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September 2, 2010
Pakistanis 264 (Hasan 105, Alam 97, Gregory 4-49, Turner 3-52) beat Somerset 256 for 9 (de Bruyn 122, Compton 50, Ajmal 3-40, Afridi 2-47) by eight runs
While attention was firmly focussed on the trio of players at the Pakistan High Commission in London, the rest of the squad managed victory against Somerset in the tranquil setting of Tauunton but ended with barely 11 first players.
Though hardly a panacea to the ongoing woes off the field, Shahzaib Hasan's century allowed Pakistan to overcome a difficult start to their innings, and a career-best 122 from Zander de Bruyn, to wrap-up a much-needed win. However, just to add to their problems Umar Akmal suffered a concussion before play after a blow in the nets, Abdul Razzaq pulled out of the match with a back strain and is doubtful for the Twenty20s while both Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz picked up niggles.
The victory was built on a 169-run stand for the fourth wicket between Hasan and Fawad Alam, who himself fell three short of a century. They came together with Pakistan wobbling at 43 for 3 but hauled their side into a position of strength before Somerset fought back with England Under-19 bowler Lewis Gregory taking 4 for 49 as Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for 53 runs.
The Pakistan batting has been prone to collapses all summer and was weakened further by Umar Akmal being ruled out after taking a blow to the face in practice. But the fight showed by the fourth-wicket pair will do the under-fire tourists no end of good ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series against England.
The innings began with Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali lasting just 10 balls between them before Mohammad Yousuf arrested the decline with a flurry of boundaries. Since his return from ICL-inspired exclusion, Yousuf has been unable to convert his undeniable class into substantial scores and having looked well set, he again contrived a way to fall needlessly, attempting a single too swift for his ageing legs to cope with.
It left Alam, who made a century in the first of his three Tests just over a year ago, with plenty of time to rebuild the Pakistan innings. In partnership with Hasan the pair began slowly before increasing the rate as the innings went on.
Hasan went on to reach his hundred from 117 deliveries to take Pakistan to a commanding 211 with ten overs remaining. However, his dismissal soon after reaching the landmark proved the catalyst for the collapse as Shahid Afridi became Gregory's first wicket. Fawad then fell for 97 and the remaining Pakistan batsmen could not resist Gregory's pressure as the tourists were bowled out 2.3 overs short of the allocated overs.
Chasing 265 looked well within Somerset's grasp even in Marcus Trescothick's absence but Craig Kieswetter, recently dumped out of England's ODI squad, fell to Umar Gul for 5. After the early loss, Somerset rallied as Shoaib Akhtar suffered a luckless and expensive opening spell.
Nick Compton and de Bruyn profited against the pacemen but get bogged down by the spinners and after reaching a patient fifty from 71 balls, Compton offered Afridi a return catch.
de Bruyn slowly built his confidence and alongside James Hildreth, the pair threatened to build a matchwinning platform but Afridi struck again to remove Hildreth for 31 and Somerset could not quite recover. Saeed Ajmal picked up three wickets and it was only de Bruyn who kept the home side in the game. He reached a century from 132 balls but could not find the support at the other end to keep the required rate in check.
With the off-field issues still unravelling it was a relief for the tourists to get the right result against Somerset ahead of the first Twenty20 against England on Sunday, now their challenge is find an XI to put on the field.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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