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The Bulletin by Jenny Thompson
November 15, 2005
It's a scenario few would have predicted when England were in firm control of proceedings well into the third day, but a sustained fightback from Pakistan, with Butt at the helm, has left both teams with everything to play for, although England have the slight edge.
Butt batted extremely well for his 122, his top score at Test level, and he showed a maturity and composure which belied his 21 years. He brought up his second Test century, his first in Pakistan, in an extraordinary first over after lunch, when he guided Ashley Giles's third ball to leg to scamper a quick two. Three balls later he could have gone as he scrambled to beat Paul Collingwood's throw, but Asad Rauf, the third umpire, eventually turned down the shout even though replays hinted that the bails might have left their grooves with him fractionally short of his ground.
The decision wasn't to prove too costly, though - he was out 19 runs later. And if England feel at all aggrieved then they would do well to remember that Trescothick could have gone when he was on 48, and he went on to add a further 145 runs.
Inzamam and Butt threatened to take the game away from England with some solid batting in the morning, exemplifying the team orders to be positive. They did not play with rapid fire; instead they had to apply themselves on a pitch which demands patience, but which was offering little to the bowlers.
Butt headed into lunch on 99 not out following a morning dominated by Pakistan, who were capitalizing on the momentum they generated yesterday, and he made sure of three figures in the first over after lunch. Inzamam did his bit, too, and he reached his 41st Test fifty just before the break.
Cometh the new ball, cometh the breakthrough as Matthew Hoggard trapped Inzamam for 72 after he left one which nipped in at him. In a swift passage of play England's bowlers swung the match back in their favour - quite literally - with a feisty new-ball burst that removed four wickets for 30 runs in 49 balls.
Flintoff removed Mohammad Yousuf and Hasan Raza. Yousuf had taken to heart the team orders to strike out and he put his everything into walloping 16 from 13 balls, including two delicious clips through midwicket off Flintoff. But the bowler had the last laugh as Yousuf clumped a loose delivery straight to gully; a dismissal which owed more to bad batting than good bowling.
The same could not be said of Flintoff's next wicket, a peach of a delivery which kissed Raza's bat and was held by Trescothick at first slip. Raza's stay at the crease was yet again short and sour; he made 1 to go with his equally lamentable duck. Butt was next to go, courtesy of a snorting awayswinger from Hoggard.
Pakistan came out fighting after tea, but England polished off the rest with some hard elbow grease. Kamran Akmal led a rearguard action, biffing a ferocious 33, while protecting the tail. He played sensibly and yet strikingly and his contribution could prove vital as he lifted to take Pakistan to 341, an eventual lead of 197.
Giles got the first breakthrough of the final session - and his first wicket this match - when Bell pulled off a great catch in close to remove Shoaib Akhtar for 11. Shabbir Ahmed was an easy wicket for Steve Harmison, falling first ball.
England were left needing 198, and they chipped away in the nine overs before the close. But Pakistan's bowlers applied themselves equally well and Shabbir, who bowled so well in the first innings, was again in possession of a tight line. Thrown the new ball ahead of Sami, his four overs went for six runs, but more important at this stage was the dismissal of Trescothick, as he squeezed through the batsman's defences with a ball that kept a fraction low.
It was an absolutely crucial wicket. Trescothick has been the only batsman to have truly mastered the conditions on the tour so far. Publicly, England will say they are confident of chasing down this total, privately they may be fearing Danish Kaneria and a collapse on a pitch now showing signs of wear. An intriguing final day is in store.
Marcus Trescothick b Shabbir 5 (7 for 1)
Ball kept low; chopped on
Shoaib Malik c Trescothick b Harmison 18 (31 for 1)
Forceful edge snatched two-handed and to the left at first slip
Younis Khan c Trescothick b Flintoff 48 (125 for 2)
Tired steer to gully
Mohammad Sami c Jones b Flintoff 3 (131 for 3)
Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw b Hoggard 72 (266 for 4)
Complete misjudgement - shouldered arms and trapped plumb
Mohammad Yousuf c Bell b Flintoff 16 (285 for 5)
Failed to move feet, steered to gully
Hasan Raza c Jones b Flintoff 1 (291 for 6)
Also failed to move his feet
Salman Butt c Jones b Hoggard (295 for 7)
Pushed at an awayswinger
Shoaib Akhtar c Bell b Giles 11 (331 for 8)
Propped forward, sharp low catch at silly point
Shabbir Ahmed c Jones b Harmison 0 (332 for 9)
Outside edge, regulation catch
Kamran Akmal c Pietersen b Harmison 33 (341 all ou)
Top-edge pull, high catch to deep square-leg