England v Pakistan, 2nd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day August 7, 2010

KP's travails, Amin's golden arm


Shot of the day
Kevin Pietersen's tortuous 80 was, by his own admission, among the scratchier Test innings he has ever compiled - so much so that, while he was pacing up and down the corridor during one of the day's many rain breaks, he laughed: "Which match have you been watching, mate!" when a journalist suggested he was through the worst of it. Still, there was one cathartic moment in the midst of a torrid chance-riddled innings. On 47, he clipped Mohammad Amir exquisitely through the leg-side for four to bring up his half-century. It was arguably the best shot he has played since the World Twenty20 final.

Trendsetter of the day
If Pakistan thought that a good night's sleep might sharpen up their act, they were sorely mistaken when play resumed on day two. Pietersen had not added to his overnight 36 when, in the third over, Mohammad Amir zipped an offcutter back towards the stumps, and appealed for lbw as KP adjusted late. The decision was rightly turned down because of a fat inside-edge, but unfortunately Umar Amin in the gully was seemingly unaware of that line of enquiry. The ball looped invitingly towards his fingertips, but inexplicably he let the chance drop to earth without a care in the world.

Golden arm of the day
Amin's fielding may be woeful, but he is earning himself a very tidy reputation as a go-to partnership breaker. His military medium-pace may look pretty innocuous, but he does get some prodigious movement through the air, and it can prove a handful to a batsman who drops his guard. Take Jonathan Trott, for example, who had moved calmly along to 55, and looked odds-on to become the first Warwickshire batsman to make a Test hundred at Edgbaston. However, Amin mugged him via a chop to point, to claim his third wicket in four Tests. He's never yet bowled more than six overs in any given innings.

Rumpus of the day
By a conservative estimate, Pietersen survived three clear-cut catches in the course of his 147-ball stay, but the one opportunity that actually went to hand and stayed there turned out to be the main talking point of the day. On 41, and in the third over after lunch, Pietersen backed off late as Mohammad Asif hit his delivery stride, and patted a drive half-heartedly to cover. In the same instant, umpire Marais Erasmus signalled dead-ball, leaving all manner of questions to be answered by the rule-book. According to Law 23.3.b (v), Pietersen transgressed by playing a shot to negate the dead-ball, but according to Law 23.3.b (vi), he was within his rights to pull out if distracted. He later claimed the umpire had made the call before the ball had been bowled; Asif, on the other hand, denied hearing anything. All the same, compared to The Oval in 2006, it was a dispute that barely registered on the Richter Scale.

Circus act of the day
Of all the chances that went down in the course of the day, none was quite as hideous as Salman Butt's shelling of Graeme Swann at mid-off. Even Waqar Younis, on the dressing room balcony had no option but to burst out laughing as a degenerative fielding performance reached its absolute nadir. Everything about the moment smacked of the circus big top, as Swann flipped in his stance to play the switch hit - a shot, to be fair, that he has pulled off in the past. This time, however, he merely scooped the ball tamely to Pakistan's captain (at a left-hander's mid-on), but Butt let the dolly drop straight through his fingers. Ajmal, striving to reach his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests, was unimpressed to say the least.

Ball of the day
Butt's best attempts to lead his side from the front are crumbling before his - and everyone else's - eyes. First came the dropped catch, then came the ten-ball duck that took his series tally to a sorry 16 runs from four innings. The ball that bagged him, however, was an absolute beaut, the sort that might have extracted Brian Lara in his pomp. Bowling full and fast, and with the confidence that comes with 15 wickets in three innings, James Anderson turned his man inside-out with a brutal seamer that jagged wickedly off the edge and into the clutches of Andrew Strauss at first slip. At 1 for 1 after three overs, the innings was already on the skids.

Single of the day
Yesterday, Azhar Ali compiled a 32-ball duck, the 15th-slowest in the history of Test cricket. Today, he hadn't escaped his pair when, from his 44th runless delivery of the match, he was adjudged caught-behind off Stuart Broad, only for the decision to be overturned on review - a rarity for Azhar, who was memorably luckless in his flirtations with UDRS at Trent Bridge. Three balls later, he poked Broad into the covers and set off for a run that matched KP for duck-avoidance desperation. But he made his ground, just, to escape another layer of ignominy.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abdul on August 8, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    I do not subscribe that we will ever be a good feilding side. But catching and run out is a different thing. The reason why we cannot be a a good feilding side is that we do not have lush green grounds. Perhaps we should look to how West Indies approached the art of feilding in the 70's 80's and early 90's. The reason why England, Australia, NZ and Sri Lanka excel in feilding is that the sports from early years are played on lush green ground and every clubs in England have their own grounds. Sports like Rugby, football are played in all school in these countries on open green fields and as such these players slide at will from a very young age. We do not have that luxury so we need to improvise and find other ways to counteract this. One simple way is to have a matteress on the practice grounds and then practice catching as in slips, flinging sideways. The art of slides is done on grass fields, which we do not have

  • zoh on August 8, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    OK guys before leaving your comments about Pakistani team and criticize them , lets look at it logically.. first of all this team has a lot of new talent. Our problem is that these cricketers play domestic cricket on plat pitches with different conditions and then suddenly u have to adopt to changes of playing at good supporting foreign wickets.. pakistan should have a system that any player who plays at least 50 ODI or more can enter test team that way they will have experience .

