First Test wilts in Lord’s heat

Today, England was officially hotter than Miami. However, the the temperature was all that was even lukewarm about the final day of the First Test.

England began the day on 258 for 7, 341 ahead of Pakistan, with those fans optimistic of a result, or at least anything beyond a drab draw, hoping for an overnight declaration. They were disappointed. Liam Plunkett and Matthew Hoggard combined for eight overs of toil before the Durham bowler was dismissed for a Test best 28.

When Hoggard’s first ball after the innings break looped into Salman Butt’s pads, there was the inkling of a result, but despite the Yorkshireman’s second strike on the stroke of lunch – Imran Farhat finding Paul Collingwood in the cordon – the overwhelming mood was one of lethargy.

Even as Steve Harmison found bounce and movement, and then Monty Panesar – plus more surprisingly Kevin Pietersen – began to pose questions of turn and bounce from the fifth-day track, with Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq at the crease, there never seemed any danger of a Pakistani stumble.

A double breakthrough from Panesar as the afternoon session pondered towards its end briefly lifted the monotony – Yousuf trapped leg before, and Faisal Iqbal slashing to Alastair Cook at second slip, but with six wickets to hold through the evening, Pakistan were always favourites.

So it proved. Inzamam eased to his ninth consecutive score of fifty or more against England – this first time this feat has ever been achieved against any opponent – and with Abdur Razzaq solid at the other end, the visitors eased to stumps.

Younis Khan and Andrew Flintoff are both expected back in action for the second match, with Salman Butt and Ian Bell the most likely to make way. With temperatures set to drop from their current sweltering levels, here’s hoping it brings some more lively cricket with it.

England 528-9 dec
Paul Collingwood 186, Alistair Cook 105
Danish Kaneria 3-119, Abdul Razzaq 2-86

Pakistan 445
Mohammad Yousuf 202, Inzamam-ul-Haq 69
Steven Harmison 4-94, Matthew Hoggard 3-117

England 296-7 dec
Andrew Strauss 128, Kevin Pietersen 41
Danish Kaneria 3-77, Umar Gul 2-70

Pakistan 214-4
Inzamam-ul-Haq 56*, Mohammad Yousuf 48
Matthew Hoggard 2-31, Monty Panesar 2-60

Match Drawn
Series Level 0-0

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan) – 202 and 48

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