May 24, 2001

Pakistan batsmen dominate after Wasim and Waqar rout Leicestershire

Pakistan pace pair Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis ripped through the Leicestershire batting as the tourists totally dominated the first day of the Vodafone Challenge match at Grace Road.

Wasim took four for 19 and Waqar five for 23 including a hat trick as the county side - minus six regulars - were bowled out for 96 in 32.3 overs.

By the close the Pakistanis had pressed home their advantage to reach 201 for three for a lead of 105 with Faisal Iqbal still there on 81 off 166 balls.

But it was the bowling of Wasim and Waqar which was the highlight of the day and must surely have sent a shiver of apprehension through the England batsmen ahead of next week's Second Test at Old Trafford.

On a hard bouncy pitch and with conditions which helped swing bowling, both of them were almost unplayable at times. Wasim did the early damage taking three wickets in his first seven overs at a personal cost of one run.

Then Waqar took over dismissing Neil Burns, Phil DeFreitas and teenage debutant Omari Banks with the last three balls of his second over. It was his second hat trick on English soil.

Only opener Iain Sutcliffe offered any resistance with a battling innings of 55 off 97 balls before being last man out when he was caught at mid-on.

Although the tourists lost Abdur Razzaq to a brilliant return catch by Scot Boswell in the third over, they soon gained control with Iqbal leading the way.

He should have been caught by Paul Griffiths, skying an intended pull when he was on 31. But he survived to reach his half-century off 120 balls sharing a stand of 70 for the third wicket with Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Inzamam hit three fours and two sixes before being bowled by off-spinner Carl Crowe for 36. Yousuf Youhana then joined Iqbal in an unbroken partnership of 74 to give the tourists a stranglehold on the game.

Afterwards Richard Pybus, the Pakistan coach, expressed the sense of urgency within his team after the debacle of Lord's.

"I can't stress how important the game is to us," he said. "Basically we have just got these four days to sort things out and get our game back up to where we need it to be for Old Trafford.

"People are speculating about what England will do with their team and what gameplan they will have but that's not really a concern for us. It wasn't what England did at Lord's which was our main problem. They were solid and professional and had a plan and stuck to it with committed cricket but none of that now is a real surprise. The real problem was what we did and that is why every chance to get into the middle is vital.

"Obviously we are looking for the players to run into form and get the maximum amount of time out there but more than that we are looking for the passion and intensity which is such a part of Pakistani cricket when they are at their best.

"The most disappointing thing for me was that people didn't take personal responsibility for what was happening at Lord's but that result has obviously hit everybody very hard and I think we will see a much different attitude from these lads at Old Trafford."