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Zulqarnain inspires a magical fight back for Pakistan
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter


Ground:Edgbaston, Birmingham
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:GP Swann, Zulqarnain Haider, Saeed Ajmal
Event:Pakistan in England 2010

DateLine: 8th August 2010

 

The English side after the conclusion of the first session thought that they could wrap up the Pakistani innings by tea and earn themselves a well earned rest for a couple of days. All looked gloomy for the visitors before the tail showed that it had a mean sting. Debutant Haider along with his fellow lower-order batsmen, Aamer and Ajmal, frustrated the English bowlers and then counterattacked to give some advantage to the visitors.

 

Overnight pair of Farhat and Azhar Ali provided a glimmer of hope as they staunchly defended and then when the rarest of the rare opportunity presented itself they scored. The scoring was excruciatingly slow but for for the present situation it was the ideal type of cricket for the beleaguered Pakistani side. The pair added 52 runs in 26.3 overs as the English pacers soon began to show signs of restlessness. Broad after pitching the deliveries full the previous evening began to bang it short at regular intervals while Anderson failed to locate the right length to generate swing to disturb the pair. There were the occasional play and misses but the pair looked determined in the middle.

 

With the pacers being ineffective Strauss for only the second time in the series turned to the magic arm of Swann and what a decision it was. Swann for the 20th time in his career struck in the first over of his spell as delivered the dream ball of an off-spinner. With Farhat at strike Swann bowled the delivery on the leg stump with enough revolutions to dip, grip the surface and turn sharply taking the top of off-stump leaving Farhat bemused. Next to go was Azhar Ali who went for an expansive cover-drive to a big-spinning off-spinner from Swann and was cleaned up. Umar Akmal showed his lack of understanding of a Test situation as he tried to launch Swann out of the ground off the first ball that he faced and was nearly bowled.

 

Shoaib Malik never looked comfortable in the middle as he was persistently troubled by Finn who was getting extra bounce from good length. Finally that extra bounce consumed him when he failed to get his gloves out of the way as the ball kissed it on the way to the keeper. Umar Akmal shouldered to a straighter one from Swann and was adjudged leg before and not even the review could save him. With Swann getting appreciable turn and bounce he was looking as the most dangerous bowler for England. After lunch he consumed Umar Amin who was stumped as Pakistan got reduced to 101 for 6.

 

Debutant keeper Zulqarnain Haider after nearly bagging a king pair settled down and kept on end up with his eccentric method of batting. With a defensive technique that always gave the bowlers a hope of a wicket, guiding deliveries way of target to third man fence and occasional charge down the track to the pacers kept the scoreboard moving. Aamer always looked like falling to Swann as there were a couple wild swings and also some beauties from Swann which squared up Aamer.

 

As the time passed the pair began to look increasingly comfortable in the middle. The English bowlers were frustrated as to what was happening as the pair defied the bowlers. Slowly the pair added 52 in 36.2 overs to keep extending the inevitable. Success came to England after the new ball was taken when Aamer was taken in the slips by Strauss off Broad. Haider marched on to his maiden Test fifty and the English bowlers began to show their frustration. A beautiful flick from Ajmal ensured that England would have to bat again.

 

The pair batted with responsibility, grit and determination to stave off the hungry English bowlers. The pair registered their individual fifties while adding 115 runs for the eighth wicket. Swann finally removed the pair from the middle but the Pakistani lead had already breached the 100 run mark.


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