Cricket / Third Test: Pakistan boil over as Lewis keeps cool: Boycott's run record is finally overhauled as under-par catching allows England to remove the threat of the follow-on

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Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .505-9 dec

England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390

IT WAS a rewarding enough day all round for his team-mates to join David Gower in a celebration glass, although the champagne might never have left the bucket had Pakistan not indulged in the cricketing equivalent of millionaires lighting fat cigars with pounds 10 notes.

Had the tourists not added Gower to their collection of dropped catches, and further tossed away runs with an avalanche of no-balls and a display in the field that bore closer resemblance to a collection of garden gnomes than the Red Arrows, England would almost certainly have been somewhere in the middle of their second innings this morning.

As it is, England more or less insured themselves against defeat in the last over before tea yesterday, when, with three wickets remaining, Chris Lewis struck the boundary that took him to his third Test half-century, and his team past the follow-on mark of 306.

On the subject of going past the mark, Pakistan's behaviour late in the day, however frustrated they might have been at England's last three wickets yielding 134 runs, will shortly provide further evidence of whether the ICC match referee (the West Indian, Conrad Hunte) is equipped with teeth or gums.

Aqib Javed took exception to umpire Roy Palmer's adjudication of a bouncer when Devon Malcolm was hit on the helmet ducking into a short ball that failed to get up, as did his captain, Javed Miandad. The next one was also short, and when Palmer no-balled him under the two-bouncers-per- over clause, there followed a not very much milder case of Faisalabad revisited.

Aqib threw a wobbler, Javed pitched in again, and there was then a series of angry gesticulations and what is euphemistically called a frank exchange of views. What next? Another short ball, a word from Palmer to his square-leg colleague, David Shepherd, and Aqib responding to Palmer lobbing him his sweater at the end of the over by throwing it back at him.

Palmer was pursued to square leg by almost the entire Pakistan team, Shepherd felt obliged to step in to help restore some semblance of order, and it was a blessing when Aqib pitched one up to bowl Malcolm and end the innings in his next over. Not the least curious aspect of the whole business is why Aqib was apparently unaware that a straight full-length ball is always far too good for Malcolm.

Palmer, who warned Aqib under the intimidation clause in law 42, has officially complained to Hunte about Pakistan's behaviour, claiming he himself had been intimidated. Hunte later summoned the umpire, Javed, Aqib and their team manager, Intikhab Alam, to watch a video replay of the incident.

This followed Intikhab's accusation that Palmer had been 'very rude' and 'insulting' in returning Aqib's sweater. 'It was not intimidatory bowling,' the manager added. 'Malcolm ducked right into it and Miandad was trying to tell the umpire that the ball was not short.' For his part, Palmer, who is standing in his first Test, denied acting in an improper manner. Hunte took the video away for further scrutiny and will announce his verdict today.

As for the cricket, if we thought that it was to be a day of unremitting attrition, backs to the wall, stiff-upper-lip stuff against Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, we reckoned without Gower. Graham Gooch sent for his tin hat and took to the trenches while Gower sounded the cavalry charge. In the situation he was in, most people could scarcely have raised enough spittle to sound the bugle.

He arrived in search of the 34 runs required to pass Geoffrey Boycott's England record, in circumstances similar to those in Adelaide when Gooch last batted with him (and subsequently despaired of him) and to a hush in which the dropping of a pin might have reverberated around Old Trafford like a detonating hand grenade.

However, if he was nervous, the Gower body language has never failed to convey the impression that his veins are filled with embalming fluid. Dig in? Within half an hour and 30 balls, Gower was past Boycott, and after 45 minutes he had made 50 while Gooch added 10.

Gower's share of a partnership of 93 in 16 overs was 62, and if he felt like tut-tutting when his captain was out shortly before lunch to a careless flick down the leg side, he managed to restrain himself admirably. In fairness, Gooch appeared to be caught behind off a ball that appeared to flick nothing more wooden than his shirt, and Gower himself had only eclipsed Boycott with a slice of the good luck that Gooch had enjoyed on Saturday night with two dropped slip catches.

Gower, having edged two of the three boundaries in his first 15 runs, then snicked Aqib at comfortable pace to first slip. Salim Malik, who had dropped Gooch there shortly before Saturday's close, made an equally palsied effort at this one, and was promptly fired and removed to the long grass.

There, he was able to blend in without too much difficulty, as Pakistan's fielding had to be seen to be believed. Their best effort of the day ironically resulted in Inzamam-ul-Haq, diving at second slip, dislocating a finger in a vain attempt to catch Gower. Even this created a hiatus, with Pakistan appealing en masse for a catch that did not quite carry.

Even bowlers like Wasim and Waqar, who rarely require the assistance of fielders to take their wickets, will drop their heads when the luck is running against them. Wasim scarcely got through an over that did not contain at least seven deliveries, and neither bowler achieved the lethal late swing that so unhinged England at Lord's.

