England’s batsmen fail again

England’s batsman collapsed again against Pakistan A, but Matthew Hoggard spared some of their blushes with 4-39.

After last week’s 14-a-side affair, England named their likely test XI, with Paul Collingwood given the nod over Ian Bell in the middle order, and Shaun Udal taking his place as the second spinner.

England batted first, and it quickly became obvious that the dreadful batting against the Patron’s XI was not a one-off. Once again it was medium-fast bowling that brought about England’s downfall, this time it was Shahid Nazir and Mohammad Asif who would tear through England’s batting.

Strauss was the first back to the pavilion, edging Nazir to slip. WIth no further runs added, his opening partner was left with just one stump, thanks to an inswinger from Mohammad Asif. With Vaughan looking in good touch, Kevin Pietersen , who certainly wasn’t, shared a partnership of 21 with his skipper, before an unneccessarily flamboyant cover drive got a nick to the keeper off Nazir.

Not to be outdone, Mohammad Asif sent Vaughan on his way the very next over, Shahid Yousuf pouching his 2nd catch of the morning. Paul Collingwood, keen to show Duncan Fletcher that picking him was the right choice, failed miserably in his quest to do so, giving Shahid Yousuf his 3rd catch.

Under growing pressure from Matt Prior, Geraint Jones did little to impress, losing his middle stump to Asif without scoring. Andrew Flintoff, England’s Ashes hero, attempted to blast England out of trouble, bringing up England’s 50 with a glorious pull shot. He didn’t last long after that though, looping an easy catch to the awaiting Arshad Khan at mid-off, Asif claiming his 5th scalp of the day.

At 54-7 England were in big trouble. England’s spin pairing, Shaun Udal and Ashley Giles did their best to give England’s total some respectability, scoring 23 and 21 respectively. Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison took England into 3 figures, with Harmison’s 18 including 4 boundaries. Their resistance did not last long, with Harmison’s wild cut stroke meaning Mohammad Asif claimed his 7th wicket, and began to firmly knock on the door of the test side.

Following their batting efforts, Hoggard and Harmison shared the new ball, with varying levels of success. Hoggard, among the team members affected with a viral infection, sent opener Taufeeq Umar on his way with a sharp return catch. 2 balls later, number 3 Faisal Athar was accounted for, caught behind by Geraint Jones.

Hoggard’s next 2 victims were the aggressive Shahid Yousuf and Imran Farhat, and their wickets left Pakistan A at 46-4. With Hoggard out the attack, Paul Collingwood was brought on first change, and the decision paid off immediately as he bowled Mansoor Amjad for 7.

With Hoggard out of the attack, Hasan Raza and Amin-ur-Rehman were able to share a 60 run partership, but the introduction of Ashley Giles allowed England to claim 3 more wickets before stumps, with Pakistan A 127-8. Harmison and Flintoff, fresh off a plane from Melbourne, were both wicketless, but should have another chance with the ball in the match.

England’s batting still remains a problem, but the batsmen have another chance tomorrow, after the tailenders have been dismissed. Andrew Strauss, as ever, remained realistic about the situation: “It’s hard to say what the problem is, certainly the wicket did a bit this morning, and sometimes it’s the wickets that do a bit rather than a lot that cause people to end up nicking or missing. Of course, we’re not overly happy with our batting performance, but there’s no doubt that the wicket did assist the bowlers. Hopefully we’ll do a better job tomorrow.”

England 126 all out
Shaun Udal 23
Mohammad Asif 7-62

Pakistan A 127-8
Hasan Raza 34, Amin-ur-Rehman 32
Matthew Hoggard 4-39, Ashley Giles 3-14

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Alex Crampton