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Describing them as lifeline of Pakistani batting, South African skipper Graeme Smith said performance of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf will be key to Pakistan's performance during their tour to India.

"I think their experience on the tour to India is going to be very, very important. They are going to carry a lot of pressure," Smith said after sealing the ODI series 3-2 against Pakistan in Lahore on Monday night.

"They are two quality batsmen at the moment probably the lifeline of their batting. They control large majority of their batting," added the South African skipper.

Younis and Yousuf were the stand out batsmen for Pakistan in the Test and one-day series against the Proteas as the former scored two hundreds in the Tests and latter returned to the team with three half-centuries and a hundred in the one-day rubber.

Smith also praised the comeback performance of maverick fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who took four wickets in the final match, after serving a 13-matches international ban.

"We know what he is capable off and he showed it again against us. He is their main strike option always. He bowled well," he said.

The skipper also feels that victory in both the one-day and Test series would prove a big stepping stone to take forward the South African cricket. "It is a fabulous achievement for us to have won both trophies and the guys showed a lot of maturity on the tour. It is a huge stepping stone.

"After the World Cup, people questioned our ability to play in these conditions. This series win is a big step forward for South African cricket," he said.

Smith who himself hit form on the series said touring Pakistan was always a big challenge for any team.

"Pakistan is always a tough tour because of the outside stuff that comes with it. You look at the newspapers and you know what is going on in the country. But our security guys handled things very well and it showed in our results," he said.
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