Big guns Shoaib, Asif restrict England to 202
Shoaib Akhtar almost erased doubts over his fitness when he took three wickets to help Pakistan skittle out England for 202 runs in the first One-day International at the windswept Sophia Gardens on Wednesday.
On a cold and cloudy day, Shoaib ended with figures of 3-45 in ten overs after limping out of field following his first spell of 0-13 from four overs.
The star speedster helped Pakistan wrap up the England innings after young medium pacer Mohammad Asif (3-28) did the initial damage with a three-wicket haul from his first spell.
Asif carried his The Oval Test form by removing three of England’s top three batsmen ñ Andrew Strauss, Marcus Trecothick and Kevin Pietersen - in a crucial first spell that lasted eight overs and conceded just 19 runs. Three of those overs were maidens.
Shoaib, playing his first ODI in 2006, was fast but began to limp after a few overs. He, however, returned later in innings to take three wickets in quick succession as England lost their last six wickets for just 36 runs.
Ian Bell was the only England batsman to show guts in the face of some hostile bowling from the Pakistani pacers. Bell made full use of two dropped catches to anchor an England innings that looked unstable right from the on set. The in-form batsman who had a prolific Test series against Pakistan was dropped in the second slip at 9 and later by Afridi (2-38) off his own bowling at 68.
But largely, it was a composed, resolute innings that gave England bowlers something to defend in conditions that were not well suited for batting. Pakistan fielded an unchanged side in the match after winning the Twenty20 game at Bristol on Monday in style. England brought in Rikki Clarke in place of Michael Yardy.
Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and asked the home team to bat on a bouncy wicket that was expected to assist the seamers on an overcast afternoon. The decision turned out to be a good one as England made a nervous start, losing three wickets for 51 runs in the first 14 overs.
Asif was the man doing all the damage but he must have thanked Shoaib for softening up the England openers early in the innings. Bowling at full throttle, Shoaib bullied openers Marcus Trecothick and Andrew Strauss. The England skipper should have been out fourth ball of the first over but umpire Billy Doctrove rejected an appeal even though Strauss looked plumb in front of the wicket.
In his second over Shoaib almost got Strauss but the bails remained intact even as the ball hit the stumps after the batsman had failed to get hold of a rising one. In the next over, Strauss was finally heading back to the dressing room after miss hitting an Asif delivery high and into the hands of Shahid Afridi. He went for 2 and England were 14-1.
Asif continued to bowl impressively but Shoaib looked uncomfortable and finally walked off the field after bowling four overs. Trecothick (16) added 21 runs with Bell before producing a thin edge while trying to have a go at a wide one from Asif. Kamran Akmal made no mistake.
Pietersen fell 16 runs later when Asif got him in a similar manner after threatening the big-hitting batsman with a bouncer on an earlier delivery. Bell was joined by Paul Collingwood and the duo began a damage control operation that was cut short with the introduction of Afridi in the 25th over. The leg spinner removed Collingwood for 14 to break a partnership that added 47 and had started to look dangerous.
It was the fifth wicket partnership between Bell and all rounder Jamie Dalrymple that put on the highest runs (68). Bell, who was cutting and driving the ball with authority, cruised to his fifth ODI fifty after facing 71 balls and hitting nine four.
It was his fall at 88 in the 41st over that shattered England hopes of posting a decent total.
It was a direct hit from Afridi which ended another fine innings for Bell who has become a scourge for the Pakistani bowlers in this series.
Shoaib, in his third spell, bowled Dalrymple for 27 for his 200th ODI wicket. The next over saw Hafeez grabbing a fine catch off his own bowling to remove Chris Read for a duck. The collapse continued when Shoaib took two wickets in his next over, sending back Clarke and Sajid Mahmood within a span of four balls to bring England at 173-9. The host team had lost five wickets for just seven runs.
Veteran Darren Gough (18), making his England comeback and young debutant Stuart Broad (8 not out) then put on 29 runs for the last wicket to take England to 202 from 49.2 overs.
Pakistan won toss
M E Trescothick c Akmal b Asif 16
*A J Strauss c Afridi b Asif 2
I R Bell run out (Afridi) 88
K P Pietersen c Akmal b Asif 2
P D Collingwood lbw b Afridi 14
J W M Dalrymple b Shoaib Akhtar 27
R Clarke c Malik b Shoaib Akhtar 6
†C M W Read c&b Hafeez 0
S I Mahmood b Shoaib Akhtar 1
D Gough c Malik b Afridi 18
S C J Broad not out 8
Extras (lb5, nb5, w10) 20
Total (all out, 49.2 overs) 202
Fall: 1-14, 2-35, 3-51, 4-98, 5-166, 6-166, 7-167, 8-173, 9-173 10-202
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 10-1-45-3 (nb3 w2); Mohammad Asif 10-3-28-3 (w2); Naved-ul-Hasan 7-0-43-0 (w3); Abdul Razzaq 4-1-10-0 (nb1); Shahid Afridi 8.2-0-38-2 (nb1 w1); Mohammad Hafeez 10-0-33-1 (w2)
ODI debut: S C J Broad (ENG)
Umpires: Billy Doctrove (WI) and I J Gould (ENG). TV umpire: M R Benson. Match referee: M J Procter (South Africa).
Source:The NewsMore on:Mohammad Asif, Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006, Shoaib Akhtar
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