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Headingley Test: Pak win three-ler against Australia

Headingley: Pakistan scrambled the 40 runs they required to beat Australia in a Test for the first time in 15 years on Saturday, winning the second Test at Headingley by three wickets to draw the series 1-1.

Pakistan, chasing 180, lost four wickets on a sunny morning in what was expected to be a comfortable run chase but was eventually far from it as a resilient Australia went on the attack. Umar Gul scored the winning run with a drive through cover off Mitchell Johnson.

They made the runs with seven wickets down to deny Australia an eighth straight Test win. Australia won the first match at Lord’s by 150 runs, also inside four days.

The Pakistan team took a lap of honour around the sparsely-attended ground in what was Salman Butt’s first Test as captain, as a smattering of vocal Pakistanis cheered them.

“Honestly, it was a bit nerve-racking but that’s the way cricket goes. When you have this added responsbility (as captain) you think a bit more. But thankfully we got it won positively and it ended easily for us,” Butt said.

Number eight and man of the match Mohammad Aamer had five and Gul one, as Pakistan got home despite the late wobble that saw the loss of six batsmen for 42 runs. Left-arm pace bowler Doug Bollinger made a late impression on the series with three for 51. Ben Hilfenhaus claimed three for 39.

Kamran Akmal scored 13 and calmed the nerves with three late boundaries - a cover drive off Bollinger to reduce the target to 15, an edge to third man off Hilfenhaus to take the target to 10, and a more convincing push through cover in the same over to leave six runs needed.

Akmal survived a scare with five runs needed when he square cut Johnson to Mike Hussey at gully. The fielder claimed the catch and the fielders celebrated but Akmal stood his ground. After a third umpire review as to whether the shot was grassed, Akmal was reprieved.

Once Aamer edged Hilfenhaus through the slips for another boundary to leave one for victory, the result was as good as sealed.

There was time for one last blip though when Hussey did catch Akmal in Johnson’s next over with a flying leap to his left to leave Gul the task of finishing off the game.

Australia struck early with the wicket of Azhar Ali (51), caught behind off Bollinger to the tenth ball of the morning.

Overnight batsman Umar Akmal (8), usually aggressive in his approach, pushed at a Hilfenhaus ball outside off stump and gave Tim Paine his third catch. That was 150 for five.

It could have been 156 for six if Michael Clarke had not dropped Malik (on four), diving to his right at second slip off Bollinger. But Malik did not remain for long, clouting a half-volley from Hilfenhaus straight to Marcus North at short extra cover.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said his side were up against it from the moment they collapsed to 88 all out in their first innings.

“It wasn’t only the batting, the bowling was also off at different times. It just highlights that we’ve got some work to do I guess,” he said.

“We were definitely playing catch-up from day one but by day three I felt the momentum was coming back in our favour. 180 was a tough chase, but we were chasing our tails from the first day.”

Bureau Report

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