Tons for Collingwood and Cook

With all their injuries, England would not have expected to be in such a strong position against Pakistan. Their opponents however’ will be ruing a series of missed chances which could come back to haunt them.

England included Matthew Hoggard despite an injured hand, while Pakistan were without Younis Khan and Mohammad Asif. Andrew Strauss won the toss on his captaincy debut, and quickly made the choice to bat on a good wicket. He and Marcus Trescothick made a good start, adding 60 for the first wicket at good pace. Mohammad Sami and Umar Gul struggled to get the new ball in the right areas.

As England threatened to race away from them, Pakistan struck back. Trescothick prodded at a wide one and Akmal held the catch. Soon to follow were Strauss and Pietersen, both lbw to Abdul Razzaq. Both were fortunate decisions for Pakistan, Strauss had a hint of an inside edge, and Pietersen’s was going after the top. Pietersen had once again looked in sparkling form, stroking four boundaries.

These wickets brought together Collingwood and Cook, though Cook was fortunate to still be there after Imran Farhat spilled a sharp chance at slip. The pair had already compiled a big partnership, against India at Nagpur and they set about doing the same at Lord’s.

England dominated the afternoon session, adding 124 in the session. Cook was as ever strong off the back foot and through the leg-side, though the Essex left hander was slightly suspect outside his off stump. Collingwood was also strong off his legs, played the pull shot particularly well.

The chances still came and went though. Two came in quick succession for Danish Kaneria to Cook. First he completely beat him with a googly, only for Steve Bucknor not to notice the edge, while a dolly of a return catch was dropped by Kaneria shortly afterwards. Kaneria had Cook in trouble when he pitched it in the right areas, but there was too little variation in his bowling, and far too many short balls which were dispatched to the boundary.

Younis Khan, Pakistan’s regular slip fielder was also missing, and this proved to be a big loss for Pakistan. Aside from the difficult Cook chance on 0, he dived in front of Inzamam Ul-Haq to try and fail to take what would have been a simple catch for his skipper, and also managed to put down another catch that came all but straight to him. Collingwood also received a big let-off, Kamran Akmal dropped a regulation catch, a dolly even considering he picked up a finger injury against England A.

Both batsmen reached centuries late on, Cook endured a series of nervous moments before bringing up his second Test hundred, but he eventually scampered through to complete the milestone.

It was indisputably England’s day, led by the partnership between Collingwood and Cook. They added an unbeaten 221 for the fourth wicket, an English record against Pakistan.

England 309-3
Paul Collingwood 109*, Alistair Cook 101*, Andrew Strauss 30
Abdul Razzaq 2-60, Umar Gul 1-76

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