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

A nerveless six and nervy behind the sticks

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

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