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Pakistan's final warm-up match ends in bore draw
by AFP


Ground:St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury
Scorecard:England A v Pakistanis
Player:Salman Butt, IR Bell, AN Cook
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 9th July 2006

 

Pakistan's final first-class match before next week's first Test against England petered out into a ludicrous draw with England A on the final day here Sunday.

 

The tourists, set an improbable 507 in a minimum of 46 overs for victory - a run-rate of 11 an over - finished on 154 for two in their second innings.

 

Mohammad Yousuf was 35 not out and Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq 20 not out after openers Salman Butt (50) and Imran Farhat (44) had retired to give their team-mates a chance to have a bat.

 

Pakistan were 51 without loss at tea, still needing a further 456 to win, after England A declared their second innings on 153 for one.

 

Alastair Cook was 80 not out and Ian Bell 50 not out after both batsmen had been included in England's 13-man squad announced earlier Sunday for the opening match of a four-Test series starting at Lord's on Thursday.

 

Pakistan, clearly unimpressed by England's decision to bat for more than two days in their first innings, only bowled part-time spinners Butt and Farhat on Sunday.

 

Their tit-for-tat response to England's tactics was understandable as they tried to keep their remaining fit pacemen fresh.

 

In the rain-affected morning session, when only 10 overs were possible, Pakistan saw fast bowler Mohammad Sami hit on the right knee while fielding at mid-wicket.

 

They took the field Sunday without fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who had an injection in his right elbow on Saturday and is not expected to be fit until the eve of the first Test.

 

And first-choice gloveman Kamran Akmal again did not keep wicket as a precaution after bruising his left index finger on Thursday morning.

 

Spearhead quick Shoaib Akhtar is currently sidelined with an ankle problem while fellow paceman Rana Naved is struggling with a groin injury.

 

Uncapped left-arm seamer Samiullah Niazi is being flown over from Pakistan as cover.

 

By bowling their opening batsmen, Pakistan also reduced the chances of Bell and Cook getting meaningful practice.

 

England A responded to this late in the day when captain Robert Key brought himself and fellow batsmen Cook and Owais Shah into the attack.

 

Bell, who has bowled medium-pace at international level, decided to send down off-breaks here only to drop a caught and bowled chance off Yousuf, then on 18.

 

And the match became increasingly absurd when wicket-keeper Chris Read removed his pads and came on to bowl.

 

That meant all of England's XI had bowled - except Matthew Hoggard, the one man the selectors were most keen to see bowl, - after the swing specialist had his bowling hand trodden on by Yorkshire colleague Tim Bresnan in a warm-up accident before Saturday's play.

 

Hoggard then had six stitches inserted into his right hand and on Sunday the selectors called Jon Lewis into the Test squad as cover.

 

England A scored 595 for nine declared in their first innings and then dismissed Pakistan for 242.

 

But Key didn't enforce the follow-on, despite a lead of 353, and from then on the match rapidly ceased to have much meaning.

 

Cook, who in the first innings only made three, went to a 95-ball fifty with five fours before Bell, who made 74 first time around, completed his second half-century of the match. Key then declared.

 

In the hosts' first innings former England keeper Read scored 150 not out and Key, himself an ex-England batsman, 136.

 

Then off-spinner Jamie Dalrymple, one of England's few successes in their 5-0 one-day series thrashing by Sri Lanka, took four for 61.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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