Scary Monday for English cricketers
A powerful blast during play and Pakistan’s sharp pace attack combined to make Monday a scary day for England in the second cricket Test.
The tourists—one down in the three-Test series—were 113-3 when bad light stopped play for the day, still 349 behind Pakistan’s challenging first-innings total of 462.
Ian Bell (36) and Kevin Pietersen (four) were the not-out batsmen.
England were on 92-2 when the game was held up for nine minutes following an explosion in one of the stands. Marcus Trescothick and Bell remained on the field along with Pakistan’s cricketers as police and commandos rushed to the ground to provide security cover.
A local official later said the explosion was caused by a gas cylinder in one of the drinks dispensers.
A police officer was slightly hurt.
When play resumed, Trescothick fell soon afterwards.
The left-handed opener, who was on 41 when the blast stopped play, added seven more runs before falling to a low catch by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off paceman Mohammad Sami.
England’s early problems came from little-known seamer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, playing only his sixth Test.
Naved-ul-Hasan dismissed Andrew Strauss and skipper Michael Vaughan in successive overs to reduce the visitors to 39-2 before Trescothick and Bell added 68 for the third wicket.
Strauss inside-edged a delivery on to his stumps while attempting to pull, while Vaughan was stunned by a yorker that uprooted his middle-stump.
Pakistan were indebted to captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for posting a big total. The middle-order batsman scored an elegant 109 to equal Javed Miandad’s Pakistani record of 23 Test centuries in 20 fewer Tests (124).
The Pakistani batting flourished in the morning session, thanks to Inzamam’s polished century and Shahid Afridi’s fireworks at the other end.
The captain, 80 overnight, struck 13 fours in his 200-ball knock before being adjudged run out by third umpire Nadeem Ghouri of Pakistan.
Fast bowler Steve Harmison fielded a drive on his follow-through, saw Inzamam out of the crease and threw down the stumps.
But television replays showed that Inzamam’s back foot was in the air as he took evasive action to avoid the ball, meaning he should not have been out under the rules of the games.
Inzamam called the decision surprising.
“I never challenge an umpire’s decision but I was definitely trying to save myself,” he added.
The Pakistani skipper said his side are poised for a series-winning victory.
“Yes, we are in a good position and can win the match from here,” he said. “We need to bowl a good line and length on Tuesday to gain a good lead.”
Inzamam has played a major role in putting his team in that position.
He put on 128 for the fourth wicket with Mohammad Yousuf on Sunday and 145 for the next with Afridi, who fell in the morning session after smashing six sixes and as many fours in his 85-ball 92.
Afridi, who made 67 in his team’s overnight total of 300-4, continued to demoralise England’s bowlers with his hard and clean hitting.
He set the tone in the day’s first over with a firm drive for four past paceman Matthew Hoggard before falling to the same bowler.
He swung Hoggard for two successive sixes over wide long-on and steered the next ball past second slip for four before Trescothick held a low catch in the slips.
There was no respite for England as lower-order batsmen Akmal (41), Rana (25) and Mohammad Sami (18) played their parts in swelling Pakistan’s total.—Sapa-AFP