Mongia makes hay on sunny day
Pakistanis 14 for 0 trail Leicestershire 315 for 9 dec (Mongia 129*) by 301 runs
What with Sri Lanka busily flaying England's bowlers to all parts to complete a most-miserable 5-0 series defeat - oh, and the football too - there's not been much to cheer about if you're an England fan. And now another team from the subcontinent has arrived who have every chance of further dampening morale: Pakistan.
When their bowlers made early inroads into Leicestershire's line-up on the first day of this three-day tour match, any spirits lifted by the sun were soon dampened. But then came a splendid fourth-wicket partnership of 174 to reignite the good mood.
True, one of the dynamic duo wasn't English, Dinesh Mongia, but his century will certainly have helped the English mood. John Sadler will be pleased with his 92, but he fell on the stroke of tea to a return catch by Imran Farhat, eight short of his ton.
Mohammad Sami bowled well all day, but particularly in the evening when he removed Tim New (5) and Claude Henderson (0) in quick succession. Then came Leicestershire's declaration on 315 for 9, leaving Mongia on 129 not out, although he was fast running out of partners anyway.
Then it was the turn of Pakistan's batsmen to have a warm-up. Salman Butt and Imran Farhat had time just to have a quick dart before stumps, but will be looking forward to getting their eye in on Sunday.
Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, said he was satisfied with the way his bowlers worked on a difficult pitch. "The seamers bowled well and so did the spinners and they all worked hard on what was a sluggish pitch. I thought we played some good cricket and although the Lord's pitch will be nothing like this one, it was good for the bowlers to get as many overs as they did under their belts.
"We have been practising for two weeks in Pakistan in preparation for the tour and now it is a case of getting used to the conditions and settling into the rhythm of a tour. I feel we are well prepared and the fact that we beat England in Pakistan in the winter will have no bearing on this tour.
"I know that England have some injury problems but as far as I am concerned, I am not going to worry about what happens in their camp. We have just got to concentrate on our game."