Rain dampens Pakistan’s series-levelling hopes

Pakistan saw off Andrew Strauss but missed a glaring chance to dismiss Alastair Cook.


Afp August 27, 2010

LONDON: Pakistan saw off Andrew Strauss but missed a glaring chance to dismiss the England captain’s opening partner, Alastair Cook, before rain played its part to wash out the remaining first day of the fourth and final Test at Lord’s.

England were 39 for one after rain had earlier washed out the entire morning session before bad light then stopped the match in only the 13th over. Cook, dropped on one, was 10 not out and Jonathan Trott was unbeaten on eight with England 2-1 up in this series after Pakistan’s four-wicket win across London at The Oval last week.

It was no surprise when Pakistan captain Salman Butt opted to field first after winning the toss in the kind of overcast conditions that have troubled batsmen from both sides all series. But poor catching, that has hampered Pakistan throughout this series, saw their 18th dropped effort in four Tests - a remarkable and damning statistic by international standards - as one of their worst.

England were on seven in the third over, when Cook was drawn into a defensive edge outside off-stump by left-arm quick Mohammad Aamir only for third slip Umar Akmal to drop the seemingly straightforward two-handed chance, much to the teenage bowler’s evident and understandable disgust.

Next ball Cook added to Aamir’s frustrations by edging him unconvincingly through the slip cordon for four. Pakistan then thought they had Cook caught behind off Aamir for nine, with England on 25. Billy Bowden eventually raised his finger only for the Essex batsman, fresh from a century at The Oval, to refer the decision. Bowden, after replays indicated Cook had missed the ball, reversed his original verdict.

But Pakistan got the wicket their new-ball pair deserved when Mohammad Asif produced a superb full-length delivery that swung in a touch to bowl left-hander Strauss for 13 and leave England 31 for one in the 12th over.

Strauss has now gone over a year without a Test century and he may only have one more chance to end that run, should England bat again at Lord’s, before they begin their defence of the Ashes in Australia in November.

Although the Lord’s floodlights were on, Bowden and fellow New Zealand umpire Tont Hill halted the match midway through the 13th over after it appeared players were having difficulty seeing the red ball out of the otherwise dark background.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2010.

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