Cricket

Fans party in Pakistan

2010-07-24 17:36
Umur Gul (AP)

Islamabad - Cricket fans took to the streets in Pakistan on Saturday to celebrate their side's first Test victory over Australia in 15 years, after a tense fourth-day finish at Headingley.

Hundreds of jubilant fans danced in the streets in major cities around the country, playing drums and handing round sweets to celebrate as Umar Gul hit the winning runs.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the team on the historic win and said they hoped the side would continue to play with the same spirit.

Pakistan started the day on 140 for three, chasing a modest 180 to win, but lost four wickets for 40 runs to set up a nailbiting finish, eventually holding on to win by three wickets and level the two-Test series.

"We are really happy, the team has done a marvellous job," Hammad Khan, a young fan told AFP in the northwest city of Peshawar.

In eastern city of Lahore, hundreds of young fans came out into the streets chanting: "Long live Pakistan".

Private and state-run television stations broadcast the final overs live, and roads in cities around the country had a deserted look as people watched the climax of the game.

Muhammad Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, announced a 500,000-rupee (6,000-dollar) win bonus for the players, state-run news agency APP reported.

The heads of all the major political parties and chief ministers of all four provinces also congratulated the team.

"It was an exciting win. Pakistan cricket team is one of the best in the world," Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of the southern Sindh province said.

Left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer was five not out and Umar Gul, who hit the winning run off Mitchell Johnson, one not out as Pakistan ended a run of 13 straight Test defeats by Australia - a record for one country against another.

The two-Test series was played in England after international cricket in Pakistan was effectively suspended following an armed attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore in March last year.

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