Eng. drown under Karachi flood

English cricket has a long and colourful history. Today’s entry in the history books was one of black and blue underneath Pakistani green.

With the hosts bolstered by the return of Shahid Afridi from suspension, and welcoming Yasir Arafat as super-sub in place of Arshad Khan, the hosts were able to take their offered first use of the Lahore wicket with a batting line-up down to Shoaib Malik at eight.

Three-hundred and fifty-three runs later, England’s stand-in captain Marcus Trescothick could have been forgiven for regretting his decision at the toss. From a tourists’ perspective, it was difficult to decide whether Kamran Akmal’s second successive century from the top of the order, Shahid Afridi’s 14-ball 31 – mercifully ended by a mix-up thanks to Mohammad Yousuf – or Abdul Razzaq’s 22-ball 51 was the most painful, or which of James Anderson’s 23-run over or Liam Plunkett leaking 18 from four balls hurt the most.

Following a reasonably measured opening stand between Akmal and Salman Butt, broken by a Liam Plunkett slower ball that the left hander spooned to midwicket, Younis Khan fell to the same bowler without scoring – but 84 for two was as good as it got for England. It was over a hundred runs later that England broke though again, Akmal miscuing Collingwood over the leg side, but the platform was built and Pakistan were ready to explode.

Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq were both forceful and scored at over a run a ball, but their endeavours paled against Afridi and Razzaq. The two all-rounders combined to strike 82 runs from just six overs of strike, hitting eight fours and five sixes between them as Pakistan helped themselves to 190 runs from the final twenty overs of the innings.

In reply, England didn’t clear the boundary once, and their top score came from super-sub Ian Bell, sent in amidst the debris in a lost cause at number nine. Marcus Trescothick played out a maiden, Matt Prior was run out for two, Vikram Solanki slashed his second ball to third slip, Andrew Strauss fell leg-before during a Mohammad Sami maiden and Andrew Flintoff was yorked by Yasir.

The game by now long departed and the asking rate above nine, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik shared the last five wickets as England subsided to a limp 188 all out, and a 165-run defeat that equalled their heaviest ever reverse, eleven years ago in the Kingston. Two matches in Rawalpindi remain, and Pakistan look by far the better side whilst England simply need more than one miracle.

Pakistan 353-5
Kamran Akmal 109, Mohammad Yousuf 68
Liam Plunkett 2/51, Andrew Flintoff 1/57

England 188
Ian Bell 37*, Andrew Flintoff 36
Shahid Afridi 3/29, Naved-ul-Hasan 2/31

Pakistan won by 165 runs and lead the series 2-1

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Kamran Akmal (Pakistan) – 109 (111 balls, 12×4)

Leave a comment

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

More articles by Neil Pickup