Bell and Cook find form

Ian Bell and Alistair Cook, two players likely to feature in England’s game against Pakistan on Thursday, both found form as England A drew with the Pakistanis. Bell hit an unbeaten 50 whilst Cook made 80 not out on a last day’s play which saw the Pakistanis set 506 for victory in the final session.

Robert Key, who had opened the first day with a century, declared his side’s innings closed on 153 for 1 as just ten overs could be bowled in the morning session due to rain.

Salman Butt and Imran Farhat bowled 40 overs between them due to the injuries of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Sami, the Pakistanis’ two main strike bowlers. Farhat got Key the previous night, but both were easy pickings for Bell and Cook.

In the final session, England A used ten bowlers including Chris Read, their wicketkeeper. Butt and Farhat both retired out for the Pakistanis giving Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq, two players key to Pakistan’s series victory against England last winter, a chance to bat.

Inevitably, the match was drawn. However, strong batting performances by many of England’s ‘back-up’ players and good spells from their bowlers gives England a slight psychological advantage ahead of their first Test versus Pakistan at Lord’s. On the other hand, a resounding victory by Pakistan when both teams last met will give the visitors ample hope.

England A 595/9 dec.
Chris Read 150*, Rob Key 136
Danish Kaneria 4/158, Umar Gul 2/92

Pakistan 242 all out
Faisal Iqbal 82, Salman Butt 63
Jamie Dalrymple 4/61, Alex Loudon 3/28

England A 153-1 dec.
Alistair Cook 80*, Ian Bell 50*
Imran Farhat 1/46

Pakistan 154/2
Salman Butt 50, Imran Farhat 44

Match Drawn

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