England v Pakistan, 1st npower Test, Trent Bridge July 29, 2010

A nerveless six and nervy behind the sticks

23

Innings of the day
With a sashay down the track and a full swing of the bat, Eoin Morgan deposited Shoaib Malik back over his head for six to power along to his maiden Test century, and dismiss any doubts about his aptitude for first-class cricket. The nervelessness of his performance belied the struggle in which it began, with three wickets tumbling either side of lunch to leave England awkwardly placed at 118 for 4. But with Paul Collingwood steadfast alongside him, Morgan set his team's sights on domination. Morgan may already be England's one-day finisher, but in Test cricket he is only just getting started.

Non-controversy of the day
England, Pakistan, umpiring. Over the years, that potent trio of ingredients have led to all manner of spectacular conflagrations, from Mike Gatting's finger-jabbing in Faisalabad to the Darrell Hair stand-off at The Oval. And with that in mind, the decision to incorporate UDRS into this series was taken with some trepidation, given all the teething problems that it has encountered in recent months. But contrary to all expectations, the first review went without a glitch. Jonathan Trott sought a second opinion after being adjudged lbw by Asoka de Silva, but it was immediately clear he had got an inside-edge. The replay was shown on the big screen as well, so the crowd and the players had no doubt about the reasons for the reversal, and everyone got on with the game.

Struggle of the day
Kevin Pietersen has effectively been on a mid-summer sabbatical, having been rested for the Bangladesh ODIs and snubbed by his soon-to-be-former county Hampshire. And his rustiness showed in a very sketchy return to the crease, which began with his habitual desperation to get off the mark (nine balls elapsed before a nudge to short midwicket), and continued through two unsuccessful attempts from Pakistan to have not-out decisions overturned. But eventually it was left to Mohammad Asif to do what he does best. A good-length delivery, a hint of nip off the seam, and Pietersen's tentative defence led to an inside-edge onto his stumps. Who needs referrals when you can rattle the timbers?

Pragmatism of the day
Trott's second encounter with the review system was less enjoyable than his first, as Mohammad Aamer persuaded him to play no stroke to a full-length outswinger, and umpire Tony Hill thought long and hard before eventually raising his finger. Trott was unimpressed, and called for the second opinion, but the ball was shown to be clipping the top of off. Whether he thought about the implications or not, Hill's choice of decision was intriguing. Had he turned down the appeal, which could have been justified, Pakistan would doubtless have felt aggrieved having already wasted their two reviews. Instead, the onus was placed on Trott to seek the referral if he felt it was justified, just as it was several hours later, when Eoin Morgan was reprieved against Danish Kaneria. It may skew the traditional thinking about the role of the umpire and the benefit of doubt going to the batsman. But on both occasions, justice was served in the end, while at the same time a controversy was neatly sidestepped.

Klutz of the day
He spilled an easy catch first thing in the morning, then claimed a catch shamelessly when replays clearly revealed the ball had bounced into his gloves, and finally he missed a regulation stumping an hour before the close. After an impressive Test at Headingley, Kamran Akmal resumed his bid to be recognised as the world's worst wicketkeeper. Each of his three moments involved one of England's key men of the day - Andrew Strauss, Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood - and but for the Akmal horror show, Pakistan could so easily have finished the day with a share of the spoils.

No-baller of the day
All through the summer Umar Gul has been missing his bowling stride. In two Tests against Australia, he bowled a whopping 18 no-balls, and given that tally, one would have expected him to do the adjustments and get the rhythm correct in the nets, before the England series. Sadly, there was no coherence once again in his run-up. He started off with a false start, and then delivered five no-balls during the course of the day.

Crowd of the day
After disappointing attendances for the Australia-Pakistan Tests, the general consensus was that normal service would be resumed as soon as England donned their whites and got back to playing the Nation's Favourite Form of Cricket ©. But the gaps in the stands were dispiriting in the extreme. Given that England had not played a Test since early June, and not taken on a major nation at home since the Ashes last August, a full house should have been taken for granted, especially given how exciting the Pakistanis have proven to be in recent weeks. But somehow it seemed appropriate in a season of muddled priorities. The ECB's fixture list is a shambles, and it's as if the punters have got bored of waiting for the show to begin.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo, Nagraj Gollapudi is assistant editor

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stationmaster on July 30, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    worst keep in the World - but surely getting rich from his match fixing friends....sigh...

