Cricket: Anwar secures Pakistan's day

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AN UNBEATEN 132 by Saeed Anwar lifted Pakistan from a disastrous start yesterday to a respectable 253 for 8 against Australia on the first day of the first Test in Rawalpindi.

When bad light stopped play five overs early, the opener Anwar and Mushtaq Ahmed had shored up the innings with an unbroken 106-run stand, a Test record for the ninth wicket for Pakistan against Australia. It was Anwar's first hundred against Australia, taking 265 minutes and 180 balls. At the close, Mushtaq was on 26 garnered over 127 minutes of resistance.

Ian Healy, Australia's wicket-keeper, equalled his predecessor Rodney Marsh's world record tally of 355 victims when he caught Mohammad Wasim off Damien Fleming, his second catch of the morning session.

Pakistan chose to bat but collapsed to 50 for 4 as Glenn McGrath and Fleming bowled with nagging accuracy. After lunch, the leg-spinner Stuart MacGill further dented Pakistan, taking four wickets, three of them in seven balls. Pakistan, who had resumed at 78 for 4, found themselves at 147 for 8 after MacGill's fourth strike.

First to go was Azhar Mahmood, who mistimed his shot and offered a catch to Glenn McGrath at mid-off with his score on 16. Moin Khan shared a useful sixth-wicket stand of 59 with Anwar, before he too was dismissed by MacGill. Three balls later Wasim Akram went for a wild sweep and was caught by Fleming for nought. Mohammad Hussain survived a confident appeal for caught at the wicket off the leg-spinner but was bowled the following ball for one.

In the last session, Pakistan made a recovery. Anwar delighted the crowd with crisp cutting and driving and found in Mushtaq a stubborn partner.

Scoreboard, Digest, page 27