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Relieved Moin shows his worth to Pak

Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan played the innings of his life on Monday to lead his side to safety in the first Test against New Zealand.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2003 14:30 IST

Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan played the innings of his life on Monday to lead his side to safety in the first test against New Zealand.

Moin hit a glorious 137 and figured in a seventh wicket partnership with fast bowler Mohammad Sami of 152 on the fourth day.

His last test hundred was in 1996 against England at Headingley. Monday's century scotched New Zealand's plans of forcing the follow-on and probably saved the match for the tourists.

"I was out of the game for so long I was really looking forward to a big innings and it was important today," Moin said.

He played against South Africa in two tests recently, but before that his last test was the second against New Zealand in March 2001 in Christchurch.

Moin, who was the captain on that tour, missed the third test in that series in Hamilton on a green top which Pakistan lost heavily, because of a knee injury and lost the 'keeping berth to Rashid Latif.

"I was always hoping to get a way back into the test team, so I kept myself fit and continued to play domestic cricket," said Moin.

To get a winner on the final day on Tuesday, New Zealand, with an overnight lead of 104 after batting for two overs to be four without loss at stumps, would need to set Pakistan a target and then try to bowl them out.

TUFFEY BURST

But home captain Stephen Fleming will naturally be mindful of the explosive batsmen Pakistan possess.

Moin was all action during his 174-ball innings, deciding aggression and positive batting was the key to reaching the follow-on target of 364.

Moin said the ball was coming on to the bat well on Monday. "It was quite easy to bat because it was such a good pitch and I was getting tips from the captain and the coach while I was batting."

New Zealand's Daryl Tuffey finished with five for 87, his second five-wicket bag in tests.

"The new ball was doing a bit and it gave me a new burst of energy," Tuffey said.

The big medium fast bowler said New Zealand bowled well as a unit, but allowed too many boundaries. "In that respect we were pretty disappointed, but all-in-all I think we did pretty well on an unresponsive wicket."

First Published: Dec 22, 2003 14:30 IST