Cricket: Azhar makes all the right moves

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PAKISTAN completed a 29-run victory over South Africa in Durban yesterday on the fifth day of the second Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series, with the third Test starting in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Resuming at 186 for 8 and needing 255 to win, Mark Boucher and Fanie de Villiers took their ninth-wicket stand to 86 before Boucher was bowled by Waqar Younis. The pair added 33 runs in seven overs, with Boucher scoring 52 in 128 minutes off 100 balls with seven fours.

Although the second new ball was due at the start of play, Pakistan elected to continue with the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who had wrecked the South African top order on Sunday. Two balls after Boucher reached his fifty, he was bowled when he missed a drive against a full-pitched delivery. Allan Donald was sent in but was trapped lbw in Waqar's next over.

South Africa were all out for 225, with De Villiers having made 46 not out in 103 minutes off 67 balls with six fours.

Pakistan fully deserved their triumph, having bowled and fielded superbly while the South Africa selectors were left to rue their decision to go into the match without a spin bowler and to send Pakistan in to bat after winning the toss.

The pitch did not help the fast bowlers as much as the South Africans had hoped. The coach, Bob Woolmer, defended the decision to leave out the spinner Pat Symcox, who made a century batting at no 10 in the first Test in Johannesburg. "The bottom line is that our batsmen did not make enough runs," said Woolmer.

Azhar Mahmood rescued Pakistan from their precarious early position with a scintillating innings of 132, more than half his side's first-innings total of 259. The opener, Saeed Anwar, made 118 in the second innings as the team reached 226 and Shoaib Akhtar produced a devastating spell of bowling in the first innings, taking 5 for 43, while Mushtaq Ahmed set up Pakistan's win in the final innings, taking six of the first eight wickets for 39 runs. Mushtaq finished with figures of 6 for 78.