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India Defeats Pakistan in Historic Cricket Series - 2004-04-16

India has defeated Pakistan in an historic cricket series, played on Pakistani soil after a gap of nearly 15 years. The competition is important for relations between the rival countries.

India's victory Friday marked the first time it has won a multi-day cricket match, or "test match" series, in Pakistan. The result left India the sole winner in the tournament, having earlier defeated the Pakistanis in a group of one-day contests.

Cricket experts, such as former Pakistani team captain Zaheer Abbas, say India simply out-performed Pakistan's team.

?Their fielding was superb. Their batting was superb. They have bowled very well,? he said. ?They came with a plan, they played according to their plan, and no doubt, India is a much better side than Pakistan.?

Some Pakistani fans, however, claim that their team held back during the test portion of the series.

They cite the case of top bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who did not play on the final match's third day due to a reported injury, but then returned to the pitch with no problem the following day.

Regardless of the actual results, Mr. Abbas says the matches will further improve relations between India and Pakistan.

?It will help. You see, there was a lot of exchange of people coming into the country from one country to another country, and that makes the friendly atmosphere,? Mr. Abbas said.

More than 8,000 Indian fans came to Pakistan to watch the matches.

Previously, tense relations between the neighboring countries have prevented such a large influx of visitors from either side.

Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They came close to another war two years ago.

Tensions have eased in the past 12 months, with both countries resuming official talks aimed at settling their differences, including the Kashmir region - which both sides claim.