Pakistan greats hail win over South Africa
by Cricket Archive Staff reporter

Player:Javed Miandad, Intikhab Alam, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul

DateLine: 24th January 2007


Former greats Tuesday hailed Pakistan's comeback win over South Africa, a victory described as the "best ever" by captain Inzamam-ul-Haq. Led admirably by Inzamam, Pakistan achieved a comprehensive five-wicket win over Graeme Smith-led Proteas on the fourth day of the second Test at Port Elizabeth on Monday to level the three-match series at 1-1. Vice captain Younis Khan and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal hit contrasting unbeaten half-centuries to take Pakistan to the challenging 191-run target. Pakistan lost the first Test at Centurion by seven wickets. "A win is a win and to have achieved that on foreign soil adds to the achievement," said former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. "The difference between Australia and other teams is that they learn lessons from their wins and try to improve with every match. Pakistan must also analyse how the win was achieved," said Miandad, who has also coached Pakistan. This becomes Pakistan's only second Test win in South Africa after they won at Durban in 1998. Miandad said Pakistan would have to lift their game to clinch the third Test starting at Cape Town from Friday to achieve their first-ever series win in South Africa. Pakistan will be without their two frontline pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul who are returning home injured. Akhtar, who took 4-36 to knock down South Africa for a low score of 124 in the first innings, tore his hamstring muscle and needed two weeks' rest. Akhtar did not bowl in the second innings and is also feared to have recurred an injury to his knee, operated last year. Gul twisted his ankle during the warm-up match leading up to the first Test and has not recovered since. Miandad described Inzamam's unbeaten 92 which helped Pakistan gain an invaluable 141-run lead as "incredible." "Inzamam played very well and he scored runs with tail-enders in company which shows a great character." Another former captain and coach Intikhab Alam said Inzamam led the team from the front. "Akhtar gave Pakistan a very good start and to me dismissing South Africa for 124 was the turning point and then Inzamam handled his attack minus Akhtar admirably," said Alam, who also coached Punjab team in neighbouring India. Alam said the victory will be a great morale booster for Pakistan. "I rated Pakistan as the better team than South Africa and now Pakistan is in a good position to win the series, an achievement which they can take into the World Cup in two months," said Alam, who was coach-cum-manager of Pakistan when they won their only title in Australia in 1992. Pakistan also play five one-day internationals against South Africa next month before heading to the West Indies for the World Cup in March-April.