Cricket / Fourth Test: Waqar takes the tail to task: Scyld Berry reports from Headingley

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Pakistan 197 and 98-4; England 320

THIS SUMMER's series against Pakistan was intended to be ideal preparation for England's attempt to win back the Ashes next year. But this fourth Test at Headingley has probably contained more tension and feeling than most of the Tests against Australia will next summer.

On the face of it, Pakistan, 25 runs behind with six wickets standing, are on their way to their first defeat by England since they lost on this same ground in 1982. England have made the most of their luck in bowling under cloud cover, both on the opening day and yesterday afternoon, while batting themselves in sunshine. So far they can thank Pakistan for their decision to bat first when the pitch was at its dampest and the ball at its most mischievous.

Yet Pakistan are not out of this game, for they will fancy their chances if they can set England anything over 80 runs to win, piffling target though that might appear to be. Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, driven by desperation in protecting Pakistan's 1-0 lead, could bowl out any side on a pitch so quixotic, provided the sun is not shining on England.

Yesterday the sky became cloudier and batting more arduous as the game went on. In the morning, Graham Gooch completed his first century against Pakistan, and his 17th in Test cricket. Thereafter, England's batting disintegrated as completely as it had done at Lord's, and opened up the first possibility of an England defeat.

Subsequently, the one innings of note was a remarkable one by Ramiz, who in defiance of all the vagaries of the pitch whipped a way through the leg side as usual. It was good field-placing which had him caught at backward square leg, just when England were losing the benefit of Neil Mallender's three- wicket initiative.

To analyse the causes of England's collapse is to delve into the very nature of the game of chance that is cricket. One day a batsman can be beaten by the ball once and dismissed; on another he can be beaten a hundred times and still be not out. It would be no exaggeration to say that during England's innings here Graham Gooch, Mike Atherton and Robin Smith were beaten a hundred times between them, while seven other batsmen went to the opposite extreme of fate.

It has made for a crazy match, yet a rational one within the bounds of cricket's own logic. Gooch, first with Atherton then with Smith, played and missed unendingly as Wasim Akram produced some of the most brilliant bowling any left arm can have produced. But Wasim, if anything, did too much, and it was Waqar Younis who cleaned up the England tail with an efficiency which was devastating even by his standards.

In all, it was no sort of day to enjoy corporate hospitality. The great and good tend to adjourn 10 minutes before the lunch interval, and to return some three-quarters of an hour afterwards. Those who did so yesterday missed a certain amount of action, as England moved from 292 for 2 to 320 all out.

Before the deluge, in the 98 previous overs, England had lost two wickets. Atherton had played his self-assertive innings as opener, where he has to. Smith, at last at No 3, demonstrated the toughness of mind, if not the softness of hands, to survive on such a pitch until he drove on the up to extra-cover.

Acceleration was due hereabouts, and Smith was right to try and supply it: after all, England had so many batsmen to be used. But then darker clouds appeared, and with them, finally, the umpire's finger. One moment it seemed impossible for a batsman to get out; the next it was almost unimaginable that another boundary should be hit.

Alec Stewart missed a full toss from Waqar, who semaphored incredulity that a decision should eventually be given in Pakistan's favour. Waqar had 0 for 99 at that point. A quick burn later, and he had his ninth five-wicket haul in his 18th Test.

However, the other wicket to fall before lunch went to Mushtaq Ahmed. He launched a lovely, dipping, in-drifting googly into the stiff wind of Leeds and bowled Gooch between bat and pad. Until last year Headingley had been the least successful home ground for England's captain, but now it is the only one outside Lord's where he has two Test hundreds.

On account of the playing and missing, Gooch's innings could not rank with his monumental effort against West Indies, but it was extraordinary for how far he forced himself forward - without then reaching for the ball, as several Pakistanis did in their first innings. Unfortunately, Gooch and Atherton's exhibition of batsmanship on a slow, low-bouncing seamer's pitch, was rather lost on those who followed; or, if they did intend to play forward, they were deterred by Waqar's pace.

On Friday, Waqar's inswinging yorker was adjudged not to have dismissed Gooch, but after lunch yesterday the very same kind of ball was adjudged to have dismissed Chris Lewis. Mark Ramprakash was forward when he swept at Mushtaq. As he did not score off his three balls, Ramprakash has not made a single Test run in the last year.