The two umpires also annoyed Javed by querying the state of the ball during one of the regular spot checks they carry out nowadays, and Javed reacted by hurling it to the ground. While Pakistan bickered, England's batsmen moved steadily towards their target in misfields, no-balls, edges, and the occasional authentic stroke.

One of these, the cover boundary off Aqib that relieved Boycott of his record, was pure Gower - as was the stroke that got him out. Having snicked his second delivery after lunch for four, Gower waved his bat at a wide one from Wasim, and the wicketkeeper pouched the edge. If it is an English trait to be suspicious of perfection, it is partly why Gower is so popular.

If Gower's dismissal had its origins in minimal footwork, then Graeme Hick's entire innings left him in danger of being wheel- clamped, and a parking ticket stuck on his helmet. In one and a quarter hours (for 22 runs) it was difficult to recall a single instance of Hick playing other than from the crease, and he lost his middle stump turning a straight ball from Aqib into an unplayable one.

Otherwise, it was all good news. Lewis played maturely, and Ian Salisbury batted three hours for his maiden fifty with scarcely an anxious moment. As for the petulant scenes at the end, it was further evidence, unfortunately, that when Pakistan are on the receiving end, the kettle is never far from the hob.

OLD TRAFFORD SCOREBOARD

(Pakistan won toss)

PAKISTAN - First Innings 505 for 9 dec (Aamir Sohail 205, Javed Miandad 88, Asif Mujtaba 57, Ramiz Raja 54).

ENGLAND - First Innings

(Saturday: 72 for 2)

* G A Gooch c Moin Khan b Waqar Younis. . . . . . . . . . . .78

(208 min, 133 balls, 11 fours)

A J Stewart c Inzamam b Wasim Akram. . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

(65 min, 38 balls, 3 fours)

M A Atherton c Moin Khan b Wasim Akram. . . . . . . . . . . . 0

(2 min, 3 balls)

R A Smith lbw b Aqib Javed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

(55 min, 24 balls, 1 four)

D I Gower c Moin Khan b Wasim Akram. . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

(105 min, 85 balls, 12 fours)

G A Hick b Aqib Javed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

(76 min, 44 balls, 2 fours)

C C Lewis c Moin Khan b Wasim Akram. . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

(140 min, 101 balls, 8 fours)

R C Russell c Aamir b Aqib Javed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

(3 min, 4 balls, 1 four)

I D K Salisbury c Aamir b Wasim Akram. . . . . . . . . . . . 50

(176 min, 130 balls, 7 fours)

T A Munton not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

(111 min, 75 balls, 3 fours)

D E Malcolm b Aqib Javed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

(16 min, 11 balls, 1 four)

Extras (b8 lb8 w2 nb35). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Total (487 min, 100.4 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390

Fall: 1-41 (Stewart), 2-42 (Atherton), 3-93 (Smith), 4-186 (Gooch), 5-200 (Gower), 6-252 (Hick), 7-256 (Russell), 8-315 (Lewis), 9-379 (Salisbury), 10-390 (Malcolm).

Bowling: Wasim Akram 36-4-128-5 (nb32 w2) (10-1-33-2, 5-0-29-0, 5-1-19-1, 6-0-29-0, 8-2-14-1, 2-0-4-1); Waqar Younis 32-6-96-1 (11-3-30-0, 2-0-14-0, 9-0-27-1, 7-2-20-0, 3-1-5-0); Aqib Javed 21.4-1-100-4 (nb11) (1-0-8-0, 6-0-47-1, 8-0-24-2, 6.4-1-21-1); Asif Mujtaba 1-1-0-0; Mushtaq Ahmed 10-1-50-0 (5-1-19-0, 2-0-20-0, 3-0-11-0).

Progress: 100: 129 min, 25.2 overs. 150: 166 min, 32.5 overs. Lunch: 195-4 (Gower 69, Hick 2), 46 overs. 200: 231 min, 46.3 overs. 250: 285 min, 58 overs. 300: 345 min, 70 overs. Tea: 307-7 (Lewis 53, Salisbury 15), 71 overs. 350: 424 min, 87.5 overs. New ball: 364-8, 90.1 overs. Innings closed: 6.21pm.

Gooch's 50: 123 min, 97 balls, 7 fours.

Gower's 34 (to become leading England Test run-scorer): 31 min, 30 balls, 6 fours. Gower's 50: 44 min, 42 balls, 8 fours.

Lewis's 50: 114 min, 88 balls, 8 fours.

Salisbury's 50: 166 min, 121 balls, 7 fours.

Umpires: R Palmer and D R Shepherd.

First Test (Edgbaston): Pakistan 446 for 6 dec; England 459 for 9. Match drawn.

Second Test (Lord's): England 255 and 175; Pakistan 293 and 141 for 8. Pakistan won by two wickets.

Fourth Test: Headingley, 23 to 27 July.

Fifth Test: The Oval, 6 to 10 August.

County reports, Scoreboard, page 30

(Photograph omitted)

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