Cricket: Salim finds right mix

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The Independent Online
AN UNBEATEN 155 by the Pakistan captain, Salim Malik, frustrated Australia's hopes of victory on the fourth day of the second Test in Rawalpindi yesterday. Forced to follow on 261 runs in arrears, Salim led the assault on the Australian bowling by hitting 27 boundaries as Pakistan reached 324 for two by the close, a lead of 63.

Salim shared a 148-run partnership with the in-form opener Saeed Anwar to steer Pakistan out of trouble. He then added another 97 runs in an unbroken stand with Aamir Sohail to ensure Australia would have to bat again.

Saeed made 75 and Aamir Sohail, whose innings was interrupted when he was forced to retire hurt after being hit in the mouth by a ball from Mark Waugh, finished the day unbeaten on 72. Mark Waugh claimed the only two wickets to fall, having Zahid Fazal caught by the wicketkeeper Ian Healy after scoring only one, and then dismissing Saeed in similar fashion with the first ball after tea.

But the day belonged to Salim. Dropped by the opposing captain, Mark Taylor, in the slips when he had scored 20, Salim went on to hit 76 of his first 100 runs in boundaries. Altogether he batted for 259 minutes and faced 204 balls and afterwards described it as the best century of his career.

Salim went to the crease with Pakistan still deep in trouble at 79 for one and Aamir Sohail off the field having four stitches inserted in a cut lip. 'The circumstances under which I came in required me to be patient and score as well,' he said. 'I'm glad I succeeded.'

Saeed gave him superb support, eschewing his normal aggressive game until he was tempted into a full-blooded drive to a widish delivery from Mark Waugh and edged a catch to Healy. But Salim continued to bat superbly, mixing attack with sensible defence. 'If we are able to play like that tomorrow, we might be in a position to give Australia a score to chase for,' an optimistic Salim said. 'But saving the match will be our first priority.'

Pakistan lead the three- Test series 1-0.

(Fourth day; Pakistan won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 521 for 9 dec (M J Slater 110, S R Waugh 98, M G Bevan 70, M A Taylor 69, M E Waugh 68, I A Healy 58).

PAKISTAN - First Innings 260 (Aamir Sohail 80; C J McDermott 4-74, D W Fleming 4-75).

PAKISTAN - Second Innings

(Overnight: 28 for 0)

Saeed Anwar c Healy b M Waugh75

Aamir Sohail not out72

Zahid Fazal c Healy b M Waugh1

* Salim Malik not out155

Extras (b13 lb5 nb2 w1)21

Total (for 2, 90 overs)324

To bat: Aamir Malik, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohsin Kamal.

Fall: 1-79 2-227.

Bowling (to date): McDermott 20-3-45-0; Fleming 15-2-49-0; Angel 16-0-77-0; M Waugh 11-1-48-2; Warne 17-5-42-0; Bevan 4-0-27-0; S Waugh 7-2-18-0.