November 25, 2000

England declare with comfortable lead as game heads towards draw

England took a comfortable first-innings lead of 120 having declared on 237 for seven, a little over an hour after lunch on the third day.

Matthew Hoggard, who bowled brilliantly in the first-innings, taking four for 13, claimed a wicket on the stroke of tea having Salman Butt caught at first slip for nine. Three overs earlier Alex Tudor had dismissed Mohammad Ramzan, caught behind. The batsman collected a 'pair' in this match.

At tea the Pakistan Cricket Board X1 were 15 for two after 6.5 overs.

With no play having been possible on the second day owing to wet ground conditions, there seemed little likelihood of a result in this three-day match at the Bagh-e-Jinnah ground in Lahore.

England appeared to use the occasion for some useful batting practice in view of the second Test next week. Resuming their first innings on 76 for two, Marcus Trescothick and Alec Stewart, the two not out batsmen from the first day, scored at the rate of a run a minute in the first hour.

During that period Trescothick reached fifty having added 22 to his overnight score with the help of three boundaries, one of which was a powerful straight drive off pace bowler Stephen John who has been the opposition's most successful bowler.

Trescothick decided to retire on fifty and in the next over the Board X1 claimed the wicket of Stewart for 47. It was John who had him caught at first slip and England were 137 for three.

With his next ball John removed Andy Flintoff and then England lost two more wickets before lunch which was taken on 167 for six.

Michael Vaughan, struggling for form, gave a return catch to off spinner Shoaib Malik and five runs later on 158 the sixth wicket fell with Tudor being caught at long leg when he hooked a rising ball from John who eventually finished with four wickets in the innings.

England's declaration came at the fall of Ashley Giles' wicket for 28 after he had helped to put on 79 with Paul Nixon who remained unbeaten with 47 from 62 balls.He had played an entertaining innings which included two boundaries and a towering six over long-on.