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Shoaib set to return from suspension

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will return to the Pakistan side for the third one-day international against New Zealand on Wednesday.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2003 15:42 IST

New Zealand's chances of saving the five-match one-day series against Pakistan, who are currently leading 2-0, fell further Tuesday with the news that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was rejoining the Pakistani side.

"We are going for a clean sweep and Shoaib's return will definitely bolster our attack with Sami already firing on all cylinders," said captain Inzamam-ul Haq, who missed the second match due to bad throat.

The Black Caps, touring Pakistan to complete a series abandoned in May 2002 after a devastating suicide bomb attack outside their hotel, were decimated in the second match Monday by fast bowler Mohammad Sami.

Sami took a career-best 5 for 10 to give Pakistan a comprehensive 124-run victory. In the first match in Lahore, Pakistan had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to a blazing 47 not out by allrounder Abdul Razzaq.

The third match will be played in the eastern industrial city Faisalabad on Wednesday.

Shoaib, nicknamed the 'Rawalpindi Express' for the speed of his bowling, missed the first two matches due to a ban for using abusive language against South African tailender Paul Adams in October.

New Zealand, already missing captain Stephen Fleming and seven other key players, will be further weakened by the absence of Jacob Oram, who suffered a side strain in the second match.

Fellow allrounder Chris Harris will step in for Oram.

Captain Chris Cairns said his team was outplayed in the second game.

"We played well in the first game but the second one was more disappointing than the first match because we were just outplayed," he said.

Cairns was run out for 29, triggering a middle-order collapse which saw his team lose six wickets for two runs.

"Losing all those wickets was inexplicable, but having said that Sami is a good performer, they were his conditions and he blew us away."

He dismissed any prospects of a 5-0 whitewash by the home side.

"I'm not even contemplating that yet to be honest. We're still in the series and while we're 2-0 down we can still win it."

"That has to be the focus. I don't walk out there thinking about anything other than winning."

New Zealand (from): Chris Cairns (captain), Tama Canning, Craig Cumming, Chris Harris, Paul Hitchcock, Richard Jones, Hamish Marshall, Brendon McCullum, Mathew Sinclair, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Matthew Walker, Kerry Walmsley, Michael Mason.

Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Moin Khan, Danish Kaneria, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umer Gul.

Umpires: David Orchard (RSA) and Aleem Dar (PAK).

TV umpire: Nadeem Ghauri (PAK).

Match referee: Denis Lindsay (RSA).

First Published: Dec 02, 2003 13:39 IST