Pakistan attack too much for England
Pakistan Under-19 235 (Amin 88, Salahuddin 63, Hamilton-Brown 6-51) beat England Under-19 199 (Aamer 4-30) by 36 runs
Pakistan Under-19s took a 2-0 lead in the series against England Under-19s with a 36-run win at Northampton. The varied Pakistan attack, led by Mohammad Aamer's four wickets, proved too much for the home side as they chased 236 to stay in with a chance of winning the series. Umar Amin and Usman Salahuddin added 123 to form the base of Pakistan's innings before Rory Hamilton-Brown's offspin caused a dramatic late collapse.
However, the England top order also disappeared in a hurry, undone by the pace and swing of Pakistan's new-ball attack. It's been a summer for left-arm fast bowlers and the damage was started by the rapid Aamer as Karl Brown feathered an attempted upper-cut through to the keeper.
Billy Godleman played some classy shots in his positive innings, but was comprehensively bowled by Mohammad Rameez with one stump left standing. Aamer then struck his second blow when Adam Lyth was trapped lbw by a delivery which swung back into the right-hander. England's problems mounted further when Alex Wakely was run out by a direct hit.
Hamilton-Brown and Tom Westley tried to rescue the innings but couldn't afford to take too many risks. With boundaries drying up, the required rate climbed towards a run-a-ball with Pakistan's spinners continuing the good work of the quick bowlers. The pressure brought Hamilton-Brown's downfall as he tried to steal a quick single, but was beaten by a strong throw from the in field. Hamilton-Brown knew the importance of his wicket and he slammed the bat into the ground in frustration.
England's last main chance of staying in the game went when Westley edged the left-arm spin of Ahmed Iqbal. Pakistan were impressive in the field and Liam Dawson fell to a fine running catch by Salahuddin at deep square-leg.
Their innings was well-placed for a more demanding total after Amin and Salahuddin added 123 for the third wicket. They began circumspectly, but soon opened their shoulders as England turned to spin. Amin, a compact player on both sides of the wicket, picked the gaps impressively against the spinners. Salahuddin - who offered a tough chance to midwicket on 41 - cleared the boundary three times, including two in two balls off Hamilton-Brown before another attempt found deep midwicket.
Pakistan then lost their way with the last eight wickets falling for 50 balls as Hamilton-Brown collected six wickets. Ali Asad was early on a ball and popped a return catch while Amin charged and missed as he looked for the boundary route. Some of the late shot selection was poor, but England deserve credit for keeping their heads when the innings appeared to be running away from them. However, once again the batting let them down and now, with two matches left, they are left with just a series draw to play for.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo