First Cornhill Test

ENGLAND v PAKISTAN

David Lloyd (Evening Standard)

At Lord's, July 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. Pakistan won by 164 runs. Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: S. J. E. Brown; Shadab Kabir.

Having beaten India 1-0, England were losers all the way down the line on their second visit of the summer to Lord's. They lost coach David Lloyd and captain Atherton for part of the eve of Test practice session (both being required to give evidence in the Botham and Lamb v Imran libel trial), lost Hussain and Lewis to injuries before the match, lost the toss for choice of ball, lost the principal toss when both teams were anxious to bat first and, finally, lost nine for 75 in little more than two hours on the last afternoon.

Bad luck? England experienced more than their fair share in a match not memorable for outstanding umpiring, but no one could deny Pakistan were worthy winners. Inzamam-ul-Haq's fifth and highest Test century would have captured many a Man of the Match award. But was overshadowed by some wonderful fast bowling from Waqar Younis, who returned eight for 154.

England's problems had begun in the Trent Bridge Test against India, where Hussain cracked his right index finger after making his second hundred of the series. The selectors retained him in a squad of 13, but both he and Lewis, who had strained his thigh, withdrew after unconvincing net sessions Knight, who had also broken a finger, in the Edgbaston Test seven weeks earlier, returned and there was a first cap for Durham's left-arm swing bowler Simon Brown.

Having already captured 56 first-class wickets for struggling Durham, Brown deserved his chance. It took him only ten balls to claim his 57th, thanks to Aamir Sohail padding up. When Cork - a veteran in this attack, having made his debut here 13 months earlier - plucked out Ijaz Ahmed's middle stump as the batsman went walkabout, Pakistan were 12 for two, in danger of wasting near-perfect batting conditions. Inzamam's arrival put that right, however, and 130 more runs came before his partner, Saeed Anwar, edged an attempted cut against Hick. Had Inzamam, rather than Salim Malik, been run out when both batsmen finished at the same end, England might still have taken control. Instead, Inzamam more than doubled his 64, reaching 148 from 218 balls before being bowled via an inside edge. His innings included 19 fours and, most memorably, an on-driven six off Hick that took him to three figures. Even so, closing on 290 for nine Pakistan were 50 runs short of par. They had lost wickets regularly after a ball change, the first of six replacements ordered by umpires Bucknor and Willey as the Reader balls Pakistan had chosen lost their shape. But the only significant swing on the second morning was in the tourists' direction: last pair Rashid Latif and Ata-ur-Rehman put together a match-tilting stand which gave Pakistan those extra 50 runs.

Detained in the field for an hour more than he wanted, Atherton spent barely 20 minutes at the crease, losing a dubious lbw decision to Wasim Akram. Umpire Willey, standing in his first home Test, later sparked more debate by awarding Knight two runs during the tea interval for an edge originally signalled as leg-byes, a ruling which lifted him from 49 to 51. With Waqar's wicked swing and Mushtaq Ahmed's teasing spin providing the toughest challenge of the summer so far. England needed all of Thorpe's skill and determination to limit their second-day losses to five wickets. Yet it was his failure on the third morning to turn another solid half-century into something more substantial (the 17th time out of 19 he had passed 50 in a Test without getting to 100) that gave Pakistan the encouragement they needed. Playing back to Rehman with a slightly crooked bat, Thorpe deflected a lifting delivery into his stumps. Despite Russell's continued resolution, England lost their last five wickets for 25.

Any hope they had of overcoming a deficit of 55 disappeared during a stand of 136 between Anwar and teenage debutant Shadab Kabir, deputising as opener because Sohail had damaged his wrist dropping Knight's leg-byes. While Shadab toiled diligently, Anwar dashed into the eighties until he was caught behind off the economical Mullally - the first of three wickets in fading evening light. Ample batting remained, though, and Wasim made his fourth-afternoon declaration after putting some explosive finishing touches to the sound work of Ijaz and Inzamam.

Eight hours remained, but only 27 minutes had passed when Knight fell lbw to Waqar. Atherton was dropped soon after that, but he and Stewart guided England through to the close, then lifted their team's spirits by seeing out the fifth morning. However, Pakistan have often shown that one success can generate unstoppable momentum. This time it stemmed from Mushtaq's switch to round the wicket; Atherton edged a leg-break to slip while trying to play against the spin. The door was only ajar, but the visitors barged through so forcefully that seven wickets fell in 75 balls while 18 runs were added. Mushtaq had Stewart caught off a glove, bowled Ealham behind his legs and won a fortunate lbw decision against Thorpe. At the other end, Waqar extended Hick's summer nightmare by bowling him for the second time in the match, found the outside edge of Russell's bat after a couple of welcoming bouncers and beat Cork for pace. Spin and swing had combined superbly. It was left to Wasim to wrap up victory just before tea when Salisbury edged a pull. Atherton remarked that the pitch suited Pakistan's attack more than his own through offering turn but not much help for the seamers, and suggested the Dukes ball is better for us, the Reader for them, but made both comments only after stating, quite properly: "We were outplayed."

Man of the Match: Waqar Younis. Attendance: 91,485; receipts £2,183,917.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 290-9 (Rashid Latif 7*); Second day, England 200-5 (G. P. Thorpe 43*, R. C. Russell 4*); Third day, Pakistan l62-3 (Ijaz Ahmed 20*, Inzamam-ul-Haq 0*); Fourth day, England 74-1 (M. A. Atherton 24*, A. J. Stewart 46*).

© John Wisden & Co
 
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