Alas poor Hick] His Worcestershire centuries and double-centuries availed him not at all. It would be pleasing to record of so decent a man, so brilliant a county player and so flawless a slip-catcher that he looked as solid as a rock at the crease; but it was only his back foot which turned to stone. It did not move, except posthumously, when Waqar bowled his first two balls at Hick, and this inability to get into line was more damning than missing the inch-perfect inswinging yorker which constituted Waqar's third ball at him.

Finding increasing cloud-cover, and swing, Waqar produced a brilliant piece of bowling, swinging one ball away from Derek Pringle, as the batsman shouldered arms. Low bounce, and inswing, were too much for Neil Mallender too, who was quick to get his own back when Aamir Sohail and Javed Miandad omitted to push forward stoically.

HEADINGLEY SCOREBOARD

PAKISTAN - First Innings 197 (Salim Malik 82 not out; N Mallender 3-72).

ENGLAND - First Innings

(Overnight: 216 for 1)

* G A Gooch b Mushtaq. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135

(415 min, 301 balls, 19 fours, 1 six)

R A Smith c Javed b Aqib. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

(138 min, 104 balls, 7 fours)

A J Stewart lbw b Waqar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

(36 min, 31 balls, 1 four)

D I Gower not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

(65 min, 49 balls, 2 fours)

M R Ramprakash lbw b Mushtaq. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(1 min, 3 balls)

G A Hick b Waqar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(11 min, 7 balls)

C C Lewis lbw b Waqar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(14 min, 11 balls)

D R Pringle b Waqar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(5 min, 5 balls)

N A Mallender b Waqar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(9 min, 4 balls)

T A Munton c Inzamam b Mushtaq. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(10 min, 3 balls)

Extras (b1 lb14 w1 nb23). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

Total (469 min, 113.5 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . .320

Fall: 1-168 (Atherton), 2-270 (Smith), 3-292 (Stewart), 4-298 (Gooch), 5-298 (Ramprakash), 6-303 (Hick), 7-305 (Lewis), 8-305 (Pringle), 9-313 (Mallender), 10-320 (Munton).

Bowling: Wasim 36-12-80-1 (nb12 w1) (14-5-31-0 11-4-19-1 11-3-30-0); Aqib 16-3-48-1 (nb5) (3-0- 17-0 6-2-16-0 7-1-15-1); Waqar 30-3-117-5 (nb4) (7-0-35-0 5-1-20-0 10-1-44-0 8-1-18-5); Mushtaq 29.5-6-60-3 (21-2-51-0 8.5-4-9-3); Sohail 2-2-0-0 (one spell).

Progress: Third day: 250: 336 min, 83.5 overs. Lunch: 298 for 4 (Gower 1), 101.3 overs. 300: 420 min, 102.4 overs. Innings closed: 2.33pm.

Gooch 50: 152 min, 108 balls, 9 fours. 100: 306 min, 227 balls, 15 fours, 1 six.

PAKISTAN - Second Innings

Aamir Sohail c Stewart b Mallender. . . . . . . . . .1

(13 min, 10 balls)

Ramiz Raja c Atherton b Munton. . . . . . . . . . . . .63

(143 min, 108 balls, 8 fours)

Asif Mujtaba c Hick b Mallender. . . . . . . . . . . .11

(63 min, 45 balls)

* Javed Miandad c Stewart b Mallender. . . . . . .4

(12 min, 10 balls)

Salim Malik not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

(64 min, 40 balls, 1 four)

Inzamam-ul-Haq not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

(9 min, 7 balls)

Extras (nb4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Total (for 4, 154 min, 36 overs). . . . . . . . . . .98

Fall: 1-11 (Sohail), 2-53 (Mujtaba), 3-64

(Javed).

To bat: Moin Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Aqib Javed.

Bowling: Lewis 7-1-22-0 (6-0-22-0 1-1-0-0); Mallender 15-6-26-3 (5-2-8-1 10-4-18-2); Munton 4-0-18-1 (2-0-13-0 2-0-5-1); Pringle 10- 2-32-0 (nb4) (1-0-2-0 9-2-30-0).

Progress: Tea: 45 for 1 (Ramiz 34, Mujtaba 9), 14 overs. 50: 72 min, 17.4 overs. Bad light stopped play: 4.37pm-5.46pm, 66 for 3 (Ramiz 47, Salim 0), 22.1 overs. Bad light stopped play: 6.41-6.52pm, 98 for 4 (Salim 13, Inzamam 2), 35.2 overs. Bad light ended play: 6.55pm.

Ramiz 50: 115 min, 84 balls, 6 fours.

Umpires: M J Kitchen and K E Palmer.

(Photograph omitted)

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