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    How it is possible to retain such a wicket keeper (Kamran Akmal) after again & again failing to discharge his duties after the end of brilliants like Moin Khan & Rashid Latif. Kamran can not concentrate on both the bat & the wicket keeping. either one of those best output (Batting/Keeping) must bring out of him and/or Must go for a Keeper such as Sarfaraz Ahmed to keep the wickets & Akmal to blast in first session of the batting either in any formats OR GIVE KAMRAN A REST for sometime to build up his physical/mental strength.

  • Jaggadaaku on July 30, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    Khanq, this is not a C++ program. You cannot use" if" and "else". This is cricket, and in this sports, any one of the best player can make stupid mistakes. Kamran had really bad day despite he is one of the best wicket-keepers in the world.

  • Falcon72 on July 30, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    I can assure you that Akman brothers will never be dropped. They were part of the famous 7 people who took oath against Younis Khan and now he has got his best pal from Lahore as captain. This is a fact that his keeping has technical faults & how can you fix it after even playing for 50 test matches!!!!!!!!!! Same applies for his brother, who might be good to watch but doesn't has the temperament for test match. Ricky Ponting has rightly said Akmal brothers are T20 players.

  • muhammad2008 on July 30, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    Get rid of kamran as soon as possible. please he is really not the material. Cant we have a better wicket keeper. What are coaches doing? Any backup plan? Why kaneria is in for saeed ajmal? any logic any reason? where is sohail tanveer? anybody's wisdom present in the pak cricket management?

  • SyedArbabAhmed on July 30, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    No matter how bad Kamran performs he is still a permanent member of the team, and that goes for all selection committees, that's why he never learned how to be dropped and learn from your mistake and then come back.

  • RANAROYALS on July 30, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    I dont know why pietersen is still in the team. I strongly believe pietersen is a over rated player.he has not performed well after his debut year in cricket.he has not scored even a half century in the last 18 one days and not scored a century for the past one and half years in tests.with such bad form he doesn't even deserve to be in the team.i think he has to be dropped from the side and sent back to play at county level.there is some serious talent in the team right now with collingwood,morgan,trott,cook who are far better players when compared to pietersen

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Sadly Kamran akmal should be replace immediately in the middle of this match there is something very wrong with this man. I used to play neighborhood cricket but I never saw those mistake by ordinary wicketkeeper. Pakistan should forget to win any match and I guarantee it if they have this kind of wicket Keeper. I dont think he sleeps in the night, believe me thare is something wrong with the man. As long as Kamral Akmal is in the team I promise Pakistan can not win period.

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    Great comeback from England, they are strong team players and have been consistent with their performance. Pakistan has not played enough tests in the last 2 years. Their attitude and temperament is more geared up towards shorter formats of the game.. I am sure there would be some ineresting cricket to watch...

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2010, 1:59 GMT

    I believe Kamran Akmal is probably the LUCKIEST CRICKETER in the world, as despite his BLUNDERS he still gets selected for matches. I think this would not have happened anywhere else in the world, except in Pakistan. Shame on the PCB for keep on selecting him. Salman Butt would do well to be brave enough to put his foot down and not back his selection again, for a considerable time so Kamran either improves his wicketkeeping or someone else is given a chance to show his mettle. I do not believe firing him would be a bad thing for Kamran, as it'll save him further embarrassment. So really deselecting him would be good for him. I cannot but think that he has someone higher-up in the PCB who gets him selected, whether he delivers the goods or not, by his wicketkeeping. In T20's or One Day Criciket he could be selected for his batting only, if there is no one better. I pray for the rest of the team and our nation, and wish them the best of luck to win their games. GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN.

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