Second Test Match

Pakistan v England 2000-2001

John Etheridge

At Faisalabad, November 29, 30, December 1, 2, 3. Drawn.
Toss: Pakistan
Test debut: Danish Kaneria.

England, who competed resolutely for more than three days and gained a first-innings lead after losing an important toss, ended up needing a watchful, technically superb vigil from Atherton to ensure defeat was avoided. When Hick, his feet apparently frozen, was bowled on the final evening, England were 110 for five with a possible 13 overs remaining. But Atherton, in liaison with White, avoided further mishap.

The likelihood of a draw was increased by the loss of so much playing time. Days were scheduled to be only five and a half hours long, but the prescribed minimum of 83 overs was never completed because of rapidly fading light. Only 382 overs were bowled in a match unaffected by rain - more than two sessions short of the normal Test match allocation of 450. Nobody satisfactorily explained why play could not have started at 9.30 a.m. instead of 10.

There had been reports of two, perhaps even three, different pitches being prepared, from which Pakistan would apparently choose. But when England visited the ground two days before the match, this was exposed as a ruse. There was only one strip and, as in Lahore, the Test would be played on rolled mud. It offered encouragement to the spinners from the start, but again turn was slow and batsmen were able to remain uncommitted to their strokes until the last moment. Conversely, the lack of pace meant some painful moments against quicker bowlers. Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Trescothick, Atherton and Hussain were all struck, usually because they attempted to hook too early. England were unchanged, but Pakistan shuffled their spinners. Mushtaq Ahmed and Qaiser Abbas were replaced with Danish Kaneria, 19, a leg-spinner making his debut, and off-spinner Arshad Khan. Wasim Akram played his 100th Test match.

England's return to the venue of the bitterest dispute of their 1987-88 tour, where Mike Gatting's row with umpire Shakoor Rana caused a day's play to be lost, was not without further controversy involving the England captain and match officials. Hussain was given out lbw by Steve Bucknor when the television replay clearly showed a thick edge. In the second innings, he was adjudged caught behind off his pad by Mian Aslam, the same umpire who wrongly despatched him in the third one-day international. Hussain's response was stoic. He betrayed barely a flicker of anger or disbelief as he departed but, privately, he was distraught. He later admitted to being in a state of "complete bewilderment" at his sequence of poor decisions, which also increased calls for the third umpire to be used for verdicts such as lbw and catches.

After Pakistan elected to bat, Anwar made a run-a-ball fifty before chipping to mid-wicket and becoming the first of five wickets for Giles. The left-arm spinner received some assistance - Inzamam-ul-Haq was bowled when the ball ricocheted off his leg, and Salim Elahi stepped back and slashed recklessly to point - but showed admirable control and patience. When Pakistan were half out for 151, England were making significant inroads. A sixth-wicket stand of 120 between Yousuf Youhana and Moin Khan shifted the advantage, but England were content enough to restrict Pakistan to 316.

Most of England's batsmen became established, yet only Thorpe reached a half-century. His 79 took 323 minutes and he found an ally in Salisbury who, although again wayward with the ball, applied himself for three and a half hours as night-watchman. Hick received universal criticism for pulling a catch to deep square leg the very next ball after Thorpe's departure. A string of powerful blows by White, who twice cleared the boundary, gave England an advantage of 26. They would have been behind but for 32 no-balls. Pakistan were forced to adjust their second-innings batting order because Anwar was absent with an upset stomach. But, after the excitable Afridi again lost his personal battle with Gough, Elahi, Abdur Razzaq and Inzamam set about establishing a potentially match-winning lead. Elahi was the most aggressive before he fell to a diving catch by Stewart when an attempted sweep bounced off the batsman's gloves. Razzaq, relishing his promotion to No. 3 on his 21st birthday, registered his first Test century, an accomplished innings during which he accelerated only near the end. Inzamam holed out to long-off shortly before Moin's declaration. Salisbury celebrated his first wicket of the series - and only his second for England in more than four years - by ostentatiously kissing the ground. England were set a nominal target of 244 in 62 overs, but a draw was their only realistic objective. Trescothick was bowled through the gate by Saqlain's "mystery" ball as he drove, whereupon Hussain received his second unfortunate decision of the match. When Thorpe offered no shot to a straight ball, England faced their first mini-emergency. Stewart stayed with Atherton for 23 overs but, after he and Hick departed in rapid succession, there were further flutters. In truth, though, England were always likely to survive while Atherton remained.

Man of the Match: Abdur Razzaq.

© John Wisden & Co