May 4, 2001

Gentle workout for Pakistan on opening day of tour

Pakistan enjoyed a gentle work-out on the first day of their opening tour match against the British Universities at Trent Bridge, ending it with a commanding first innings lead of 150 and with six wickets still intact.

Waqar Younis won the toss, inserted the opposition, and then saw his old strike partner Wasim Akram take two wickets in the opening over and another in his next.

From that early position of 5-3 the students were always struggling and they collapsed to 74 all out, just 20 minutes after lunch. Akram's early burst helped him to figures of 4/18, while Waqar himself claimed three of the other wickets.

For the students James Pyemont top-scored with 18, while Joe Porter and Rob Ferley were the only others to reach double figures.

Openers Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Wasim put on 48 for the tourists' first wicket before Wasim edged one to 'keeper James Foster.

Anwar looked to be at his imperious best as he raced to a half-century, with eight fours and a huge six. He cleared the ropes again and was in sight of a well-deserved hundred when he chipped Murtagh to Jefferson at mid-on.

Together with Saleem Elahi he had helped put on 123 for the second wicket as he sped to his 50, from just 74 balls faced.

Inzamam-ul-Haq arrived at the wicket in confident mode but trying an expansive drive at the tireless Murtagh he lost his off stump for just 18. The seamer is on Surrey's books and he picked up his fourth wicket with the very next delivery. A legside snick by Yousuf Youhana was brilliantly held one-handed by Foster.

Elahi and Younis Khan then took the total beyond 200 and remained together until failing light brought the players off nine overs early.

Afterwards Pakistan coach Richard Pybus was full of praise for Wasim Akram.

"He was not bowling against international players, but he looked very sharp and showed all his old skill," said Pybus.

"It was fantastic to watch on a day when none of our bowlers was going to go mad in cold, early-season weather. Wasim is in superb physical condition."

Wasim is more accustomed to the English climate than most of his colleagues and Pybus believed that helped him.

He said: "It was probably easier for Wasim this morning than it was for Waqar and Sami, because a lot of their rhythm bowling would be better suited to warmer weather - and they were not going to get carried away out there."

Sami's main problem was controlling the amount of swing in English conditions. "It is a learning process for him, and I don't think he could believe how much it was swinging this morning," said Pybus.

"But if you've got Wasim and Waqar standing at mid-off and mid-on when you are bowling, you are not going to get much better advice than that."