Lara seeks further improvement in Karachi

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:West Indies hope to turn the corner and end a run of poor Test performances when they meet Pakistan in the third and final Test on Monday.

Trailing 1-0 in the series, West Indies dominated the high-scoring drawn second Test in Multan with their pacemen bowling with enough penetration and genuine speed to make their captain optimistic about the final Test.

''I thought we played a tough match and were in control for most of it. We were aiming for a win in Multan and we will do that again in the final Test,'' skipper Brian Lara said.

West Indies, who have lost 16 of their last 24 Tests since a home series win over Bangladesh in May, 2004, secured only their second draw in their last 13 Tests overseas.

While Lara was in sparkling form with 216 robust runs, quick bowlers Jerome Taylor, Corey Collymore and Daren Powell troubled all the home batsmen despite Mohammad Yousuf making a match-saving 193 in the second innings.

In Karachi the visiting pace attack will have something to cheer about as historically the pitch at the National stadium is hard and assists sideways movement.

''The surface is hard and we have left some grass on it. It should be an even contest between bat and ball,'' chief curator Ehsan Arian told Reuters.

The last Test played at this venue earlier this year saw Indian southpaw Irfan Pathan taking a first over hat-trick and Pakistan's Mohammad Asif taking seven wickets in the match to steer Pakistan to a 341-run win.

The West Indian skipper said he was looking for the same consistent performance from his team as in Multan.

''We need to continue to play hard and try to keep the pressure on Pakistan when we get the opportunity. They have always been a hard side to beat at home,'' Lara said.

The visitors dropped several crucial catches in the first two Tests including at least four chances to the in-form Yousuf, who needs 149 runs in Karachi to surpass the record of 1710 runs in a calendar year set by Vivian Richards in 1976.

Yousuf has accumulated 1562 in 10 matches with seven hundreds.

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq said he was looking for more consistency from his team.

''We fought back well in the second Test as we were under a lot of pressure on the last two days. But it shows there is a lot of fighting spirit in the side,'' He said.

Pakistan has recalled fast bowler Mohammad Sami despite his career average of more than 48.

''Sami is under consideration because he has experience and pace,'' Inzamam said.

Pakistan has three other pacemen in their Test squad; Umar Gul, Shahid Nazir and uncapped Samiullah Niazi.

Teams (from):

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (Capt), Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Faisal Iqbal, Umar Gul, Shahid Nazir, Samiullah Niazi, Mohammad Sami, Danish Kaneria.

West Indies: Brian Lara (Capt), Chris Gayle, Daren Ganga, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Runako Morton, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, Dave Mohammed, Dwayne Bravo, Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Omari Banks.


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