Sunday 13 April 2008 

Butt And Akmal Centuries Enough For Pakistan In Lahore

Pakistan 308-8 (Salman Butt 132, Kamran Akmal 100) v
Bangladesh 285-7 (Shakib Al Hasan 75, Tamim Iqbal 63)

Pakistan won by 23 runs and lead the five-match series 3-0
By Graham Wilson

Centuries from Pakistan openers Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal ensured they had enough in hand to beat Bangladesh by 23 runs in the third One Day International in Lahore, in the process taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.

Chasing 309 to win, Bangladesh closed on 285 for seven with half-centuries from Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal the highlights of their valiant effort.

Tamim lost his opening partner Shahriar Nafees (nought) early on, but forged an enterprising 90-run partnership with Aftab Ahmed (42) and he registered his half-century from 52 balls to keep Bangladesh in the game.

He was subsequently run out for 63 by Fawad Alam, the same fate befalling Mohammad Ashraful for 16 as Bangladesh threatened an all-too-familiar collapse. Aftab Ahmed was caught by Kamran Akmal off of Shoaib Malik.

However, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah (24) showed admirable fighting spirit as they added 59 for the fifth wicket but the fall of the latter, bowled by Iftikhar Anjum left Bangladesh with a mountain to climb, despite Shakib's 7th ODI half-century.

Shakib was eventually bowled by Shahid Afridi for 75 shortly after Farhad Reza (13) was stumped off of the same bowler and with those wickets any hope Bangladesh had disappeared.

A late flurry from Mashrafe Mortaza (15 not out) and Dhiman Ghosh (18 not out) entertained but they were left with too much to do.

Earlier, centuries from Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt set Pakistan on their way to a match-winning score.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat, closing on 308 for eight with openers Akmal hitting 100 and Butt 132.

Akmal smashed an 80-ball century before being bowled by Mahmudullah as he and Butt added 151 before a wicket fell. Akmal hit 16 fours and one six in his blistering assault on the Bangladesh bowlers to complete a fourth century in One Day International cricket.

Bazid Khan, back in the side after a three-year absence, marked his return with two runs before being run out by Mashrafe Mortaza after a terrible misunderstanding with Butt and Mohammad Yousuf was then stumped for the same score off of Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh rallied.

When Akmal and Butt were blazing away it looked as if various records might be at risk, but Bangladesh bowled their way back into the contest with Pakistan fading slightly in the second half of their innings.

Yousuf was followed back shortly after by the dangerous Shahid Afridi, caught by Mortaza with Shakib Al Hasan again the bowler for 13 from nine deliveries.

Butt added a half-century partnership with Shoaib Malik (33) and reached his fifth ODI century as Pakistan regrouped before the Pakistan captain was bowled by Farhad Reza in the 45th over.

Butt proceeded to pass his previous best score of 129 before Misbah-ul-Haq (ten) departed in the slog overs, caught by Abdur Razzak attempting to pull a short ball from Shahadat Hossain.

Left-hander Butt narrowly failed to carry his bat, edging Mortaza through to wicket-keeper Dhiman Ghosh with nine balls of the innings remaining. He scored 15 fours and faced 127 balls.

Mortaza took his second wicket in the same over when Sohail Tanvir was bowled for one to finish with the best figures among the bowlers of two for 47.

Then followed a vastly improved batting effort from Bangladesh, although this time Pakistan had enough in hand to see them off. The remaining two matches take place in Multan and Karachi and Bangladesh will be keen to show more of this kind of form in the dead rubbers which follow.

� Cricket World 2008