June 2, 2001

Old habits die hard for England

Dave Edmundson

Some of England's old habits returned to haunt them at Old Trafford that would have had any watching Australian chortling with glee. A spectacular collapse, which saw England lose their last eight wickets for just 75 runs, handed back an initiative to Pakistan that they could scarcely have expected.

It had all been so simple and straightforward in the morning session as Graham Thorpe and Michael Vaughan cruised along like a galleon in full sail. Thorpe hammered Waqar Younis off the back foot to bring up his ninth Test century and his second against Pakistan. Just as Vaughan was exuding his first signs of anxiety as he moved into the nineties, he was bizarrely gifted a maiden Test century thanks to Wasim Akram. Poor fielding allowed Vaughan to turn for a second run and then a wild throw sped past Rashid Latif to the boundary and Vaughan was catapulted to the magical three figures.

Then England literally ran themselves into trouble. Thorpe and Vaughan had run superbly, stealing singles hither and thither with the Pakistanis caught on their heels time and time again. Next, though, Thorpe attempted another one to go one past his career best of 138. Akram rolled back the years with a panther-like reaction, a quick turn and throw, the stumps shattered and Thorpe didn't bother to wait for the third umpire's verdict.

A partnership of 267 was over and, as often happens, Vaughan departed six balls later, touching a quick lifter from Waqar to Latif. England's lunch was now less palatable at 298 for four.

The all Surrey duo of Ward and Stewart resumed in the afternoon. This time it was Ward who took on Azhar's throw and again was woefully short. Stewart then had to stand and watch bemused as Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdur Razzaq folded England up neatly for 357, conceding a lead of 46. The stand-in captain remained alone on the burning deck with 39 not out.

There had been cause for umpire Shepherd to intervene in a sledging incident involving Caddick during his innings. This seemed to affect the Somerset seamer who was slammed for 19 runs in his first two overs, as Pakistan again set about the England attack.

Gough, although expensive, had been unlucky. He caused Saeed Anwar real alarm, an inside edge and a fend both going to the boundary but another short one was steered to Thorpe in the gully. Razzaq was firing on all cylinders but he attempted one shot to many and mis-hooked Hoggard to Cork at mid off. Caddick returned, bowled much better and was rewarded with the wicket of Faisal Iqbal. Things finally slowed down, England defended, Pakistan were calmer and bad light robbed a good crowd of eight overs with Pakistan holding a lead of 133.