Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 4th day November 23, 2005

England attack keeps Test alive

Pakistan 462 and 183 for 6 (Butt 50, Inzamam 41*, Naved 0*, Flintoff 3-46) lead England 446 (Bell 115, Pietersen 100, Afridi 4-95) by 199 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Gallery of the day

Shahid Afridi was bowled by Andrew Flintoff first ball © AFP

England fought back brilliantly on the fourth day at Faisalabad thanks to plucky tail-end resistance and another marathon performance from Andrew Flintoff. Pakistan closed on 183 for 6 leading by 199 runs, with Inzamam-ul-Haq not-out on 41 and, intriguingly, all three results are now possible.

Flintoff breathed life into a Test which, at one stage in the afternoon session, appeared to be drifting inevitably towards a draw. Stunning Pakistan with two wickets in two balls, he put England right back into the match with a genuine chance of victory.

Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf had played confidently, bringing up their fifty partnership at a good rate until Flintoff's double strike. Yousuf chopped an inswinger on to his stumps which brought the crowd-favourite Shahid Afridi to the wicket. The vociferous crowd erupted, cheering and applauding him to the crease - but Flintoff, getting the ball to swing and bowling at a sharp pace, nipped one back to comprehensively bowl him.

Afridi trudged off, as did thousands of his fans who crammed every exit - their hero had fallen, and Faisalabad fell silent. Well, apart from a jubilant and raucous England team that is. Flintoff's reaction to the second wicket said plenty: exhausted, arms aloft and chanting to his team-mates, his hard work had paid off for England who scented a chance. He failed to get his hat-trick but the damage had been done, and Pakistan's comfortable position was made distinctly uneasy.

In the dying moments of the day, Harmison added the final touch when Kamran Akmal was defeated by a quick outswinger

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan drops another one. Pakistan let themselves down again with their fielding © AFP

England had to fight hard in the morning session to restrict Pakistan's lead by as much as possible - a feat they managed largely thanks to Harmison and Shaun Udal, who swatted and smashed with tail-end exuberance in a crucial partnership worth 47. With runs at a premium, Harmison's first attempt at a reverse-sweep off Danish Kaneria was successful - even elegant - which demonstrated just how placid the pitch was. However Pakistan, much like yesterday, let themselves down with their sloppy fielding; chances were created, but their outfielders simply failed to take them. A lead of 71 had been cut down to just 16 and England went to lunch the more relieved of the two teams.

The first breakthrough for England in Pakistan's second innings came immediately after lunch as Shoaib Malik limply picked out Ian Bell at short cover after he and Salman Butt put on their second fifty partnership of the match. Younis Khan looked in elegant touch, flicking Giles for two classy fours as he and Butt, whose excellent form continued, refused to take any risks, no doubt content with their 1-0 lead in the series.

Udal, who earlier struck a punchy and resilient 33 to help England restrict the deficit, trapped Butt lbw for 50. The ball before, Butt had taken off for a quick single, but Darrell Hair cancelled the run, warning him for encroaching on the centre of the pitch - for the second time. This of course brought the batsman back on strike - to his peril. Butt became the third Pakistani to be warned for trespassing on a length, after Afridi and Danish Kaneria yesterday.

Then came Flintoff. His figures of 3 for 46 were just reward for an immensely committed performance - he bowled a spell of nine overs on the trot in the final session - but his work is only half done. While Inzamam is at the crease, Pakistan are still in the hunt.

How they were out

Resuming on 391 for 7

Ashley Giles b Afridi 26 (395 for 8)
Nothing shot, beaten by spin

Matthew Hoggard b Afridi 2 (399 for 9)
Attempted sweep, ball deflected off arm onto stumps

Steve Harmison run out (Naved-ul-Hasan/Afridi) 16 (446)
Mix-up, batsman well short


Shoaib Malik c Bell b Flintoff 26 (54 for 1)
Misjudged length, hit in the air to short cover

Younis Khan lbw b Hoggard 27 (104 for 2)
Walked across stumps attempting flick to leg

Salman Butt lbw b Udal 50 (108 for 3)
Trapped in the crease playing back to a ball that kept low

Mohammad Yousuf b Flintoff 20 (164 for 4)
Inswinger, chopped it on

Shahid Afridi b Flintoff 0 (164 for 5)
Another inswinger, beaten for pace

Kamran Akmal c Jones b Harmison 9 (183 for 6)
No foot movement to an outswinger

Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo