Vol. 4 Num 94 Fri. August 29, 2003  


The extreme heat in Peshawar on the second day of the second Test forced the umpires to allow two drinks breaks to be taken in each session instead of one.

The unprecedented drinks break came after 40 minutes and the second break happened 40 minutes before lunch.

The hot and humid weather was, however, not troubling any of the Bangladesh batsmen as they kept on scoring at ease.

In contrast the 'Rawalpindi Express' Shoaib Akhter had to wear an ice jacket after bowling his first spell of three overs.

The mercury is expected to go up in Multan where the third Test will be played from September 3.

According to weather reports, the humidity in Multan was 79 per cent almost 15 per cent more than what it is in Peshawar. Both cities recorded temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius yesterday.

POOR PRESS BOXThe press box at the Arbab Niaz Stadium is not at all media friendly. It is an open gallery with a few tables and chairs. And it would fair to say reporters are really facing the heat.

Although there is an overhead cover, it is not providing enough protection for those working in the cramped room. In the morning sunlight falls on the back of the reporters' heads and then in the afternoon it comes from the west.

The quality of the media support is also poor. Only three computers and just four telephones have been installed in a small room behind the press box.

When the matter was brought to the attention of Samiul Hasan, the general manager (media) of the Pakistan Cricket Board, he apologised and said it was not the PCB's fault since the stadium did not belong to them.

Currently the PCB has only three stadiums under its jurisdiction in Karachi, Multan and Lahore. The other three cricket centres in the country belong to the regional associations in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Peshawar.

NEW RECORDSWhen Javed Omar and Mohammad Ashraful shared a 130-run partnership for the third wicket, Bangladesh achieved two new records.

It was the highest for Bangladesh bettering the previous record of 84 runs which was set by Javed and Aminul Islam against Zimbabwe in 2001.

Also it was the time in Bangladesh's Test history that two century partnerships were made in the same match. Javed was also instrumental in the 167-run second wicket partnership with Habibul Bashar on the first day.

TIFFIN RETIRES FOR THE DAYUmpire Russell Tiffin became the first victim of hot and humid condition at the Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar yesterday.

It happened 15 minutes before Bangladesh were bowled out when the Zimbabwean left the ground suffering from dehydration after consulting with match referee Mike Proctor of South Africa.

Later, it was informed to the media that Tiffin was from a stomach cramp and he would not be returning to the field for the rest of the day.

TV umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan stood in place of Tiffin while Iqbal Butt, who is the reserve umpire, sat in front of the television.

SHOAIB ALWAYS KNEW ITShoaib Akhtar always believed that he would be able to get around four to five wickets and in one spell to bring Pakistan back into the match.

The fast bowler from Rawalpindi revealed this after taking six wickets to wrap up the Bangladesh innings from 302-2 to 361 all out.

But he also blamed the wicket for not assisting him.

"This is a typical Pakistani wicket where you never expect anything for a bowler. But in my third spell I I bowled really fast today and that helped me to succeed in the post-lunch session," he said adding that it could have happened against any country.

"Not only the pitch, the extreme temperature never allowed me to bowl more than four overs in one spell," said Shoaib.

He also praised Bangladesh for their improved batting saying it was a different team than what he saw three years ago.

"Bangladesh looks like a very competitive team now. They have learned a lot in the last three years."

When asked which wicket gave him the most satisfaction, Shoaib initially said that every wicket was good on this dead track. But at the end he admitted that Javed Omar's wicket one pleased him the most.