Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Multan, 4th day November 15, 2005

England's attack strikes back after Butt ton

England 418 and 24 for 1 (Strauss 7*, Bell 12*) need a further 174 runs to beat Pakistan 274 and 341 (Salman Butt 122, Inzamam-ul-Haq 72)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball
How they were out

Salman Butt made a well-deserved 122 © AFP
After a day which forked in different directions, this match has been left on a knife edge. Pakistan welded together a strong lead through Salman Butt and Inzamam-ul-Haq, but England's steely seamers blasted through the tail to limit further damage, only for the first-innings mainstay Marcus Trescothick to fall just before the end of play. Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell suffered the occasional alarm but survived the closing overs and England now require a further 174 runs for victory, with nine wickets in hand.

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.

Matthew Hoggard grabs the vital wicket of Butt during England's fightback © AFP
England badly needed a breakthrough, but at this stage it was hard to see where it would come from. They had managed just one wicket in the morning session, that of the nightwatchman Mohammad Sami. He had fallen to the fiery Andrew Flintoff, who was roaring to go from the off - and nearly got Butt first ball with a venomous bouncer which was gloved to the slips. But he had overstepped, one of several no-balls.

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.

Inzamam-ul-Haq hooks on his way to his 41st Test fifty © AFP
Harmison added Akmal soon after, as the batsman tried to steer over to midwicket where Kevin Pietersen was waiting. A nation held its breath, Pietersen held the catch, his first in his sixth Test. It may have been a simple chance - a big loopy one to deep midwicket - but Pietersen's wide grin told its own story, that of a man who had dropped his previous six chances at this level.

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.

How they were out


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)
Thick edge

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

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo