Cricket: Australia mystified by Saqlain

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The Independent Online
Pakistan 222 and 61-1 Australia 246

SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ gave Shane Warne a taste of his own medicine when he dismissed the Australian leg-spinner for a first-ball duck with an almost unplayable delivery, as Pakistan fought back on the second day of the second Test at the Bellerive Oval.

The Pakistani off-spinner finished with career-best figures of 6 for 46, tormenting Australia with a wonderful spell of bowling, including three wickets in one over. It saw Australia lose their last nine wickets for 55 runs, slumping to 246 all out.

Saqlain said his most enjoyable moment was bowling Warne with what he calls his "mystery" ball, the same delivery that he has used to dismiss India's batting master Sachin Tendulkar three times.

Saqlain is unique among off-spinners in that he can also bowl leg-breaks by screwing the ball with a basic finger-spinner's action, turning it away from the right-hander. He has now perfected it to the point where even the world's top batsmen struggle to play it effectively.

Saqlain also dismissed Justin Langer for 59 then cleaned up Adam Gilchrist (6) and Warne in successive balls. He almost claimed a hat-trick when Moin Khan stumped Damien Fleming first ball, but the batsman was given the benefit of the doubt by the third umpire.

Saqlain got Fleming four balls later when he trapped him leg before with a top spinner of some velocity. He then finished off the Australian innings when Moin stumped Glenn McGrath.

Second day of five; Australia won toss

PAKISTAN - First innings 222 (Mohammad Wasim 91)

AUSTRALIA - First innings

(Overnight: 29 for 0)

M J Slater c Ijaz b Saqlain 97

G S Blewett c Moin Khan b Azhar 35

J L Langer c Mohammad b Saqlain 59

M E Waugh lbw b Waqar 5

*S R Waugh c Ijaz b Wasim 24

R T Ponting b Waqar 0

A C Gilchrist st Moin Khan b Saqlain 6

S K Warne b Saqlain 0

D W Fleming lbw b Saqlain 0

G D McGrath st Moin Khan b Saqlain 7

S A Muller not out 0

Extras (2b, 6lb, 5nb) 13

Total (80 overs) 246

Fall: 1-76, 2-191, 3-206, 4-206, 5-213, 6-236, 7-236, 8-236, 9-246.

Bowling: Wasim Akram 20-4-51-1; Shoaib Akhtar 17-2-69-0; Waqar Younis 12-1-42-2; Saqlain Mushtaq 24-8-46-6; Azhar Mahmood 7-1-30-1.

PAKISTAN - Second innings

Saeed Anwar not out 36

Mohammad Wasim c McGrath b Muller 20

Saqlain Mushtaq not out 0

Extras (2lb, 1w, 2nb) 5

Total (for 1, 24 overs) 61

Fall: 1-50.

To bat: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Ijaz Ahmed, Azhar Mahmood, *Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar.

Bowling: McGrath 6-2-14-0; Fleming 5-2-11-0; Muller 6-2-12-1; Warne 7- 1-22-0.

Umpires: P D Parker and P Willey (Eng).

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