Cricket: Inzamam and Azhar steady Pakistan

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Pakistan 456 and 182-6

South Africa 403

There was time on the last afternoon yesterday when South Africa might just have won this first Test match, but half-centuries by Inzamam-ul- Haq and Azhar Mahmood saved Pakistan from embarrassment and secured the draw.

Pakistan, with a first-innings lead of 53, collapsed to 80 for 5 but Inzamam and Azhar calmed any fears with a sixth-wicket partnership of 68 in 69 minutes. Soon after Inzamam was dismissed bad light forced an early closure with 12.2 overs remaining.

Inzamam hit a hard-hitting 56 that included 10 boundaries from 82 balls while man-of-the-match Azhar Mahmood followed up his unbeaten 128 with an unbeaten 50 to become the first Pakistani to score a century and a half century on his debut. "To be honest, both times I went to the crease, Pakistan were in trouble. But thanks God, I rose to the occasion," Azhar said.

Jacques Kallis and Pat Symcox had given South Africa a glimmer of a hope when they each took two wickets after Allan Donald had removed Saeed Anwar, but the sixth-wicket pair prevented any further drama although the South Africa captain, Hansie Cronje, dismissed Inzamam shortly before the early close.

After South Africa resumed on their 359 for 6 Mushtaq Ahmad took three of the four wickets to fall although Azhar made the initial breakthrough when he had Shaun Pollock smartly caught by the substitute wicketkeeper Mohammad Wasim for 48.

Pollock shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 106 with Dave Richardson who ran out of partners and finished on 45 not out.

Fifth day; Pakistan won toss

PAKISTAN - First innings 456 (Azhar Mahmood 128no, Ali Naqvi 115, Mushtaq Ahmad 59).

SOUTH AFRICA - First innings 403 (G Kirsten 98, J H Kallis 61, A M Bacher 50; Saqlain Mushtaq 5-129).

PAKISTAN - Second innings

*Saeed Anwar c sub b Donald 4

Ali Naqvi c Richardson b Kallis 19

Mohammad Ramazan c Cronje b Kallis 7

Ijaz Ahmad b Symcox 16

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Symcox b Cronje 56

Mohammad Wasim c Pollock

b Symcox 10

Azhar Mahmood not out 50

Moin Khan not out 6

Extras (b2 lb2 nb10) 14

Total (for 6) 182

Fall: 1-5 2-33 3-42 4-66 5-80 6-148.

Did not bat: Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed.

Bowling: Donald 11-4-25-1; Pollock 8-1-22-0 (nb7); McMillan 8-1-24-0 (nb3); Kallis 7.4-1-21-2; Symcox 16-2-56-2; Cronje 6-1-28-1, Cullinan 1-0-2-0.

Umpires: S Venkataraghavan (India) and Javed Akhtar.

Match drawn.

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