Yuvraj's defiant century fails to stop Pakistan's series triumph

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The Independent Online

Pakistan crushed India by 341 runs on the fourth day of the third and final Test here yesterday, despite a defiant century by Yuvraj Singh, to win the series 1-0. Set a victory target of 607, India were bowled out for 265 in just 58.4 overs to hand Pakistan their first series win over India since 1987.

Following drawn matches in Lahore and Faisalabad, the hosts recovered from a first-over Irfan Pathan hat-trick and 36 for 6 on the opening morning to gain their second series triumph in a row after a 2-0 home win over England at the end of 2005.

The Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who missed the final Test with a back injury, was delighted with his team's recovery. "It shows that we are now playing as a team, and the absence of one player should not make a difference," he said. "After the criticism we got after the first two Tests were drawn, I am happy the bowlers responded so well on this track."

Pakistan declared an hour before lunch on 599 for 7, and their pacemen Mohammad Asif (3 for 48) and Abdul Razzaq (4 for 88) combined to run through the Indian order in less than three sessions. After Shoaib Akhtar had the captain Rahul Dravid (2) caught behind in the first over, Asif bowled Virender Sehwag (4), VVS Laxman (21) and Sachin Tendulkar (23) in quick succession. Razzaq decimated the middle order despite a 103-run stand between Yuvraj and the former captain Sourav Ganguly (37).

Yuvraj reached his second Test hundred from 126 balls with 17 fours and was the last man out for 122, caught behind off Razzaq's bowling. Razzaq also dismissed Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) and Pathan (4) while Danish Kaneria chipped in with the wickets of Anil Kumble (5) and Zaheer Khan (17).

"We won the first hour of the game, but it was their game all the way after that," India's captain, Rahul Dravid, said. "Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq set them up pretty well with their [115-run] partnership after they were six wickets down. I think losing quick wickets to the new ball in both innings was the key."

The Pakistan batsman and stand-in captain for the final Test, Younis Khan, was named man of the series after making 199 in the first Test and scores of 83 and 194 in Faisalabad. Younis's series ended with a second-innings 77 in Karachi. He made 553 runs in the series.

The teams will now play a five-match one-day series starting in Peshawar on 6 February.