Pakistan A v England XI, Lahore, 2nd day November 7, 2005

Vaughan knee injury adds to England's worries

Pakistan A 138 and 31 for 1 (Farhat 12*, Nazir 0*) need another 214 to beat England XI 126 and 256 (Collingwood 61, Strauss 56, Mansoor 5-97)

Michael Vaughan lies on the ground after twisting his knee © Getty Images
England's preparations for next week's first Test at Multan took two steps forward but one giant leap back on the second day of their first-class warm-up against Pakistan A at Bagh-e-Jinnah. Though their underachieving batsmen finally spent some quality time in the middle, with Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood scoring attractive half-centuries, the on-field progress was overshadowed by news from the dressing-room, as Michael Vaughan sustained a worrying knee injury that could yet keep him on the sidelines come the start of the first Test.

The initial signs were none too encouraging. Vaughan twisted the same right knee ahead of the Lord's Test against New Zealand in May 2004 - the match in which Strauss stepped in to make a memorable debut century. Today Strauss was at the non-striker's end when Vaughan pulled up abruptly after turning for a third run. After several minutes' treatment on the field, he was taken to hospital for a scan, and though he returned to the ground before the close, he was walking gingerly. Dr Peter Gregory, the ECB medical officer, later admitted the chances of him playing at Multan are "slim".

Vaughan's injury came at a most inopportune moment for England's jittery top-order. Marcus Trescothick had already been pinned lbw for 1 by Pakistan A's first-innings destroyer, Mohammad Asif, and Vaughan himself had faced just one delivery when his injury jinx struck. Kevin Pietersen, who had been middling everything in practice but had managed a top score of 10 in three innings so far, was then sent on his way by Asif for a first-ball duck, and at 10 for 2, England had not even wiped off their slender first-innings deficit of 12.

It could have got worse before it got better. Strauss was dropped in the gully on 8 as he slashed firmly at Shahid Nazir, and Collingwood was reprieved on 15 when Asif at deep fine-leg stepped over the rope after catching a top-edged hook. But, slowly at first and then with increasing flamboyance as the sting went out of the pitch, the pair turned the innings around, with Collingwood in particular enjoying the conditions.

Paul Collingwood on his way to 61 © Getty Images
Collingwood slammed three more sixes in addition to his fluky reprieve, taking a particular liking to the looping legspin of Mansoor Amjad, whose action is not vastly dissimilar to that of Danish Kaneria. Mansoor, just 18 years old, kept his cool, however, to finish with a highly creditable five-wicket haul, but the manner in which England dealt with both his threat and that of the offspinner, Arshad Khan, was one of the more positive aspects of the performance.

But, having added 113 for the third wicket, both Strauss and Collingwood fell in the space of seven balls to leave England wobbling once again on 124 for 4, effectively five. Strauss was adjudged caught-behind off Nazir for a composed 56, and in the next over, Collingwood chanced his arm once too often at Mansoor, with Nazir hurtling in from deep midwicket to hold onto a swirling top-edge.

Andrew Flintoff enjoyed himself in his brief stay, slamming four fours and two sixes over long-on before top-edging a sweep to Nazir at square leg, again off Mansoor. But Jones produced his first significant start of the tour, and as the tail wagged with its now-habitual freedom, Ashley Giles accumulated steadily. He was the last man out, caught at mid-off for 49 to give Asif a hugely deserved ten-wicket haul. Matthew Hoggard then added a fifth wicket to his match tally before the close, to leave England handily placed in this particular fixture. The real battle, however, concerned the captain and his wounded knee.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo