Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott hit unbeaten half-centuries to guide England to an emphatic nine-wicket win in the second Test at Edgbaston to give them a 2-0 lead in the series. Both batsmen finished on 53 with the second-wicket pair making light work of a potentially testing surface as the hosts completed their sixth consecutive Test victory midway through the afternoon session.
England did the hard work before lunch and when they resumed 47 were needed with the bite gone from Pakistan's attack. Strauss went to his fifty from 108 balls then Trott brought up the same milestone, his second fifty of the match, with a powerful cover drive which levelled the scores. Strauss secured victory via a rather inglorious inside edge but he'll be highly satisfied by another successful outing,
The day began with thoughts of Pakistan continuing their resurgence from the third evening, but in the end it proved a stroll for England. The visitors had left themselves far too much ground to make up after crumbling for 72 on the opening day and they couldn't create enough opportunities to defend the low target. Two more chances did go begging off Strauss, both to the hero of the previous day Zulqarnain Haider, although the first was very difficult and the second came with less than 50 needed.
It took England just 11 balls to wrap up Pakistan's innings as Stuart Broad, lighter in the wallet after his fine for throwing the ball at Haider yesterday, had Mohammad Asif taken in the gully. However, Pakistan managed the early breakthrough they desperately wanted when Cook's poor run continued as his stumps were demolished by Mohammad Amir. Cook's footwork was nowhere and he is becoming a serious concern, although with Ian Bell still injured and the England selectors not keen on major structural changes he is likely to have the remainder of the series to revive his season.
Amir's eight-over opening spell was another eye-catching display from the 18-year-old and he could easily have collected a second scalp as he beat the outside edges of Strauss and Trott. Saeed Ajmal was introduced for the eighth over and nearly followed Graeme Swann's lead by striking straight away, but Haider couldn't gather Strauss's thick outside edge. It was a tough chance, but the type of opportunity that needed to stick if Pakistan were to stay in the contest.
The pitch was also offering uneven bounce for both the spinner and the quicks. Trott was beaten by consecutive shooters outside off stump, while Strauss received a grubber from Ajmal that just missed the timber. However, the two batsmen displayed impressive watchfulness and rotated the strike well with regular quick singles.
Boundaries were hard to come by, but both Strauss and Trott timed the ball nicely when the opportunity came. Trott produced the shot of the morning when he flicked Asif through midwicket, and he continues to develop into an increasingly reassuring figure at No. 3, while Strauss produced a sweet cover drive off Ajmal shortly before the break.
Much had been expected of Ajmal after his five-wicket haul in the first innings, but he wasn't able to provide the same threat as Swann. He couldn't quite find the right pace for the surface to extract the optimal turn and, tellingly, couldn't send down a maiden until his tenth over. Once again England proved far too strong for inexperienced opposition and Pakistan will have to show more of their second-innings spirit to avoid a whitewash.