England v Pakistan, 3rd npower Test, The Oval, 2nd day August 19, 2010

Azhar Ali builds priceless lead for Pakistan

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England 233 and 6 for 1 (Cook 0*, Anderson 2*) trail Pakistan 308 (Azhar 92*, Yousuf 56, Swann 4-68) by 69 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Azhar Ali was rendered virtually scoreless last week but showed his true talents at The Oval as his outstanding, unbeaten 92 earned Pakistan a valuable lead of 75. Mohammad Yousuf played his part with a composed 56 before becoming Graeme Swann's 100th Test wicket and, though the visitors would have liked a greater advantage, it grew in significance when Andrew Strauss fell before the close.

For the first time during the season Pakistan passed 300 as Azhar and Mohammad Asif added a priceless 38 for the last wicket to frustrate England's efforts to wrap up the innings. Andrew Strauss dropped Asif at slip on 4 - in what would become a bad hour for the England captain - and it took a further seven overs before the No. 11 drove Swann to mid-off with Azhar left eight short of a maiden Test hundred.

That left the home side with an awkward 15 minutes to survive, but Strauss couldn't see out the first over when, having already under-edged a pull past the stumps, edged low to second slip against Mohammad Amir who has removed Strauss four times in the series. Alastair Cook will have been relieved to face just two balls as James Anderson did his job as nightwatchman and the third day will provide an examination of the belief in both teams.

The presence of Yousuf in the middle order certainly had an immediate effect on Pakistan and not only in the obvious manner of the runs he scored. The calmness he exuded at the crease filtered through to his partners. Firstly, Wahab Riaz fought hard for two hours, and then Azhar played far more positively than at Edgbaston. Azhar faced a total of 117 balls in the previous Test for just 19 runs, but moved along at a livelier pace as 104 runs were added during the afternoon session.

Yousuf understandably took time to play himself in and was beaten by a few good deliveries, but slowly began to find his feet with a neat clip through backward square and a straight drive off Steven Finn. After lunch he began to increase the tempo, but never moved out of his comfort zone of accumulation with effortless glides to third man being of particular frustration to the pacemen. His fifty came from 95 balls and it was hard to tell he'd been out of Test cricket for seven months or had barely picked up a bat before his retirement u-turn following the SOS that went out from the Pakistan management to join this tour.

It was Swann that made him work hardest and that was a huge compliment to England's offspinner, who was belatedly added to the ICC Cricketer of the Year list after controversially missing out yesterday. He gave another display of his class when, switching to around the wicket, he persuaded Yousuf to offer a return catch and became the seventh-fastest Englishman to 100 wickets, taking 23 Tests to draw level with Derek Underwood.

However, Yousuf's departure didn't herald an immediate collapse as Azhar continued to time the ball sweetly and Umar Akmal lofted Swann for a handsome straight six. Umar continued aggressively, but shortly after taking Pakistan into the lead ran himself out when he went for a non-existent single to cover and couldn't turn around in time to beat Eoin Morgan's throw. England then worked through the lower order with the second new ball, but Azhar played superbly and unfurled some powerful strokes when left with Asif including a thumping blow to long-off against Finn.

England had made the perfect start to the day when Finn found Yasir Hameed's outside edge with the second ball of the day and it looked as though Pakistan would struggle again. Salman Butt, demoted down the order after Hameed's inclusion, was given an early life when Morgan spilled a catch at backward point although it didn't prove too costly for England as Swann once again struck as soon as he came into the attack.

Butt top-edged a cut and Prior juggled the ball before finally holding onto the chance which left Pakistan wobbling on 76 for 3. But Riaz proved much harder to shift despite a first-class average of 15.22. As with his bowling yesterday he grinned his way through most of the innings and it looked as though he would see out the session until he missed a sweep at the first ball of Swann's second spell. However, Riaz's main job will resume on Friday when Pakistan try to make their hard-earned advantage count.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | August 20, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    pakistan palyed OK but not as good as they should have. again there is problem with there strike rate. thy just managed 233 for 5 in 80 overs {old ball was not doing any thing that time} with new ball due and after new ball rest of wickets fall very quickly thanks to last wicket stand which gave 75 lead but that lead will not be enough baring in mind that last inings will be pakistans. 4th inings always dificult and in these conditions it will be very dificult. lets hope pak bowlers bowl them as soon as posible.