  • Keith on August 8, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    I still think it's terribly funny that people say Pakistan should not have Test status, and they are the laughing stock of the cricketing world when, just a short while ago, they beat Australia.

  • sabtain on August 8, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    after batting they should hire some locals U-16 or U-19 guys to field, i am bloody sure they will do better than them these players have butter rubbed on their hand , why dont they use tissues to wipe after having their breakfast and mind it, the balls are different tooin England, they are BALLS and they dont have balls...lol, coz they have BUTTS i.e. Ejaz butt, and salman butt now ruining the guys career by making him captain, i am angry at afridi, why dont he start the innings like Sewag(though Sewag is a great batsman) but at lesast if the operns are going to make "0" then why not Afridi make 10-30, at least he can feild and he is a brave man and brave captain

  • Ali on August 8, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    What a terrible fielding side this is. I see no light at the end of the tunnel with this kind of fielding. I feel sorry for the Pakistan bowlers. The former players were correct about the "dawn of a new era after defeating Australia". It sure is the dawn of a new era. The era of even more dropped catches.........

  • Jerry on August 8, 2010, 5:44 GMT

    Pakistan players are the butt of jokes among the local cricketers. They have very good bowlers but the the rest of them needs to go away. Its a shame and disgrace for a cricket team to play the level of cricket they are playing. Shameful. With good training anyone can be better and so is this team. Not sure why they cannot play swing bowiing. You are a professional team and should be able to handle anything thrown at you. God help them.

  • Himayun on August 8, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    After Pakistani Butts were kicked by Englishmen once again, there is a justification now for the poor showing of Pakistani batsmen. The main reason for Pakistan's defeats is they have no reliable batsman.

    The Big Butt and Small Butt can keep talking from both sides of their mouth, but one thing is for sure, they are not good cricketers. It is the failure of the most experienced bats in the team like the two openers, Akmal brothers, politician Shoaib Malik which is responsible for the team failure.

    Even if the umpire gives him out the lead would only be slightly less and with this performance of Pakistani batsmen, it would not make much difference. The law is the law, whether Pakistanis agree with it or not. If the umpire called a no ball or a dead ball then there would be no outs.

    Grow up and let your bats do the talking. Instead of mouthing off, Butt should have been ashamed of his own performance in both innings.

    Himayun Mirza, USA

  • Kabir on August 8, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Pakistan has become the laughing stock of the cricketing world and the Butt of all cricketing jokes! This is worse than disgusting! No? Ramiz?

  • Dummy4 on August 8, 2010, 0:08 GMT

    WAQAR sir instead of laughing u and ur long list of support staff should make serious effort to improve team's fielding.... we are crying for quality keeper but we keep forgetting that keeper is fielder himself ,,, who is best amongst other 10 fielders,,,, when u have worst 10 fielders of the world,,,, it is natural that keeper will not have same standards as keepers in other teams,,,,,,,,, PCB keeps on starting talent hunt program every year ,,,,,,,they only look for batsman hitting longest six and bowlers bowling at 90mph,,,,, they dont count fielding as talent,,,,,,,,, they should start camps that only develops fielding skills of youngster,,,,, most of pakistani youth play galli cricket where there is no scope of fielding,,,,,,, the rules are modified for galli cricket ,i.e. catch after one bounce is considered out,,,, ball going to neighbor's house is considered out,,,,, role model is shahid afridi ,,, every youngster wants to hit sixes,,,, no body wants to stay long at pitch,,,,,

  • shahid on August 8, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    Yes it was a good ball which took Butt's wicket but it was a technically faulty technique that caused his downfall. He didn't play forward to a ball which was more like a fuller than good length. Pakistan players are reluctent to come full length forward to balls which are near to over pitch. Thats precisely what happend to SHOAIB MALIK in the first innings. And yes Mr. Butt how will you ask the boys to hold their catches when you can't even catch those which a street boy of 8 wont ever drop. You have been doing this whole this season. Don't you think its shamefull act. All of you are so poor that non of you should be selected in a county team, if it was purely the fielding which was to be judged. What's the use dropping Kamran Akmal, you all are kamrans. Farhat has dropped dollys in both the innings hhhh. Feel some pity on poor bowlers who have to take 20 wickets when you give them only 70s and 80s as innings score. If you cant score than at least don't kill them in the field.

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