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July 31, 2010
Innings of the day
Matt Prior's last Test century came in Trinidad in March 2009, 17 Tests and 15 months ago - the same game, in fact, that Kevin Pietersen last notched up three figures. And while KP's travails continued for another match, Prior lapped up his acclaim with an innings that was in equal parts fraught and flamboyant. He had made just 63 when he was joined by the No. 11, Steven Finn, but with a burst of acceleration, he smacked consecutive sixes off Danish Kaneria to move into the nineties. Thereafter it was a crawl, as he took a single from the first ball of four consecutive overs, with Finn left to hold up an end. Admittedly Prior's quest was aided by some puzzling captaincy from Salman Butt, who left his strike bowlers to graze in the outfield, but a cut for three off Shoaib Malik brought up a very cathartic landmark.
Breakthrough of the day
England knew they were in for a torrid second innings from the moment they lost Andrew Strauss in dramatic circumstances in the first over, as he fenced at an outswinger from Mohammad Aamer, for Umar Akmal at second slip to parry the catch up and away, and into the outstretched gloves of his wicketkeeping brother, Kamran. However, for all the excitement of the moment, it was hardly a surprise that Aamer made such an early inroad - such instant effectiveness is his stock in trade. On six occasions in 11 Tests to date, he's claimed a wicket in his first over of the innings, not to mention twice in 18 ODIs, and a whopping seven times in 18 Twenty20s.
Mix-up of the day
Eoin Morgan's first-day hundred is looking more and more impressive the longer this game goes on, but any hopes he had of adding a second significant score to the mix were thwarted in the 38th over, when Matt Prior - who had himself been run out by Graeme Swann in the first innings - was this time at fault with a piece of crass calling. A square drive through point tempted Prior to turn a comfortable two into a tight three, only for him to change his mind abruptly as the throw came in from the deep. Morgan was sent scrambling as the ball was relayed to the non-striker's end, but he was caught well short as Umar Akmal gathered at the base of the stumps.
Catch of the day
It was a screamer as Shane Warne gushed rightly on TV. Kevin Pietersen was coming into his own after a dicey start to his innings, but the appearance behind the bowler's arm of a spectator in a yellow jumper visibly distracted him. No sooner had he requested the garment's removal, Pietersen moved forward to an inducker from Gul, tried to drive with bat away from body, and found a thick inside-edge that sailed over the stumps and seemed destined to end at the fine-leg boundary. But with shocking dexterity, Kamran Akmal swiftly shuffled a few yards to his left and then threw himself one-handed to pouch an absolute stunner. Akmal's fumbles behind on the first day had demoralised Pakistan severely, so to see him come up with this amazing effort had everyone gasping.
Clanger of the day
Alas, normal service resumed the very next delivery for Kamran. Paul Collingwood, the new batsman, tried to cut hard against a short and wide delivery and flashed an edge high towards first slip. Kamran, standing wide on the off side launched himself skywards with his confidence bubbling over, but instead the ball hit his webbing and spilled over towards the back of second slip, leaving him on the turf, head down in shame. Somehow he finished the innings with a respectable four catches and a share in a run-out, but it's the ones that got away that will continue to grate.
Collapse of the day
For surely the first time in England, a full day's Test cricket was played with the assistance of floodlights after a gloomy start to the morning. But in a thrilling final half-hour, the extra wattage was superfluous, as England's seamers electrified the game situation under the brightest sunshine of the day. It was Stuart Broad, a touch off-colour in the first innings, who sparked Pakistan's latest collapse with two wickets in three deliveries - a fizzing catch from Paul Collingwood at third slip and a somewhat fortuitous lbw against Azhar Ali, who really hasn't enjoyed his flirtation with UDRS in this contest. When James Anderson made it three in seven balls with another, less contentious lbw, the contest seemed over in all but name. Had it not been for Umar Gul's thrilling strokeplay in the first half-hour of the day, a three-day finish would surely have been in prospect.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo, Nagraj Gollapudi is assistant editorFeeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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