  • POSTED BY Tintin14 on | August 20, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    On a very different note...Ajmal reminds me of the Pakistani classic music meastro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan! =)

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Azhar ali is a great talent and nw he needs to carry on..and should not waste this talent...i feel sorry for umer akmal..i really thought he will be one the best pakistani batsmen bt he dissapointed me big time.

  • POSTED BY Pak-cricket on | August 20, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    PCB has work on merit those player should not be in the team who are not good enough to be there.. Pak Test Team Yasir hameed, salman Butt, Yonus, Yosuf, Azhar Ali/Fawad Alam, Umar akmal, Kamran Akmal/Zulqarnain, Abdul Razaq, M amir, M asif, Waha/Gul, Saeed Ajmal In one day Iclude Asad Shafiq and Afridi thats enough

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    In such a disastrous time for Pakistan Cricket , Azhar has risen to occassion and showed his talent for sure

  • POSTED BY karthikfromchennai on | August 20, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    PCB fooled everyone by banning yousuf youhana and younis for life

  • POSTED BY karthikfromchennai on | August 20, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    the tainted...banned for life cricketer...yousuf youhana is back to the side. Augurs well for Pakistan cricket

  • POSTED BY muhammadfaisalcrazy on | August 20, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    thats why i always support muhammad yousuf. he is a class player always played well in test cricket. he not only scored runs but also guide the youngsters whcih can be devastating for the oponent.

    No doubt he is a great player. slap on the faces of his oponents. YOUSUF BHAI TUSSI GREAT HO.

  • POSTED BY NumptyatCricket on | August 20, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    At last a proper test match for England! Spirited batting from Pakistan has shown up the inexperience and hype surrounding the English bowling. The way the England top order looks Pakistan could well be in a position to win the game tonight - good luck to them too. Looking ahead to the winter, its difficult to see just how England plan to beat Australia in their own back yard. I think the current group have promise but little in the way of real class.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    in test arena experience does supply vital impacts.

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | August 20, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    pakistan palyed OK but not as good as they should have. again there is problem with there strike rate. thy just managed 233 for 5 in 80 overs {old ball was not doing any thing that time} with new ball due and after new ball rest of wickets fall very quickly thanks to last wicket stand which gave 75 lead but that lead will not be enough baring in mind that last inings will be pakistans. 4th inings always dificult and in these conditions it will be very dificult. lets hope pak bowlers bowl them as soon as posible.

  • POSTED BY Tintin14 on | August 20, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    On a very different note...Ajmal reminds me of the Pakistani classic music meastro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan! =)

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Azhar ali is a great talent and nw he needs to carry on..and should not waste this talent...i feel sorry for umer akmal..i really thought he will be one the best pakistani batsmen bt he dissapointed me big time.

  • POSTED BY Pak-cricket on | August 20, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    PCB has work on merit those player should not be in the team who are not good enough to be there.. Pak Test Team Yasir hameed, salman Butt, Yonus, Yosuf, Azhar Ali/Fawad Alam, Umar akmal, Kamran Akmal/Zulqarnain, Abdul Razaq, M amir, M asif, Waha/Gul, Saeed Ajmal In one day Iclude Asad Shafiq and Afridi thats enough

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    In such a disastrous time for Pakistan Cricket , Azhar has risen to occassion and showed his talent for sure

  • POSTED BY karthikfromchennai on | August 20, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    PCB fooled everyone by banning yousuf youhana and younis for life

  • POSTED BY karthikfromchennai on | August 20, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    the tainted...banned for life cricketer...yousuf youhana is back to the side. Augurs well for Pakistan cricket

  • POSTED BY muhammadfaisalcrazy on | August 20, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    thats why i always support muhammad yousuf. he is a class player always played well in test cricket. he not only scored runs but also guide the youngsters whcih can be devastating for the oponent.

    No doubt he is a great player. slap on the faces of his oponents. YOUSUF BHAI TUSSI GREAT HO.

  • POSTED BY NumptyatCricket on | August 20, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    At last a proper test match for England! Spirited batting from Pakistan has shown up the inexperience and hype surrounding the English bowling. The way the England top order looks Pakistan could well be in a position to win the game tonight - good luck to them too. Looking ahead to the winter, its difficult to see just how England plan to beat Australia in their own back yard. I think the current group have promise but little in the way of real class.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    in test arena experience does supply vital impacts.

  • POSTED BY aleem-basraa on | August 20, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    See what a difference Yousaf has brought into the team not just by scoring himself but also making Wahab and Ali play well. I still remember the impact of Inzamam on the pitch. He can very easily be nominated as the best player when playing along the tail enders. Not at that level but definitely Yousaf and Younis also falls in that category. So i still believe that Pakistan Test Team is not complete without Younis Khan.

  • POSTED BY othello22 on | August 20, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    Goodness me, what is going to happen to test cricket when Mohammad Yousuf, Sachin, Ponting, Kallis and the like are all retired? There doesn't seem to be anyone else left with anywhere near that sort of class and/or consistency. These young guys have all been raised on the madness of Twenty 20, they only seem to be good for five overs or so at the crease and the fact that Pakistan finally posted a decent score in Yousuf's first match back from his ban is no coincidence. It's hard to fathom that the PCB actually thought this batting line-up could function without him.

  • POSTED BY usman_nile1994 on | August 20, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    With this line-up Pakistan has defitinely become better but let us don't forget Imran Farhat. He is such a bad batsman and looks like of Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Pakistan should open with Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed (with Taufeeq Umar as back-up opener) and Younis Khan on 3rd position. 4. Yousuf 5. Azhar Ali 6. Umar Akmal 7. Kamran/Haider 8. Wahab 9. Saeed 10. Asif 11. Aamer Pakistan made 300 after inclusion of Yousuf. If Younis come backs then we might go further 400-500

  • POSTED BY Pak-cricket on | August 20, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Now this the time for Abdul Qadir and others who were saying no need for 2 Ys... No one can beat the experience.... If we Crossed the 300 mark for the first time in 9 innings is simply because of Yasir And yousuf. Azhar played becasue of Yosuf... Now Please think about Farhat Is he good enough to be in the team

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    i wanna dedicate this test match to all the lives dat is lost in recent flood in pakistan...lets hope pakistan will win this game for making their future bright...best of luck.

  • POSTED BY aravindar on | August 20, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Well Played Azhar Ali, it wud be a gud test of Eoin Morgon, Waheb and so many other newbies in either teams to stand up and deliver. If cook doesn't perform this time, then the opening slot shd go to Ravi Bopara and eventually Ian Bell at the ashes. Same with Pakis, U.Akmal has far too much of talent but he's wasting it just like Ashraful did it for Bangladesh. This is where they can learn a thing or two from Indians, when the oppurtunity comes, go grab it, recent examples being Raina and Gambhir for a while now!

  • POSTED BY cricket_for_all on | August 20, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    I would request ECB to ban Swann for not allowing a century to Ali (He deserved it). If ECB needs advise on this matter please contact SLC and financial help on this matter please contact BCCI. !!!!

  • POSTED BY k.mithilesh on | August 20, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Always been a fan of pakistan cricket. In our celebratory mood at the revival (longevity yet a factor), let us not forget Shahid Afridi's courageous decision. In an age where players masquerade their talent( indian cricketers please take note) Afridi's honest and brutal self-appraisal and sefl-criticism should be saluted. People are now filling the spot he vacated. Hope they keep on performing. Can't wait to see Boom Boom Afridi in action!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    Good Fight back by Pakistan. Some thing that Pakistan need badly for the long long time now they must concentrate on their catching and stop english batsman to taking easy singles and partnership. Allah Pakistan ko Kamyaab Krey (Aamin)

  • POSTED BY cricket_for_all on | August 20, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    I would request ECB to ban Swann for not allowing a century to Ali (He deserved it). If ECB needs advise on this matter please contact SLC and financial help on this matter please contact BCCI. !!!!

  • POSTED BY braveilyas on | August 20, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    Pakistan is looking in great position with experiance of Muhammad Yousaf and Yasir Hameed, Yasir provides a quick healthy start to the innings which is good thing for coming batsmans. Well played Azhar Ali with his 92 not out. Now Pakistan is looking balance side with tuff bowling and a string middle order in present of Muhammad Yousaf.

  • POSTED BY braveilyas on | August 20, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Experiance is now back in Pakistan's side. Pakistan is looking full balance team at this stage with experiance of Muhammad Yousaf and Yasir Hameed and young guns like Umar, Azhar, and Wahab Riaz. Yasir gives a quick and health start to innings which was a good thing for coming batsmans. Inshallah Pakistan will level this series 2-2.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Little bit hope awaked, lets see what hapns

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    Atlast we are doing it. Lets hope this stays like this forever.. :) Love u Pakistan

  • POSTED BY moinilyasneral on | August 20, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    Finally a ray of hope for Pakistan cricket....and all it took was to get back a classy player in Muhammad Yousuf...hope the powers that are behind Pakistan cricket(read Ijaz Butt and Yawar Saeed) realise how they have made Pakistan look like a laughing stock of World cricket by their stupidity and pettiness...saw on TV yesterday that Ijaz has also"forgiven" Younis and we shall see him in action for Pakistan again..hope this happens and before the T-20 and one days with England. Full marks, however, to Azhar Ali and Wahab Riaz..they have given Pakistan more than a sniff of victory in this test Inshallah.By the way, getting rid of Salman, Kamran and Imran would not be a bad idea too. This may not happen, but I can hope, can't I ???

  • POSTED BY Wasif_Minhas on | August 20, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Pakistan should try to restrict them under 250, cz anything beyond 250 would be nearly impossible to chase considering the good form of swann and in the fourth innings at Oval he can do wonders.

  • POSTED BY zeepolo on | August 20, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    I am still hopeful but afraid of Pakistan batting collapse and the bowling inability to take the wickets of tale enders.

  • POSTED BY Aslam_Khan_Varanasi on | August 20, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    That is a great inning by Azhar Ali, but he miss the opportunity of making his first test century to give the strikes Asif more than more against Swann & he is done it in the end. He is played very well. Good partnership between Yousuf, Umar Akmal & Asif. Pakistan looks better in this test match so far & great chance to win this test...... Good Luck Pakistan........!

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Swann should be handed a fine of full match fees and banned for next game for preventing Azhar Ali from reaching his century by taking the last wicket and leaving him standard on 92.

  • POSTED BY Raheel-the-Jock on | August 20, 2010, 4:22 GMT

    I don't think so..i mean if Eng will take lead of 150 then its not easy to win for Pakistan. Even the team Pak has a lot of gestures & assortment in the bowling, but batting is still a question mark (?).

    once again Imran Farhat 11 runs on 55 bowls & Umar Akmal played inning like T20 or one day game.

  • POSTED BY AhsanIqbal on | August 20, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Azhar had proved that he can be relied on in the future.

  • POSTED BY puphuss on | August 20, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Good Test match. Azhar Ali played like a true test player. Yosuf showed his class; and played some elegant shots.

    England have to pull up their socks as Pakistan will be firing on the third day.

  • POSTED BY Lashariz on | August 20, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Well Done! Yousuf and Azhar. See the difference after the inclusion of Muhammad Yousuf in the team. He was away from cricket for a long time and then he made a fifity in his first inning after came back... Yousuf not only played a wonderful inning but also guided the younger players like Wahab and Azhar who made partnerships with him. The guidance to Azhar from senior most player lead him to play a confident inning which we haven't seen before from Azhar. Yousuf, yes you are a legend. InshaALLAH Pakistan will win this match.

  • POSTED BY tksami on | August 20, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    Where do they get guys like Mohammed Amir and Mohammad Asif and. I hear that there is a Mohammad Irfan who is an impending tornado moving towards test cricket and he is expected to arrive in a year or two. Pakistan should play 5 fast bowlers (including Wahab Riaz and Omar Gul).

  • POSTED BY Attractivue on | August 20, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    Finally, a true display of a test playing nation. I am an Aussie and I would really like Pakistan to win. Not because we just don't want Poms to win but because of the recent form of Pakistan Test Cricket.

    Unfortunately, lately Pakistan didn't look like a test playing nation. Some might say that you can be lucky and beat world champions in a limited over game but they can't say the same about Test Cricket.

    Pakistan's win against Australia and hopefully this win against England will prove its true worth.

    Go Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY proud2Bpakistani1 on | August 20, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    inshallah we gona win this match................

  • POSTED BY drchowdhury on | August 20, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    1 of the best innings i have seen / his ability to play so late amazes me!!!!!!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY drchowdhury on | August 20, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    1 of the best innings i have seen / his ability to play so late amazes me!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY proud2Bpakistani1 on | August 20, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    inshallah we gona win this match................

  • POSTED BY Attractivue on | August 20, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    Finally, a true display of a test playing nation. I am an Aussie and I would really like Pakistan to win. Not because we just don't want Poms to win but because of the recent form of Pakistan Test Cricket.

    Unfortunately, lately Pakistan didn't look like a test playing nation. Some might say that you can be lucky and beat world champions in a limited over game but they can't say the same about Test Cricket.

    Pakistan's win against Australia and hopefully this win against England will prove its true worth.

    Go Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY tksami on | August 20, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    Where do they get guys like Mohammed Amir and Mohammad Asif and. I hear that there is a Mohammad Irfan who is an impending tornado moving towards test cricket and he is expected to arrive in a year or two. Pakistan should play 5 fast bowlers (including Wahab Riaz and Omar Gul).

  • POSTED BY Lashariz on | August 20, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Well Done! Yousuf and Azhar. See the difference after the inclusion of Muhammad Yousuf in the team. He was away from cricket for a long time and then he made a fifity in his first inning after came back... Yousuf not only played a wonderful inning but also guided the younger players like Wahab and Azhar who made partnerships with him. The guidance to Azhar from senior most player lead him to play a confident inning which we haven't seen before from Azhar. Yousuf, yes you are a legend. InshaALLAH Pakistan will win this match.

  • POSTED BY puphuss on | August 20, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Good Test match. Azhar Ali played like a true test player. Yosuf showed his class; and played some elegant shots.

    England have to pull up their socks as Pakistan will be firing on the third day.

  • POSTED BY AhsanIqbal on | August 20, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Azhar had proved that he can be relied on in the future.

  • POSTED BY Raheel-the-Jock on | August 20, 2010, 4:22 GMT

    I don't think so..i mean if Eng will take lead of 150 then its not easy to win for Pakistan. Even the team Pak has a lot of gestures & assortment in the bowling, but batting is still a question mark (?).

    once again Imran Farhat 11 runs on 55 bowls & Umar Akmal played inning like T20 or one day game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Swann should be handed a fine of full match fees and banned for next game for preventing Azhar Ali from reaching his century by taking the last wicket and leaving him standard on 92.

  • POSTED BY Aslam_Khan_Varanasi on | August 20, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    That is a great inning by Azhar Ali, but he miss the opportunity of making his first test century to give the strikes Asif more than more against Swann & he is done it in the end. He is played very well. Good partnership between Yousuf, Umar Akmal & Asif. Pakistan looks better in this test match so far & great chance to win this test...... Good Luck Pakistan........!