Kent v Pakistanis, Tour Match, Canterbury, 1st day June 28, 2010

Umar Akmal lights up Pakistan batting

Mark Pennell at Canterbury

Kent 2 for 0 trail Pakistanis 360 ( Umar Akmal 153, Lawson 4-93) by 358 runs with 10 wickets remaining

It was more gloom and doom than 'Boom Boom' for star one-day batsman Shahid Afridi after Pakistan's enigmatic captain suffered a six-ball duck on the opening day of their second tour game against Kent in Canterbury.

Instead of watching Afridi dispatch the ball to all parts, Kent and Pakistan supporters had to contend themselves with a workmanlike 153 from Umar Akmal as Pakistan recovered from a sticky start of 53 for 3 to rack up 360 all out in temperatures more akin to Gujranwala than the Garden of England.

Having elected to rest the majority of their first choice side for this first-class fixture, Kent gave a county debut to former Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Middlesex leg-spinner Mark Lawson and welcomed back seamers Dewald Nel and Robbie Joseph after long-term injuries. The hosts also included their former Academy all-rounders Matt Coles and Alex Blake in a side led by former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood.

Though understandably batting first in sublime conditions and against a makeshift county attack, Pakistan made a miserable start by losing four wickets for 112 in the opening session of this three-day friendly. Looking ill at ease against a seaming ball, the tourists lost their first three batsmen all to leg-before decisions. Umar Amin (2) played horribly across the line of a Coles off-cutter then Fawad Alam (20) went in the same manner despite the hint of an inside edge against Nel, who was bowling his first over for the county first team since April.

Then, in the next over Mahmood snared Salman Butt (26) to one that darted back in to the left-hander hitting him flush in front and leaden footed at the crease. In the last over before lunch Shoaib Malik (27) was enticed into a rash, wide drive against Lawson to meekly give up his wicket to a comfortable catch at backward point.

After lunch the sprightly Blake, bowling again after a host of back problems, took two wickets in consecutive overs, including the prized scalp of Afridi. The 21-year-old had Kamran Akmal (28) spectacularly caught at gully, one-handed by Coles diving away to his right off an edged drive then, without addition to the score, Afridi disappointed his local following once more.

In his four one-day starts when playing for Kent back in 2004 Afridi averaged a dismal 13 and faced only 24 deliveries, this time around he lasted barely seven minutes before an impulsive drive over cover sliced off an open face to deep backward point, where Nel took a good catch on the run.

While Afridi sloped off to spend half-an-hour in the St Lawrence practice nets, so Pakistan's seventh-wicket partners Umar Akmal and Abdul Rashid set about posting a sensible partnership worth 111 in 30.1 overs. Akmal moved to a 73-ball half-century with a six over mid-wicket against Lawson, but generally played well within himself until he had reached three figures. At the other end, Abdul Rehman was content to play second fiddle, batting a shade over two hours for his 30 runs and two boundaries.

His stay came to an end after the right-hander over-balanced when attempting a leg-glance against James Goodman only to be stumped by a good piece of work by Kent's understudy keeper Paul Dixey, who was deputising for the resting Geraint Jones.

Once safely to his 150-ball century with 15 fours and a six, the diminutive Umar Akmal opened up his locker of shots with four more sixes, three of which came from lofted-straight drives against debutant Lawson. Lawson finally got his revenge and brought an end to the right-hander's 268-minute stay to another Dixey stumping, this time after Akmal had advanced down the pitch only to miss with a wild swish to one he had hoped to deposit somewhere over the ropes at long-on.

Lawson, assisted by three stumpings by Dixey, duly ran through the tail to finish with 4 for 93 leaving Kent to survive the final over of the day and post two without loss by the close. Night watchman Coles scored their only runs.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2010, 20:38 GMT

    On the seaming pitches of England, we need our world class batsmen- who are Umar Yousuf and Younis. no disrespect, but people like Butt and Afridi arent the type to play good innings in test matches - and we dont want to end up being embarassed like the Bangladeshi's were.

    We should try and call up Younis, but I fear Yousuf has said he willl make his comeback in the UAE because he knows what the antics of certain players will be in England- and if he speaks out against it because he is religious- THESE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS WHICH LEAD TO STORIES OF INFIGHTING AND BICKERING- even if he is in the right we will never hear the full story- we will only hear that he was causing trouble and other players were against him.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    Umar and Amir are the future of pakistan cricket. We need to make sure thay these 2 are looked after, and not allowed to fall into bad habits. I hope Amir is kept away from Akhtars influence especially in England.

  • Muhamad on June 29, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    (Continued). See how Pakistani team was playing from t20 2009 world champ to champion trophy and then suddenly we felt that they don't want to play with each other. How Afridi was performing when Yousaf was a captain and how his performance is changed when he became the captain himself. My bet, there are only 35-40 players who are on the radar. We don't have any Laras, Sachins, Richards left behind(even individual brilliance of Lara and Sachins could not win all the matches to their teams.)

  • Muhamad on June 29, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Agreed that Malik does not deserve a place in the team. So do Manager(Yawar, who was directed involved in Younis issue) and Aaqib(who excused Kamram Akmal and the fact that Waqar is already there. Not sure how does/will they stay in one dressing room. The point I am trying to make is that we should not expect Younis, Yousaf and Akhter to come back with a magic stick and solve all the issues. Even our batting greats have not been so good in SA or AUS. It's a team game and each and every player has to do his own job sincerely. We can blame captains, we can blame coaches, we can blame boards but actually it all rests with the players, that how much desire they have. The very same players sometimes look un beatable when they are in the mood under the same coach, same captain and same board(chairman) but suddenly things change and it seems that they don't want to play. (Continued)

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    Despite losing the early wicket of Salman Butt i think Pakistan has batted admirably. I would like to see Amin and Alam have some positive crease time and getting use to the english conditions!

  • TARIQ on June 29, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    To umair-- Yes, your point taken, but Younus was sent after tests and it was time when the team was rife with back stabbing and indecipline. Though the main culprit which is Malik is still in the team,, moreover, that manager is still around cos he is friend of Butt... Things would be ideal if they would have kicked out Malik and bring the Moyo and Younus back under Afridi for now,, this team can be back on its feat again but it needs good management behind it.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    umar akmal and mohammad amir is the future of pakistan criket team... it will be intresting to see the team unity and performance under the captaincy of inexperienced test captain shahid afridi...!

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    i am impressed with this young talent emerged from pakistan. muhammed aamer and umar akmal............... handle them carefully....... dont let politics of team and board destroy them.... well played young boys

  • Noman on June 29, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    I told my friends after watching him playing against NZ in his first test appearance that he is no less than Lara and Tendulkar without any doubt. He and Aamir are the two gems who will lead the Pakistan team. Just need one partner in bowling may be anwar ali. I want to see aamir and anwar opening the spell for pakistan. Just a pinch of interest Umar Akmal and Matt Coles of Kent both shares same birthday day and year and it was Wahab Riaz birthday yesterday :-)

  • Noman on June 29, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Well done Umar !! He is truly future of Pakistan

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