overs.

The Electronic Telegraph (

Day 3 - The Trinidad Express

West Indies on last legs

Off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq grabbed five wickets as Pakistan dismissed the West Indies for 216 on the first day of the third and final cricket Test here yesterday.

Pakistan in reply were 34 without loss with Aamir Sohail on 20 and Ejaz Ahmed on 11 as play ended early owing to bad light with 8.3 of the day's allotment of overs still to be bowled.

The 21-year-old Saqlain bowled with guile and authority to claim his third five-wicket haul and record his best bowling figures in 13 Tests. He showed his thirst for wickets and came back strongly after being omitted in the first two Tests of the series.

The West Indies failed to capitalise on the the winning of the toss on a flat track and they lost their way, losing their last nine wickets for only 107 runs. Opener Sherwin Campbell topscored with 50, his third half-century in as many Tests.

Brian Lara shaped well initially but played a reckless shot to be out for 36.

Wasim Akram took 3-76 and was happy at his team's performance. ``We know the knack of how to bowl on flat tracks and I am happy that Saqlain justified his inclusion,'' he said.

West Indian captain Courtney Walsh decided to bat on a pitch that looked flat and dry.

At lunch, the tourists were in a good position, having made 94 for the loss of one wicket. But they then began to collapse and fell away to be 176 for 5 at tea, losing four wickets in the post-lunch session for 82 runs.

In just 75 minutes after tea, the visitors added 40 runs and lost all of their remaining five wickets.

Pakistan, who hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series brought in off-spinner Saqlain in place of Shoaib Akhtar. Curtly Ambrose, who has a bad back, and Philo Wallace made way for Roland Holder and Mervyn Dillon in the West Indies' line-up.

Sherwin Campbell and Stuart Williams put on the best opening stand in the series from either side. Campbell hit three fours in Wasim Akram's third over. Williams matched his partner by belting Akram for three more boundaries in the seventh over of the innings.

But when he had made 33 with six fours, Williams was the first to go, run out by a direct throw from Mushtaq Ahmed at mid-on. Pakistani spinners grabbed three wickets in the hour after lunch. Brian Lara, who looked in very good nick early in his innings, was bowled by Saqlain for 36.

Lara tried to drive a ball that turned back to find the gap between bat and pad. He hit six fours in his 94-minute stay and added 62 runs for the second wicket with Campbell.

Saqlain then struck another blow when he forced Campbell to drive, his miscued shot ending up in the safe hands of Aamir Sohail after ricocheting off the knee of Wasim Akram standing at first slip. Campbell made 50 during his 167 minute innings with the help of six fours and a six off Waqar Younis.

In between leg-spinner Mushtaq had Carl Hooper lbw for nought. Hooper survived just four balls. Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 34 runs with Roland Holder before he was bowled by Akram for 21 and half the West Indies side was gone for 160.

Holder and David Williams took the score total to 188, playing with extreme caution.

Saqlain then came back for a second spell and sent Holder (26), Ian Bishop (2) and captain Courtney Walsh (1) back to the pavilion to better his previous best bowling figures of five for 89 against Sri Lanka at Colombo in April this year.

He also completed 50 wickets in Tests, the 22nd Pakistani bowler to cross that mark.

Akram polished off the tail by sending back Franklyn Rose for 13 and Mervyn Dillon for nought. The defiant Williams, who has been doing very well with the bat on this tour, remained not out on 22.

The Trinidad Express (

Day 4 - The Dawn

Pakistan whitewash West Indies

Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 9: Pakistan did what other team wouldn't even dare to think of. They whitewashed the West Indies to become the first side since 1928 to humiliate the once powerhouse of cricket.

Pakistan, with massive wins in the first two Tests already under their belt, won the third and final Test by 10 wickets with more than five sessions to spare. On Tuesday morning, they took just 29 minutes to polish off the West Indies tail.

Pakistan were, however, denied their third consecutive innings victory when West Indies reached 212 after resuming on the penultimate day at 198 for seven and needing three more runs to make the home team bat again. That set Pakistan a target of 12 runs which they achieved in five overs with make-shift openers Azhar Mahmood alone scoring 13 and Mohammad Wasim remaining not out on 0.

West Indies, the former giants of Test cricket, were last whitewashed by Percy Chapman's Englishmen in their inaugural series. Karl Nunes was the West Indies captain. The series win was also a personal triumph for Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram. Besides finding a place aside Chapman, he became only the third captain in 46-year Pakistan cricket history to lead the home team to a 3-0 victory.

Akram's mentor, Imran Khan, became the first captain to inflict a 3-0 defeat at Kim Hughes' Australians in 1982-83. Eight years later, Imran's feat was equalled by Javed Miandad who defeated Martin Crowe's New Zealand by a similar margin in the 1990-91 season. However, Akram was, nevertheless, thwarted of joining the world's greatest quartet of Kapil Dev, Sir Richard Hadlee, Ian Botham and Imran Khan in his home country. He failed to get the required 29 runs to complete 2,000 runs besides 300 Test wickets. The allrounder will now go in hunt for the needed runs in Africa where Pakistan play five Tests, three against South Africa and the rest against Zimbabwe, in three months time.

Akram, without a shadow of doubt, will now go into history books as one of the best and most successful Pakistan captains after Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Mushtaq Mohammad and Salim Malik. Akram, last year, became the first captain to win two Tests in England and six months later, led Pakistan to their first World Series Cup wins in 17 years in Australia.

Akram was an equal contributor in Pakistan's third and final Test win besides Ijaz Ahmad (151), Man-of-the-Series Aamir Sohail (4, 160, 160) and Man-of-the-Match Saqlain Mushtaq (nine for 80). After claiming three wickets for 76 runs in the first innings, Akram added four wickets for 42 runs to finish with match figures of seven for 118 runs. His morning spell read 2.4-0-11-3. But Akram should consider himself lucky to have Mervyn Dillon caught behind. Television replays showed that Dillon's bat was no where near the ball but South African umpire Cyril Mitchley was convinced and gave him caught behind.

``West Indies didn't play bat. In fact, we played better than them,'' an elated Akram, who attributed the history-making success to every individual of the team, said in a post-match conference. ``They (West Indies) at times lacked motivation but it's not that they are a bad team. We didn't actually allow them to lift after winning the Peshawar Test,'' Akram said. ``It is a great moment for every member of the team because it is only the second time that the West Indies have been blanked out completely,'' the Pakistan captain added.

``It has not been a very satisfying golden jubilee season because we lost to South Africa and failed to qualify for the final of the one-day tournament. But to bounce back from those setbacks is a great achievement itself. ``Now we aim at the Sharjah tournament and I am sure we will deliver the goods because the morale of the team is sky-high. but cricket is an unpredictable game and one should not forget that.'' Akram believed that his success will help the Pakistan team a long way in performing well on the African safari. ``The boys are confident and they have started to believe in themselves. I have always maintained that we have the most talented players in the world and the only missing element was consistency. ``I am glad that it (consistency) came at the right time. All credit to the team for putting up a great show,'' Akram said.

West Indies captain Courtney Walsh tried to put up a brave face but disappointment clearly reflected from his face. ``We lacked consistency. We didn't bat properly. The Pakistan batsmen showed more application than ours,'' he said. ``We failed to bowl the Pakistan out twice while they dismissed us each time we went down there. ``They completely outplayed us,'' Walsh admitted, who was named as West Indies' Man-of-the-Series after claiming 14 wickets.

Pakistan's victory over the West Indies was mainly due to the mental toughness of the players. They rose to the occasion and delivered the goods despite being under pressure after earlier defeats. The batsmen were more disciplined, responsible and mature while the bowling attack had variety in it. Whether it be the fast bowlers, wrist-spinner or finger-spinner, all got wickets. The fielders extended full support to their bowlers by bringing off scintillating catches and effecting brilliant run-outs. Here, coach Haroon Rasheed also needs a pat on his back for making their players realise how talented and brilliant they were. Coaching is not a professional job in Pakistan but his association with the junior team must have helped a lot in dealing with the players while pointing out their weakness and how they should be rectified. It must be a moment of satisfaction for Haroon after his critics questioned his credentials. ``Let the people judge for themselves about my contributions to the national team and Pakistan cricket,'' Haroon said in a brief statement.

All is well that ends well. Pakistan had a mixed domestic season but the bottom-line is that they concluded the season a high note and it is time that the cricket board should awarded the entire side for putting up a majestic performance.

The Dawn (

Thanks: Various Sources