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Inzamam century puts Pakistan in control

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    Inzamam century puts Pakistan in control

    By Julian Linden

    Inzamam-ul-Haq scored a brilliant unbeaten century to put Pakistan in the driving seat on the third day of the second cricket test against Australia at Hobart's Bellerive Oval on Saturday.

    The shy, 29-year-old middle-order batsman made 116 not out as Pakistan piled on the runs to reach 351 for seven in their second innings for an overall lead of 327 with two days to go.

    Pakistan need to win the match to square the three-match series after losing the first test in Brisbane by 10 wickets.

    The only time Australia have successfully chased more to win a home test was in 1977-78 when they made 342 batting fourth against India in Perth.

    "We haven't been in this sort of position for quite a while so it will be a good test for our batters," Australian vice-captain Shane Warne said.

    "They scored a lot more than we would have wanted them to but we're still very confident because it's such a good batting wicket."

    Inzamam came to the crease before lunch with Pakistan on 122-3 after the Australians, who led by 24 on the first innings, had picked up the wickets of nightwatchman Saqlain Mushtaq for eight and opener Saeed Anwar for 78.

    Inzamam began cautiously but soon found his rhythm on a flat track ideal for batting, swinging the game the tourists' way with a masterly display.

    RELIEF AND ELATION

    He passed 50 after lunch then brought up his first test hundred against Australia, and his eighth overall, 40 minutes before stumps when he worked Warne through mid-wicket for two runs, raising his bat in the air as much in relief as elation.

    He finished the day undefeated after an innings spanning 272 minutes and 186 balls and featuring 12 fours.

    "I rate this hundred as one of my best because it has given the team a good chance to win," Inzamamm said.

    "Pakistan have never won a series in Australia and we want to be a part of history. Hopefully my hundred will help contribute to that."

    Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed also scored half-centuries on a day in which the bat reigned supreme.

    Anwar departed for 78, bowled by a superb Warne delivery that pitched outside off stump and spun back onto his leg stump.

    Warne also dismissed Saqlain, who took six for 46 on Friday, trapped leg before wicket with a top spinner before lunch.

    An identical ball after tea sent Azhar Mahmood back to the pavilion on 28.

    "I think that's the best I've bowled since I came back to test cricket after my (shoulder) injury," Warne said.

    Damien Fleming snared Yousuf Youhana for two, caught by Ricky Ponting, and Moin Khan for six, caught by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. Glenn McGrath picked up Ijaz for 82 when he fended off a ball to Steve Waugh in the gully.

    But the day undoubtedly belonged to Inzamam. The stocky number four batsman had previously made six half-centuries against the Australians, including 97 in Peshawar last year and 88 in Brisbane earlier this month, but had never made it to triple figures before Saturday.

    Inzamam said he worked hard on his fitness over the past 12 months, trimming down from a hefty 100kg to 93kg, and is starting reap the rewards although he prefers to remain as one of the unsung heroes of the team.

    "Yes, I am very shy," he whispered. "I like to keep a low profile, even in my own home."

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