Pakistan take firm control on day of drama
It was a day of entertainment, drama and controversy. In the morning Pakistan batted with flair and such was the ferocity of the assault that the cricket often bore more resemblance to a one-day match than a Test. That session was rather overshadowed by the unfortunate dismissal of Inzamam-ul-Haq soon after he had equalled Javed Miandad's record of 23 Test hundreds for Pakistan. And when England batted, some good bowling from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was followed by a short delay caused by an exploding gas cylinder, and then Shahid Afridi clearly and deliberately appeared to scuff the pitch on a length during a drinks break. His ill-timed act was spotted by the umpires, and the referee rightly slammed him with a three-match ban at a hearing shortly after the end of the day
That was a shame as Pakistan were doing the hard work and again had the best of the day, and it was Afridi who set them on their way with a continuation of the blistering assault he started last night. At the close yesterday he told reporters that he would take things easy against the new ball this morning. He obviously slept on it and changed his mind, and from the off looked to attack. Even Inzamam, who had played a solid anchor innings yesterday, appeared just as keen to open up.
Inzamam, after a brief attack of nerves in the nineties, reached his hundred, celebrating with a rare grin, but the smile was soon wiped off his face. He played a full toss back to Steve Harmison, and the bowler immediately threw down his stumps. The third umpire was called upon, but while the batsman was marginally out, it looked to the naked eye as if Inzamam lifted his back foot while taking evasive action, and according to laws, that is not out. It was a poor decision, and one not even given with the excuse of the officials acting in the heat of the moment. Inzamam departed with a bewildered look on his face, while outside the boundary ropes Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, was more animated. It was an unfitting end to a fine innings.
Kamran Akmal, who got off the mark with a sumptuous cover drive, Naved-ul-Hasan and Mohammad Sami all chipped in with breezy cameos as England spent an increasing amount of time chasing the ball or watching it disappear into the stands. And after lunch, Shoaib deposited Harmison into the delirious crowd twice in three balls before perishing attempting it once too often.
Trescothick and Andrew Strauss saw off the new ball without alarm, but just as the crowd grew quieter and the fielders' body language showed signs of frustration, the impressively accurate Naved-ul-Hasan struck twice. Firstly, Strauss, who again looked unsettled, bottom-edged an ambitious pull into his stumps, and then Vaughan was cleaned up by a fast, straight yorker and his middle stump was sent cartwheeling. In his brief stay Vaughan almost accounted for Trescothick who was forced to live full-length after a mix-up, scrambling home by inches.
The in-form pair of Trescothick and Ian Bell then batted sensibly against pace and spin, but as England's thoughts turned to the close, Trescothick tried to cut Mohammad Sami and Akmal held a good low catch. It was a vital blow given that Trescothick is England's form batsman by a country mile, and one which will raise Pakistan hopes that even on this shirtfront, they have the firepower to wrap the series up, or at worst to ensure that England go to Lahore one down.
How they were out
Shahid Afridi c Trescothick b Hoggard 92 (346 for 5)
Edged low to wide slip
Inzamam-ul-Haq run out (Harmison) 109 (369 for 6)
Controversial decision after bowler threw down stumps at striker's end
Naved-ul-Hasan b Harmison 25 (403 for 7)
Played lifter down and ball span back into stumps
Mohammad Sami c & b Giles 18 (431 for 8)
Patted softly back to bowler
Kamran Akmal c Jones b Giles 41 (446 for 9)
Bottom edge attempting to cut
Shoaib Akhtar c Flintoff b Harmison 12 (462)
Holed out to long on attempting third six in four balls
Andrew Strauss b Naved-ul-Hasan 12 (33 for 2)
Bottom-edged attempted pull into stumps
Michael Vaughan b Naved-ul-Hasan 2 (39 for 2)
Lost middle stump to fast yorker
Marcus Trescothick c Akmal b Sami 48 (107 for 3)
Bottom edge to attempted cut, taken low down
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo