Asif strikes early as Pakistan sense victory at The Oval

asif

Pakistan remained within striking distance of thrashing England despite wet weather halting their march towards a face-saving win here at The Oval on the third day of the fourth Test on Saturday.

On another rain-hit day, Pakistan added 168 to their overnight total of 336-3 for a daunting lead of 331 and then young pacer Mohammad Asif returned to haunt the English batsmen in the final session of the day.

Asif added to his four-wicket haul in the first innings the scalp of a struggling Marcus Trescothick in the third over to give Pakistan a perfect start.

England were later 78-1 with Andrew Strauss (37) and Alastair Cook (33) on the crease, still 253 runs behind Pakistan when play was called off for the day because of bad light.

A determined display from Faisal Iqbal (58 not out) enabled Pakistan to post a sizeable lead as Steve Harmison regained his golden form to bring an end to the Pakistani innings earlier than expected.

Branded as ‘Harmlesson’ by a British newspaper on Saturday for his lacklustre showing earlier in the Pakistani innings, Steve Harmison silenced his critics by notching four of Pakistan’s last seven wickets but it was too little too late.

By then Pakistan had accumulated 504 runs for a 331-run lead and with two more days to go only rain or a miracle could save the home from its first defeat in the four-match series they lead 2-0.

Mohammad Yousuf top scored with 128 in a Pakistani innings that mostly revolved around him with valuable support coming on the third day from Inzamam-ul-Haq (31) and Faisal.

It was evident from the very on set that it would be a day governed by the weather. Pakistan resumed at 336-3 with their big two — Yousuf (112) and Inzamam (2) — looking to stretch Pakistan’s overnight lead of 163 to somewhere near 350.

Their plans were cut short by a quick shower that stopped play just after five overs. When the players returned to the field, ten overs were already lost.

Yousuf was content with allowing his captain face the bulk of the deliveries and Pakistan inched towards consolidation.

A stop-start day was the only thing that was to really worry Pakistan as the English attack that had threatened them a lot previously in the series appeared toothless.

Inzamam scored a few effortless boundaries to help Pakistan to 369-3 before play was stopped against minutes before the lunch schedule.

Pakistan added ten more runs after lunch before losing Inzamam, who edged a Harmison lifter to the second slip where Strauss held on to a chest high catch. Inzamam’s cameo of 31 came off 62 balls and included five balls. He added 54 with Yousuf for the fourth wicket.

Yousuf, who was unable to cope with the regular stoppages and looked a shadow of his usual self, followed him in the next over. He thin edged a Hoggard delivery into the safe hands of Chris Read and suddenly Pakistan’s plans of a 350-run lead seemed in danger. Yousuf went for 128 after batting for five hours and facing 236 balls. He hit 18 fours but most of them came before Saturday. He faced 45 balls during the day with just six scoring shots.

Yousuf’s third ton of the tour took his tally to 631 runs in the series at a splendid average of 90.14. It also helped him surpass Indian skipper Rahul Dravid as the highest scorer in 2006 with 1123 runs.

Kamran Akmal began positively with three fours before becoming Harmison’s second victim for 15, thin edging one to the slip where Paul Collingwood took a low catch.

The tail continued to chip in with some useful contributions as Faisal stayed on the wicket to gather a sizeable lead. Shahid Nazir exhibited his batting talent in a 31-ball 17 that included two fours and a six. He fell to Sajid Mahmood while attempting a hook.

Umar Gul hit Panesar for a towering six before departing for 13 before Kaneria joined Faisal to add some more to the total. The leggie, not known for his batting prowess, scored 15 before Harmison removed him and later Mohammad Asif (0) to fold the Pakistani innings 504 from 129.5 overs. Faisal, unable to impress much previously on this tour, finally found some form and was unbeaten on 58 that came off 90 balls and was punctuated by eight fours.

Harmison, who now has 20 wickets in the series, was the most successful bowler with 4-125 from 30.5 overs while Hoggard picked up 3-124 from 34. Sajid Mahmood managed a two-wicket haul while Monty Panesar took one for 103.

Scoreboard

Pakistan won toss

England 1st inns 173 (A N Cook 40; Mohammad Asif 4-56, Umar Gul 4-46)

Pakistan 1st inns (overnight 336-3)

Mohammad Hafeez c Strauss b Hoggard 95

Imran Farhat c Trescothick b Hoggard 91

Younis Khan c Read b Mahmood 9

Mohammad Yousuf c Read b Hoggard 128

*Inzamam-ul-Haq c Strauss b Harmison 31

Faisal Iqbal not out 58

†Kamran Akmal c Collingwood b Harmison 15

Shahid Nazir c Hoggard b Mahmood 17

Umar Gul lbw b Panesar 13

Danish Kaneria c Trescothick b Harmison 15

Mohammad Asif c Cook b Harmison 0

Extras (b4, lb9, w11, nb8) 32

Total (all out, 129.5 overs) 504

Fall: 1-70, 2-148, 3-325, 4-379, 5-381, 6-398, 7-444, 8-475, 9-504

Bowling: Hoggard 34-2-124-3 (6nb); Harmison 30.5-6-125-4 (1nb, 3w); Mahmood 27-3-101-2 (1nb); Panesar 30-6-103-1; Collingwood 6-0-29-0; Pietersen 2-0-9-0

England 2nd inns

M E Trescothick c Kamran b Asif 4

*A J Strauss not out 37

A N Cook not out 33

Extras (lb2, nb2) 4

Total (one wkt, 18 overs) 78

To bat: K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, I R Bell, †C M W Read, S I Mahmood, M J Hoggard, S J Harmison, M S Panesar

Fall: 1-8

Bowling: Mohammad Asif 9-1-40-1 (2nb); Umar Gul 5-0-25-0; Mohammad Hafeez 1-1-0-0; Danish Kaneria 3-0-11-0

Series: England leads the 4-Test series 2-0

Umpires: B R Doctrove (West Indies) and D B Hair (Australia). TV umpire: P J Hartley. Match referee: M J Procter (South Africa)

Note: Mohammad Hafeez retired hurt on 8* from 35-0 (7.6 overs) to 148-2 (31.3)

Previous matches: July 13-17 1st Test Lord’s, match drawn. July 27-29 2nd Test Manchester, England won by an innings and 120 runs. August 4-8 3rd Test Leeds, England won by 167 runs
Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on August 20th, 2006 with no comments.
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