Skipper Butt credits pace trio for historic win

Headingley: Pakistan ended their 15-year wait for a Test win over Australia on Saturday, a feat captain Salman Butt put down to having possibly the best pace attack in the world.

Pakistan, chasing 180 to win the second Test, stuttered to a three-wicket victory on Butt`s debut as captain to draw the series 1-1. Australia were on the backfoot from the opening day when they were skittled for just 88.

Pace trio Mohammad Asif (11 wickets), Mohammad Aamer (11) and Umar Gul (8) claimed a collective 30 wickets in the two-Test series.

"I feel very fortunate to have them in my team," said Butt, speaking at a press conference as horns were sounded by jubilant Pakistan fans on an adjacent road. "If they are not the world`s best then they are amongst the world`s top two or three.

"Mohammad Aamer is definitely amongst the world`s best fast bowlers. And Mohammad Asif with the new ball is the best fast bowler I`ve seen for a long time, probably since Glenn McGrath."

They pressurised the Australian batsmen in both Tests and not one Australian managed to reach three figures in a series where the ball moved prodigiously in the air in largely overcast conditions.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said it was the most challenging conditions his team had ever faced.

"I said before the tour that their group of bowlers are perfectly suited to English conditions," he told reporters. "Asif moved the ball around and was the hardest one to score off in both games and boundaries were hard to find.

"Aamer continues to improve and has not only got pace up his sleeve but he seems to think about the game as well. You know what you are going get with Gul and they have a world-class leg-spinner in (Danish) Kaneria."

While Australia have a two-Test series in India in October, before a much-anticipated Ashes series at home, Pakistan will now face England on a high at Trent Bridge this week.

Butt had encouraging words for his new, young team and feels they should be persisted with. Numbers three and four batsmen Azhar Ali and Umar Amin were debutants in the first Test at Lord`s while Aamer is still only 18.

"I can`t predict what is going to happen (in the England series), but so far they have done a wonderful job," Butt added. "I hope they continue to learn and that this win doesn`t get into their heads.

"We have to work harder because we know we will make mistakes. They are pretty young, they are raw. But we have to back them when they make mistakes. This is important to build a side."

Bureau Report


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