Pakistan openers show early form

Leicestershire 315 for 9 dec and 45 for 2 (Robinson 13*, New 12*) lead Pakistanis 304 for 5 dec (Farhat 81ret, Butt 68) by 56 runs

The supposed weak spot in Pakistan's batting line-up showed no signs of fragility on the second day against Leicestershire as their two openers, Imran Farhat and Salman Butt, put on a splendid 145 opening partnership as Pakistan declared on 304 for 5.

Against a depleted attack, the pair were quick to assert their authority with Butt striking 12 fours in his 68, and Farhat launching a six and 12 fours in his 81. However, the introduction of Nicholas Walker - the 21-year-old medium-fast bowler - brought dividends as he bowled Butt, trapped the Pakistan captain Younis Khan in front for 9 before removing the especially dangerous Shahid Afridi for just 13.

All of a sudden, with Farhat retiring on 81, Pakistan had stumbled from 145 without loss to 201 for 4 until, that is, Kamran Akmal arrived at the crease. With typical aggression and audacity, he and Faisal Iqbal (40*) put on 103 for the sixth wicket with Akmal finishing on an unbeaten 62 from just 81 balls. Four towering sixes and five fours pinged off his bat, as he took particular fancy to the inexperienced medium-pacer Ryan Cummins.

Khan declared with Pakistan trailing Leicestershire's first innings by just 11 runs. Before the close, they turned a good day into an excellent one with the quick dismissal of Hilton Ackerman and Matthew Boyce to leave Leicestershire in the precarious position of 45 for 2.