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August 8, 2010
Reprieve of the day
Zulqarnain Haider was brought in for this Test match on the assumption that he couldn't possibly have a worse time of it than his predecessor behind the stumps, Kamran Akmal, who dropped almost everything that came near him at Trent Bridge, and also picked up a pair that spanned five deliveries. And yet, had it not been for the advent of technology, Zulqarnain would indeed have touched a new void, as he was rapped on the pad by another ripping delivery from Graeme Swann and adjudged lbw for his second first-baller of the match. The UDRS replay showed, however, that the ball would have snaked just past the leg stump, and so he lived on. One ball later, he nudged a single through the gully to bring up the first run by a Pakistan wicketkeeper in four attempts ... but a remarkable innings was up and running.
Defiance of the day
Emboldened by his let-off, Zulqarnain set his stall out for survival, and found in Mohammad Amir his most obdurate ally of the innings. Between them they ground out a seventh-wicket stand of 52 in 36.2 overs, with Swann proving especially tough to break down. He sent down an impressive 67 dot-balls in a row, as Amir mustered one run from his first 50 deliveries and 16 from 117 all told, before Stuart Broad - armed with the new ball - finally broke his resistance in the fifth over after tea. But it was the show of fight that Pakistan desperately needed, and it gave Zulqarnain and the next man in, Saeed Ajmal, the belief to bat their side into the lead
Moment of the day
Zulqarnain's life story is a touching tale. As a 13-year-old in 1999, his mother died from cancer, a tragedy that he has used as inspiration throughout his career in cricket. Then, last week, his father slipped into a coma after contracting hepatitis, and therefore missed out on the proudest moment of his son's career. Little wonder, therefore, that when Zulqarnain brought up his maiden Test fifty with a sweetly timed clip through midwicket, he celebrated the moment with an alacrity usually reserved for double-tons. He saluted all corners of the ground - the building site included - before dropping to his knees to perform the sajda. As it happens, he found himself pointing in a direction that was more Manchester than Mecca, but until his anticlimactic dismissal for 88, it was about the only occasion he picked the wrong line.
Sidekick of the day
Ajmal's thrilling half-century had a touch of the Graham Dilleys about it, as he took the attack to England with an impish insouciance, and provided the sort of momentum-shifting spark that had helped Ian Botham transform that unforgettable Headingley Test of 1981. There's a long way to go before Pakistan dare dream of such a finale, but by the close their lead had passed 100, and seeing as they have already dispatched one esteemed opposition for 88 on this tour, hope springs eternal as an intriguing day four looms.
Ball of the day
Until today, Swann had been surplus to requirements in this series. Two seam-friendly wickets and habitually overcast skies had limited him to two overs across three innings at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston, but as soon as the skies cleared for today's third day, the world's leading spinner came into his own. His penchant for first-over dismissals is becoming the stuff of legend, but few of his 96 scalps have been as good as the one which did for Imran Farhat. Tossed up from round the wicket, the ball pitched on a perfect length outside leg stump, gripped and turned spitefully, and clipped the top of off to leave Farhat in a baffled heap, and England ecstatic as Pakistan's early resistance was broken.
Petulance of the day
For all his qualities as a cricketer, Broad has a brattish streak that comes to the surface with unnecessary regularity, and the merest suspicion of an injustice is usually enough to set him off. The tipping point occurred when a caught-behind appeal against Zulqarnain was turned down by Steve Davis. Hotspot showed nothing as England used up their final review, and it wasn't until several overs had elapsed that a delayed Snickometer reading showed the faintest flicker of an edge. By then, however, Broad had taken the law into his own hands with a wild and unnecessary shy at Zulqarnain in his follow-through, an act which earned him an instant talking-to from the umpire, with Andrew Strauss also called into the discussion, and a level-two charge from match referee Ranjan Madugalle after the close of play. One over later, and having used up his most accurate throw of the day, Broad squandered a golden run-out opportunity with a wild shy from the covers.
Strolls of the day
With James Anderson trying to make life uncomfortable for the batsmen, Zulqarnain took a leaf out of Kevin Pietersen's book, and decided to take a stroll. As the highest wicket-taker in the series pitched on a good length and tried to move the ball back in, the Pakistani debutant astonishingly walked three yards down the pitch. He seemed to have played on the bowler's mindset as a couple of deliveries later Anderson strayed in line, and Zulqarnain steered down to the third-man fence for his first four. It was not just Anderson Zulqarnain frustrated. Broad also gave him a glower as he walked towards him nonchalantly first ball.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo, Nagraj Gollapudi is assistant editor.Feeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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