Patron's XI v England XI, Rawalpindi, 3rd day November 2, 2005

Giles and Plunkett bowl England to remarkable victory

England 256 for 9 dec and 112 (Arafat 5-31) beat PCB Patron's XI 211 and 105 (Plunkett 4-16, Giles 4-38) by 52 runs

Ashley Giles picked up four wickets to save England's blushes © Getty Images
Ashley Giles and Liam Plunkett dug England out of a great big hole on the final day at Rawalpindi, grabbing four wickets apiece to seal a nervy 52-run victory. Having eased to 50 for 0 in pursuit of 158, the PCB Patron's XI lost all ten wickets for 55 in the space of 23 overs. It was left to Shaun Udal to complete the formalities after tea, wrapping up the last two wickets to complete a satisfactory bowling workout ahead of the second warm-up match, which begins at Lahore later this week.

If the bowlers could be happy with their efforts, however, the same could not be said of the batsmen. Had it not been for the efforts of Marcus Trescothick, who took his match tally to 162 not out with an unbeaten 38 in the second innings, England would have been unable to set the Patron's XI even the smallest of targets. They had been braced for an embarrassment after resuming on 39 for 6 this morning, but an important eighth-wicket partnership of 56 between Trescothick and Paul Collingwood enabled England to muster a defendable total, and in the event it proved to be more than enough.

Thanks to Duncan Fletcher's pre-match arrangement that all 14 squad members could be used, England's batting line-up extended way beyond the normal limits. Collingwood and Ian Bell were the overnight incumbents, and both were seeking a big innings to push their claims for a place in the first Test at Multan. Bell, however, cut a sorry figure as Yasir Arafat pinned him on the crease for 1. It was his second failure of the match and, allied to the pair he recorded at The Oval against Australia, it seems increasingly likely to condemn him to the also-rans for this series.

The real revelation in this match, however, was Arafat, who completed the impressive match figures of 9 for 76. He hardly needed the assistance of his fielders in producing a performance that recalled the feats of the great Waqar Younis. Seven of his nine victims were bowled, one (Bell) was lbw, and only England's No. 11, Matthew Hoggard, fell to a catch, at third slip, as he skewed an attempted drive. His two seasons with Scotland have reaped an unremarkable 37 wickets at 29.10, but two days against England could yet have propelled him into the eyes of the Pakistani selectors.

Yasir Arafat bowls Giles: he finished with impressive match figures of 9 for 76 © Getty Images
By tea, the Patron's XI openers, Asher Zaidi and Yasir Hameed, had knocked off 13 of the 158 runs they needed for victory, and when Kevin Pietersen dropped a regulation clip to square-leg when Hameed was on 24, it seemed England would struggle to save face. The pair brought up their fifty partnership in the 14th over, but no sooner had they done so than Giles struck to change the course of the innings.

Giles had missed the second day of the match with a stomach upset and had earlier recorded a second-ball duck as England subsided to the wiles of Arafat, but by grabbing two wickets in two balls he turned the Patron's XI innings on its head. First Hameed clipped a firm chance to a juggling Andrew Strauss at midwicket, and then Giles came round the wicket to trap Bazid Khan first-ball with a quicker delivery (50 for 2).

Plunkett entered the attack and sprayed a series of rapid deliveries on both sides of the wicket. But he got it right before the over was out, as Asher chipped a leading edge to James Anderson at mid-on. Three balls later, Asim Kamal flashed hard and was caught by Trescothick at second slip for a duck, and at 65 for 4, the innings was in freefall.

Faisal Iqbal didn't hang around, swishing a rising catch to wicketkeeper Matt Prior, before Giles persuaded Shahzad Malik to chop onto his stumps for 3. Khaled Latif then hoisted a mighty slog straight into the hands of Strauss in the covers, and when the becalmed Misbah-ul-Haq edged Plunkett to Trescothick in the slips for 14, their last recognised batsman had fallen. Plunkett reached tea with the impressive figures of 4 for 13 for five overs, and at 88 for 8, England were just about out of jail.

Udal, who had not featured in the first two sessions, then appeared after tea to push his Test claims, and he used his opportunity well, ending the resistance long before the last two wickets could cause England any alarms. It was a mixed performance in a mishmash of a game, and England now travel to Lahore to team up with their two missing talismans, Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison. Perhaps their arrival, and a proper first-class match at Bagh-e-Jinnah, can concentrate a few minds in the England camp.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo