Pakistan v England, 2nd ODI, Lahore

Akmal ton fires Pakistan level

The Report by Andrew McGlashan

December 12, 2005

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Pakistan 231 for 3 (Akmal 102, Butt 43) beat England 230 (Plunkett 56, Shoaib 5-54) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out



Kamran Akmal crashed his second one-day ton as Pakistan raced home © Getty Images
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Pakistan turned on the style in the second one-day international as they inflicted a thumping seven-wicket defeat on England, levelling the series with six overs to spare. Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal produced most of the sparkle as one confirmed his rejuvenation as an international force and the other confirmed his potential as one for the future. Back in the present, both were far too good for England in a match that showed how quickly fortunes can change in the limited overs game.

Akmal's second one-day century came from 108 balls, his first against West Indies was also as an opener, and followed on from Shoaib's fiery five-wicket haul which knocked the stuffing out of England. Chasing 230, Pakistan did not need to race along but Akmal was in a hurry from the start. Despite kick-starting his knock with an uppercut for six off Steve Harmison he did not take any undue risks and found few problems with any of the bowlers. He indulged in his favourite cover drive, peppering the off side with timing and placement.

Defending a well-below-par total, England knew that early wickets were their only chance and needed a repeat of Shoaib's performance which had earlier left them floundering on 130 for 8. A bowler light after subbing James Anderson with Vikram Solanki, they threw their new-ball heavyweights at the Pakistan openers. Akmal and Salman Butt responded to the challenge by setting a rapid pace, latching on to any hint of width and having the confidence in the pitch to drive through the line.

Marcus Trescothick tried to regain some control by delaying his Powerplays but, unlike the first match, the Pakistan batsmen did not need to force the pace against Ian Blackwell and Paul Collingwood. Even Flintoff's strike with the first ball of his second spell and Collingwood's well-disguised slower ball to Younis Khan did not slow the tempo. Akmal was not bothered whether the field was in or out and it was only a moment of over-confidence that brought his downfall with the job almost done - and Inzamam-ul-Haq finished it with a flourish.



Shoaib Akhtar produced a brilliant performance with the ball © Getty Images
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The job was started, and in destructive fashion, by Shoaib on a pitch that offered more pace and carry than on Saturday. He sparked Pakistan into life, bringing out his full box of tricks in a stunning seventh over of the innings. He produced a perfect slower ball which Trescothick failed to pick and Andrew Strauss couldn't get out of the way of a searing bouncer, Akmal leaping to hold a fine, high catch.

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan then delivered the crucial over of the match, removing England's powerful middle order in the space of five balls. Firstly Pietersen, clearly in discomfort after aggravating a rib injury, swished and missed after a brief boundary flurry. Next Andrew Flintoff, after his early alarm call to receive the Sports Personality of the Year award, was given another wake-up when he was cramped for room trying to play a pull.

As England tottered, five wickets down, Shoaib returned from receiving treatment on a calf injury to produce another of his spine-tingling overs of extreme pace. His second ball back accounted for Geraint Jones, who couldn't get his gloves below a rapid, well-directed bouncer. Blackwell then had no answer to the pace in the following over as he failed to get in the same postcode as a full, fast, straight ball that sent the off stump flying.

With Shoaib reaching his blistering best a swift end to the innings was on the cards but Solanki and Liam Plunkett restored respectability with a record ninth-wicket stand of 100. They milked the spinners, as Inzamam strangely opted not to bring a quick back, but it was far from all nudge and nurdle as Plunkett launched a handsome six off Shoaib Malik while Solanki frequently flicked through midwicket. Plunkett's first international fifty confirmed his allround promise and is another tick for him on an impressive tour.

But if England thought they had been given a sniff, that notion was quickly snuffed out by another of the impressive youngsters. With the crushing nature of this win Pakistan now have the momentum in the series but, as this double-header in Lahore has shown, that can change in the blink of an eye.

  • Pakistan have announced that they will add Shahid Afridi to the squad for the rest of the series, but will otherwise keep the same players. Afridi is back from his suspension.

    How they were out

    Marcus Trescothick b Shoaib 16 (30 for 1)
    Slower ball clipped off stump

    Andrew Strauss c Akmal b Shoaib 0 (30 for 2)
    Gloved a sharp bouncer

    Kevin Pietersen b Naved-ul-Hasan 28 (75 for 3)
    Ugly heave across the line, hit off stump

    Andrew Flintoff c sub (Hameed) b Naved-ul-Hasan 0 (75 for 4)
    Limp pull to midwicket

    Matt Prior b Razzaq 32 (89 for 5)
    Off-cutter nipped between bat and pad

    Geriant Jones c Younis b Shoaib (103 for 6)
    Gloved short ball to first slip

    Ian Blackwell b Shoaib 10 (120 for 7)
    Squared-up, beaten for pace

    Paul Collingwood c and b Kaneria 23 (130 for 8)
    Flat-batted pull against a long hop

    Liam Plunkett c and b Shoaib 56 (230 for 9)
    Skied a slog against slower-ball

    Steve Harmison run out (Younis) 0 (230 all out)
    Direct hit from cover

    Pakistan

    Salman Butt b Flintoff 43 (86 for 1)
    Lack of footwork, played down the wrong line

    Younis Khan b Collingwood 15 (113 for 2)
    Deceived by a slower ball, hit off stump

    Kamran Akmal c Solanki b Harmison 102 (187 for 3)
    Pulled to midwicket

  • Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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    Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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