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'Yuvraj's knock was tremendous'

December 08, 2007 19:24 IST

Pakistan's debutant fast bowler Yasir Arafat hailed India left-hander Yuvraj Singh for his smashing century in the third Test in Bangalore on Saturday.

"He's a very talented cricketer. Everyone's seen him playing before. The way he played us was tremendous," Arafat said referring to Yuvraj's blazing knock of 169 on the opening day.

Arafat had given the visitors a good start in the match with a three-wicket burst in the morning session. He claimed the wickets of Rahul Dravid (19), Wasim Jaffer (17) and VVS Laxman (5) as India were reduced to 61 for 4.

"Early on the pitch was supporting the fast bowlers. Wanted to bowl on and outside off. I got wickets because of that. My coach and captain had told me to keep it accurate. It's a five-day game and it's a long time. So I just did that. There was no swing," he said.

"The pitch was helping early on. If you hit the good areas, there was help. After lunch it became a good wicket and was playing very easy," he added.

The 25-year-old was a surprise inclusion in the Pakistan Test squad after regular pacer Umar Gul was ruled out of the tour with injury. And even Arafat said he was surprised with the call-up to the Test squad.

"I was playing domestic cricket in Pakistan . I didn't think I will be called up. People consider me as an all-rounder suited to one-dayers. I was surprised I got a call up. Now that I've got a chance, I'll try to do well in Tests," Arafat said.

The visitors were dealt a severe blow when lead bowler Shoaib Akhtar bowled just 10 overs before he went off the field because off a back strain.

"Shoaib's presence obviously his presence makes a difference. Lot of quick runs were scored. It is a credit to the Indian batsmen, who played so well. We'll try to get them out quickly tomorrow," Arafat said.

He also rued that Pakistan had let the advantage slip and allowed India to gain the upperhand.

"It was very frustrating for me and for the team to see India recover. But all credit goes to their batsmen," the pacer said.

Arafat said there no nerves playing his debut Test and said getting early wickets helped him settle down.

"The plan was to play and perform. But I didn't think I'll get such important wickets so early. There was some help early on and it helped me," the 25-year-old said.

Harish Kotian in Bangalore