ICL: Indian Cricket League

Cautious England settle for a draw as Inzamam stands firm for Pakistan



England paid the price for being too cautious as Inzamam-ul-Haq hit an unbeaten 56 to help Pakistan force a draw in the opening Test here at Lord’s on Monday.

Andrew Strauss delayed declaring until a little more than 30 minutes on the final day’s morning and in the end 80 overs proved insufficient for the England bowling attack to secure a victory.

Pakistan were given a 380-run victory target but after losing both their openers for just 33, it became clear that a draw was the best result they could get out of this match. At one stage Pakistan were 141-4 and Monty Panesar looked threatening but Inzamam with Abdul Razzaq played with grit and determination to keep the four-match series at 0-0.

Inzamam, who had posted over-50 scores in his last six outings against England, was once again their tormentor as he stayed on the wicket for almost two hours, scoring 56 with six boundaries. Razzaq was unbeaten on 25 and together they added 73 runs as Pakistan finished at 214-4 when the match ended with seven overs still to go.

Mohammad Yousuf and Faisal Iqbal narrowly missed half centuries but their identical scores of 48 also played a major part in Pakistan avoiding a final day collapse. England decided against declaring at their overnight score of 258-7 and opted to carry on with Liam Plunkett and Matthew Hoggard. Probably the memories of the Nagpur Test against India were still fresh in the minds of England coach Duncan Fletcher.

In that Test played in March, England gave India 368 to win on the final day and many thought they were too cautious in declaring. India batted out the first two sessions with the score 131-1 at tea before smacking the English attack, getting 120 from 20 overs to make their opponents sweat. The match eventually ended as a draw but England almost got it out of their hands.

Strauss, leading England for the first and may be the last time as Andrew Flintoff is all set to return as skipper at Old Trafford, didn’t want to become a captain who lost a Test at Lord’s from a seemingly winning position. The declaration had to wait.

With conditions hotter and drier than before and the track looking spinner friendly, Pakistan started with Afridi and Kanaria. But Inzamam later handed the ball to Gul and Razzaq after a few boundaries.

Plunkett and Hoggard added 38 more to the total before the former fell with a thick edge off Razzaq with Akmal, not having a good match behind the stumps, taking a comfortable catch. Strauss declared with Pakistan set a target of 380 in 80 overs. Pakistan’s marathon man Kaneria once again bowled long spells (30.4 overs) and finished with 3-77 for match figures of 6-196. Umar Gul had 2-73 while Afridi and Razzaq chipped in with one wicket apiece.

The fact that Pakistan have never been good chasers and also that the best victory target they have achieved at Lord’s was 141-8 on the 1992 tour, didn’t make it very likely that the tourists would go for a charge.

Any hopes they harboured of a successful chase evaporated on the first ball when the out-of-form Salman Butt was trapped leg before by Matthew Horrard on the first ball. Butt who flopped with 10 in the first innings was a bit unlucky as the replays suggested the ball would have barely clipped leg stump.

It was a big blow and brought youngster Faisal Iqbal, on a pair, at the crease. Faisal looked nervous and so did Imran Farhat as Hoggard and Steve Harmison attempted to go for the kill. Farhat gained in confidence after taking a long while to open his account but just when he had settled in came a lapse in concentration as he went for a back foot push and was easily taken in the third slip by Paul Collingwood. Pakistan were 33-2 and with almost 68 overs still to go, England were smelling blood.

But Mohammad Yousuf, brimming with his confidence following his first innings 202, returned to the crease to haunt England. Beginning from where he left in the first innings, Yousuf, the Man of the Match, kept Pakistan afloat and the tourists were 43-2 at lunch with two more sessions still to go.

Strauss brought his trump card Panesar for the first time in the second over after lunch and though the bowler didn’t bother Yousuf, he did pose some problems for Faisal. A nephew of the great Javed Miandad, Faisal tried to relieve some pressure by lifting Panesar for a glorious six.

Paesar managed to give England the breakthrough they were looking for when Yousuf padded a ball that straightened after pitching and umpire Steve Bucknor signalled that Pakistan were now 116-3. Yousuf hit eight fours in his 62-ball knock after an hour-and-a-half on the crease. The third wicket partnership added 83 runs.

Inzamam came in with the knowledge that he had to bat for the rest of the day and save the Test for Pakistan. Pakistan still needed to bat out 44 overs and when Faisal fell at 48, becoming Panesar’s second victim, they were still in hot waters.

Razzaq survived an anxious half hour but slowly managed to find rhythm and with Inzamam steered Pakistan to a draw.

England won toss

England 1st inns 528-9 dec (A N Cook 105, P D Collingwood 186, I R Bell 100*)

Pakistan 1st inns 445 (Mohammad Yousuf 202, Inzamam-ul-Haq 69, Kamran Akmal 58; S J Harmison 4-94)

England 2nd inns (overnight 258-7)

M E Trescothick b Umar 18

*A J Strauss c Imran b Kaneria 128

A N Cook c Yousuf b Umar 4

K P Pietersen st Kamran b Afridi 41

P D Collingwood c Salman b Kaneria 3

I R Bell run out (Inzamam) 28

†G O Jones c Kamran b Kaneria 16

L E Plunkett c Kamran b Razzaq 28

M J Hoggard not out 12

Extras (b5, lb6, w1, nb6) 18

Total (8 wkts dec, 84.5 overs) 296

Did not bat: S J Harmison, M S Panesar

Fall: 1-38, 2-64, 3-141, 4-146, 5-203, 6-250, 7-253, 8-296

Bowling: Mohammad Sami 6-1-23-0; Umar Gul 19-4-70-2 (3nb, 1w); Danish Kaneria 30-4-77-3 (1nb); Abdul Razzaq 9.5-0-45-1; Shahid Afridi 19-1-65-1 (2nb); Imran Farhat 1-0-5-0

Pakistan 2nd inns

Salman Butt lbw b Hoggard 0

Imran Farhat c Collingwood b Hoggard 18

Faisal Iqbal c Cook b Panesar 48

Mohammad Yousuf lbw b Panesar 48

*Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 56

Abdul Razzaq not out 25

Extras (b1, lb8, w6, nb4) 19

Total (4 wkts, 73 overs) 214

Did not bat: Shahid Afridi, †Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria

Fall: 1-0, 2-33, 3-116, 4-141

Bowling: Hoggard 12-3-31-2 (1nb, 1w); Harmison 15-3-43-0 (2nb, 3w); Plunkett 12-2-41-0 (1nb, 2w); Panesar 27-7-60-2; Pietersen 5-1-19-0; Collingwood 2-0-11-0

Result: Match drawn

Series: 4-Test series level at 0-0

Man of the Match: Mohammad Yousuf

Umpires: S A Bucknor (West Indies) and S J A Taufel (Australia). TV umpire: P J Hartley. Match referee: R S Madugalle (Sri Lanka)

Remaining matches: July 27-31 2nd Test, Manchester. August 4-8 3rd Test, Leeds. August 17-21 4th Test, The Oval.

Source:The News

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