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

Butt refuses to be drawn over controversy



Butt takes sways out of the way of a bouncer during his composed 50 © Getty Images
Salman Butt continued his impressive run in this series with another half-century, again made by eschewing his naturally aggressive game. But his dismissal, in contentious circumstances adding to a litany of such moments in this match, took the spotlight away from his third Test half-century.

Just before he was dismissed by Shaun Udal, Butt had taken a single to point to what would have been the last ball of the over. But Darrell Hair called it a dead ball, after it appeared Butt had run on the pitch while completing his single. Pakistan had already been warned twice for running on the pitch during their innings, which prompted Hair to annul the delivery. Butt took guard again as the ball was replayed and was out leg-before.

Speaking to reporters later, Butt was reluctant to talk about the incident. "I haven't got much to say. It was the umpire's decision. He was just trying to tell me to stay away from patches of the wicket in my running. He didn't have a word with me before the first warning."

Butt pointed out that it wasn't intentionally done as he was attempting to run down a different line. "I was just trying to run a different line this time. I had collided with Younis Khan while running with him earlier so I was running a different line."

His dismissal was part of a mini-collapse which saw Pakistan end the day at 183 for 6, having been at one stage, 104 for 1. Butt, however, refused to blame the incident for his subsequent dismissal. "I didn't lose concentration after that. Things like that happen in cricket sometimes. The pitch has some uneven bounce in it and that was what beat me in the end."

Pakistan's approach while batting, particularly after lunch when Younis and Butt were at the crease, seemed cautious at the time but Butt said it was part of the team plan. "I think fourth and fifth day pitches change, so it becomes difficult to bat on them anyway. There is uneven bounce and a little spin in it as well. It was the team plan to bat the way we did today."

With Pakistan now 199 runs ahead and four wickets in hand, both teams head into the final day knowing all results are still possible. Butt said: "I think a target of anything over 250 will be good to defend on this pitch. We still have four batsmen left including Inzamam so I think we can set that target."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo