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The Bulletin by Martin Williamson
November 24, 2005
When Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen came together shortly after lunch England were 20 for 4 and facing a fired-up Shoaib Akhtar and less demonstrative but equally dangerous Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. The two batsmen eased the nerves, Pietersen in a typically crash-bang-wallop manner while Flintoff preferred a more cautious approach, although he briefly allowed himself to raid the sweetie jar when he slog-swept the disappointing Danish Kaneria for a massive six.
With the benefits of the new ball dissipated and the shirtfront pitch again dominating, Pakistan's job grew harder by the over. As heads drooped, Naved-ul-Hasan gave his side a fillip with tea looming. Pietersen looked to flick the ball, but a thick inside edge ballooned to leg and substitute Asim Kamal took a good diving catch running in from mid-on. And then just as England's pulses calmed as the last hour began, Flintoff gloved an attempted hook off Akhtar and the ball looped to Hasan Raza, a substitute who had just come on as the over began.
Inzamam resumed in the morning with his side wobbling, and the loss of Naved-ul-Hasan to the ninth delivery, swishing wildly at a wide ball from Steve Harmison, only added to that unsteadiness. But with Akhtar efficiently shoring up the other end, Inzamam saw off the threat of Pakistan being asked to bowl to save the game, and then cut loose. Anyone arriving as he closed in on his hundred might have been forgiven for thinking it was Pakistan doing the chasing - England's fielders were spread far and wide, and even Flintoff resorted to bowling leg-side wides to stem the flow of runs.
It was entertaining stuff for another vociferous crowd which grew as the session rolled on. Inzamam clobbered the first ball of Harmison's second spell for a straight six, and thereafter mixed elegance with improvisation, both being equally effective. As he approached his hundred - one which took him past Javed Miandad's Pakistan record of 23 in Tests - he struggled with cramp, but running was never his strength anyway so it hardly affected his style. He had his moments of luck, last night when he got the rub of the green with a couple of leg-before shouts and today when Andrew Strauss spilled a simple catch at deep midwicket off Shaun Udal when he was on 79. But he deserved the breaks.
By the time Akhtar departed, nibbling at an awayswinger from Matthew Hoggard, Pakistan were safe, and when Mohammad Sami became Hoggard's second scalp of the morning it was incidental. The real drama was at the other end as Inzamam cut, drove and scrambled his way to three figures before declaring.
The one over England faced before lunch was enough for Akhtar to prise out Marcus Trescothick whose judgment was all at sea as he shouldered arms and his off stump was sent cartwheeling. It got worse for England in the half-hour after the resumption. Naved-ul-Hasan struck in the first over of the afternoon, Strauss playing back to a ball which kept lower than he expected, catching the toe of the bat and spinning back into the stumps. Akhtar then weighed in with his second, Ian Bell nicking an ambitious backfoot cut though to Kamran Akmal, and the crisis deepened when Michael Vaughan was trapped in the crease by one that jagged back by Naved-ul-Hasan - in a game pockmarked by controversial decisions, the leg-before was mercifully straightforward for Simon Taufel.
But thereafter Pakistan huffed and puffed gamely, and although the last half hour contained a few nervous moments for England, by then both sides appeared to have settled for the draw.
Resuming on 183 for 6
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan c Jones b Harmison 1 (187 for 7)
Chased wide delivery, thick outside edge
Shoaib Akhtar c Jones b Hoggard 14 (234 for 8)
Nibbled at awayswinger
Mohammad Sami lbw b Hoggard 5
Trapped half-forward to inswinger
Marcus Trescothick b Shoaib Akhtar 0 (1 for 1)
Shouldered arms, lost off stump
Andrew Strauss b Naved-ul-Hasan 0 (5 for 2)
Ball span into stumps off toe of bat
Ian Bell c Akmal b Akhtar 0 (10 for 3)
Edged ambitious backfoot cut
Michael Vaughan lbw b Naved-ul-Hasan 9 (20 for 4)
Trapped half-forward by incutter
Kevin Pietersen c sub (Kamal) b Naved-ul-Hasan 42 (100 for 5)
Inside edge onto pad, diving catch at mid-on
Andrew Flintoff c sub (Raza) b Akhtar 56 (138 for 5)
Gloved attempted hook and ballooned to gully
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