December 1, 2000

Pakistan finally breaks through England's defence

Playing a highly defensive game England kept the Pakistan bowlers at bay. They presumably had the plans of taking a big lead in a slow, steady and safe manner. The strategy worked till England was 235 for 5.The wickets then fell like nine pins eventually taking the shape of a disaster when England lost 3 wickets within a span of 1 run and ended the innings at 282 for 8.

With 206 runs behind the Pakistan's 1st innings total and 7 wickets in hand, England resumed the innings with Ian Salisbury and Graham Thorpe at the crease. Despite being the working day the stadium was fully packed with spectators full of enthusiasm, cheering and chanting at every significant move. Facing pressure mainly from the spin duo of Saqlain Mushtaq and Danish Kaneria were keeping a slow and steady pace of scoring. The odd hits to the boundary came mainly on account of fumbling and other lapses on the part of Pakistan fielders. The first hour of play yielded only 30 runs.

The morning session displayed a grand exhibition of defensive batting by England. Pakistan tried all the bowlers in its armory but failed to dislodge the well trenched Salisbury-Thorpe combination. Even a tail ender like Salisbury did not look perturbed by all the tricky spin. England was 182 at lunch. The 150 minutes morning session yielded only 72 runs.

England continued to maintain its defensive posture even in the 2nd session with the intention of taking a slow and steady lead. Pakistan, however, met with 1st success of the day when the night watch-man Salisbury was out after playing a sedate innings of 33. Off spinner Arshad Khan claimed his wicket. England was 203 for 4 now.

Alec Stewart came in to bat but against all expectations did not stay for long. He was caught by Abdur Razzaq at mid wicket off Kaneria for 13. England lost the 5th wicket at 235. Graeme Hick came in to bat and kept the score board moving till England met the disaster. Skipper Moin Khan took the new ball, which to the delight of the Pakistan camp, played the magic.

Making best use of the new ball Wasim Akram trapped the pillar of England's batting Graham Thorpe LBW after he had played a safe and sound innings of 79. In the next over by Abdur Razzaq, Graeme Hick (18) and Ashley Giles (0) also became the new ball victims. England was 8 down for 275 runs on the board, having lost 3 wickets with in a span of one run.

The introduction of new ball did the trick. The Pakistan bowlers who struggled for success with the ball achieved it quicker than expected. With the sudden disaster England's plans of a big lead were almost shattered. The play was called off when England was at 282 for 8. The tail enders Andrew Caddick and Craig white were at the crease. Saqlain, Razzaq and Kaneria shared 2 wickets each. With 2 wickets in hand England trails behind Pakistan by 34 runs.