England begin rearguard

Today saw a much improved all round performance from England. Unfortunately for them, they’ll need to improve further still to avoid defeat.

Steve Harmison was perhaps the most notably improved in the England side. Wayward yesterday, he was still far from his enigmatic best, but took four of the seven Pakistani wickets to fall today. He took a while to get into his stride, the overnight pairing of Inzamam Ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf ticked off the runs during an interrupted morning session.

England made their first breakthrough shortly after the third delay for rain. Inzamam played some confident strokes, but looked uncomfortable against Harmison, and a lifter took the shoulder of his bat to Strauss. Yousuf shortly followed, Hoggard pitching the ball in the right area brought a feather to Read.

With all but Faisal Iqbal of the recognised batsmen gone, the Pakistani lower order guided their team up and above 500. Most of the work was done by Iqbal, who played by far his best innings of the summer. He was on the receiving end of some verbals from Sajid Mahmood during an aggressive spell, although he had dished out plenty of his own from short leg. Accompanied by the tail, he played some pleasing strokes, although they were mixed with some less intentional edges over the slips.

England would have been pleased with this relative resurgence, but it benefits them little in the state of the match. They now had to bat, and suffered an early setback. Mohammed Asif, looking impressive once again, dismissed Trescothick for four in the third over.

Despite Asif finding plenty of movement late on, England reached the close with no further wickets down, Cook and Strauss dealing with the bowling. England will have an extremely tough task ahead of them tomorrow, and will be faced with Mohammad Asif and the prospect of Danish Kaneria finding turn with plenty of runs to play with.

England 173 all out
Alistair Cook 40, Andrew Strauss 38
Mohammad Asif 4-56, Umar Gul 4-46

Pakistan 504 all out
Mohammad Yousuf 128, Mohammad Hafeez 95, Imran Farhat 91
Steve Harmison 4-125, Mathhew Hoggard 3-124

England 78-1
Andrew Strauss 37*, Alistair Cook 33*
Mohammad Asif 1-40

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