Careers advisers might have been encouraged by events in the first Test here yesterday to suggest that seam bowling is a fit and rewarding job.
This would involve the revision of most recent information on the subject which has concluded that it is a dead- end occupation, but the fall, nay the clatter, of 15 wickets on the second day represented compelling evidence.
Six of them fell to Pakistan in the morning and another nine to England thereafter. Conditions overhead and the business area of the pitch were conducive to swing and seam, and skilful bowlers deservedly reaped the dividends as greedily as brokers in a bull market. Jimmy Anderson, on his 28th birthday, took five for 49 – his ninth five-wicket haul in Tests and third at Trent Bridge – in engineering Pakistan's downfall, given exciting assistance by Steve Finn, for whom Test cricket so far has been a doddle.
Their endeavours left Pakistan in a perilous position, and merely a week after the thrill of defeating Australia in a Test match for the first time in 15 years they are in imminent danger of returning to their losing streak. The tourists' bowlers, however, suffered nothing by comparison, slicing their way expertly through the remainder of England's innings with little more than an hour gone.
It was a pleasure to watch Mohammad Asif go about his work with the delicate touch of a surgeon, and his four wickets, all leg-before, all given by the umpire Tony Hill, were all stone-dead. Not that it was to any avail. When bad light stopped play prematurely Pakistan were on 147 for nine, still needing eight runs to avoid the follow-on. If they fail to acquire them, England will inevitably ask them to bat again and will be disappointed to be detained until tomorrow.
England, having posted a fifth- wicket partnership of 219 between Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood, lost their last six wickets for 17 runs in 51 balls. Peculiarly, this immediately augured badly for the tourists whose batting is in stark contrast to their bowling: woeful, that is, compared with splendid.
Anderson sensed blood immediately. He is a contrary bowler, as clinically effective some days as he is innocuous on others. The explanation usually provided for this is that he needs the ball to swing and if it does not, his quest for it to do so can lead to many other things going wrong. But, boy, everything went right yesterday.
Before lunch he had sent back the Pakistan captain, Salman Butt, persuading him to jab at a ball moving away late. After lunch, batsmen were falling over each to be dismissed. Anderson's second wicket was a thing of beauty as he came round the wicket to the left-handed Imran Farhat, slanted the ball in and then darted it away at the last to confound the batsman and remove his off stump.
These are the rare moments that bowlers such as Anderson live for, instead of which their precious talents are too often blunted on a succession of anodyne surfaces which undeservedly assist batsmen who are short on expertise. Soon, Pakistan's innings was reduced to the rubble of 47 for 6, their batsmen's inexperience allied to a reluctance for the fray.
Finn came on at the pavilion end for his first spell of international bowling since the England and Wales Cricket Board sent him on a strength and conditioning regime. Whatever this entailed, it appears to have had a similar effect on him as spinach on Popeye. With his sixth ball, delivered at approaching 90mph, he achieved a hint of bounce and a further hint of late movement and Umar Amin was snaffled at second slip.
So, too, was Umar Akmal in similar circumstances after Azhar Ali was adjudged to have edged Anderson to the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior. When Finn collected his third wicket, Kamran Akmal continuing his wretched match by prodding to third slip to embellish his shabby wicketkeeping, there was the serious prospect of Pakistan being dismissed for their smallest total against England.
That they managed to overhaul the 87 for which they succumbed at Lord's in 1954 was thanks solely to sensible methods adopted by Shoaib Malik and the apprentice Mohammad Aamer. As a specialist batsman with the ball becoming older, something of such resistance might have been expected of Malik but Aamer at 18 was equally sedate.
They demonstrated that batting, while not a bed of roses, was eminently possible on this pitch. By then it was too late but they nudged the total sensibly up into three figures, keeping the scoreboard ticking over. He might be a teenager but Aamer understands instinctively the old-fashioned virtues.
Anderson, returning for his second spell, did for them both. He had Malik caught by Andrew Strauss at slip at the second attempt, a superb reaction with his left hand close to the ground after fluffing the regulation edge, and then had Aamer held more comfortably at second slip, driving away from his body.
As the light seeped away Umar Gul came in and wielded the long handle, which included a six over square leg against the birthday boy. Gul's effort took Pakistan close to the follow-on figure of 155 before Danish Kaneria was bowled by Stuart Broad, and without more ado the umpires took the players off.
The crowd for the second day's proceedings was much more heartening than that on the first, confirming that there is still an appetite for Test cricket in these parts and probably that in these straitened times it is easier to get Friday off than Thursday. They would have been anticipating seeing Morgan and Collingwood continue their outstanding partnership but were swiftly disappointed.
Collingwood was Asif's first victim of the day, his optimistic referral merely lending authority to the verdict, and Morgan his second, hit on the back pad. It was controlled, manipulative bowling of a very high order and he had a chance of a hat-trick after dismissing Graeme Swann and Anderson, who padded up as if dreaming about what other delightful things he might be doing on his birthday. Soon, England's king of swing found out what they were.
Trent Bridge Scoreboard
First Test: Second day of five: Pakistan trail England by 207 runs with one first-innings wicket remaining
England won toss
England First Innings
Overnight: 331-4 (Andrew Strauss 45)
P D Collingwood lbw b Asif: 82
180 balls 11 fours
E J G Morgan lbw b Asif: 130
216 balls 19 fours 1 six
†M J Prior run out (Aamer): 6
G P Swann lbw b Asif: 2
S C J Broad b Gul: 3
J M Anderson lbw b Asif: 0
S T Finn not out: 0
Extras (b 5, lb 14, w 5, nb 7): 31
Total (104.1 overs): 354
Fall: 1-42 (Cook), 2-93 (Strauss), 3-116 (Pietersen), 4-118 (Trott), 5-337 (Collingwood), 6-344 (Morgan), 7-351 (Prior), 8-354 (Swann), 9-354 (Anderson), 10-354 (Broad).
Bowling: M Aamer 24-7-41-3 (w1)(6-1-14-1, 7-2-11-2, 3-1-7-0, 3-0-7-0, 5-3-2-0), M Asif 27-9-77-5 (5-2-22-0, 2-0-5-0, 7-3-14-1, 4-1-12-0, 2-0-12-0, 7-3-12-4), U Gul 18.1-5-61-1 (nb5)(6-1-23-0, 4-2-16-0, 4-0-16-0, 2-1-3-0, 2.1-1-3-1), D Kaneria 21-0-100-0 (nb2)(4-0-20-0, 5-0-27-0, 3-0-11-0, 9-0-42-0), S Malik 11-2-39-0 (1-0-5-0, 8-2-23-0, 2-0-11-0), A Ali 1-0-9-0 (one spell). U Amin 1-0-3-0 (one spell), I Farhat 1-0-5-0 (one spell).
Progress: Second day: 350 in 102.4 overs.
Pakistan First Innings
I Farhat b Anderson: 19
51 balls 3 fours
*S Butt c Prior b Anderson: 1
A Ali c Prior b Anderson: 14
48 balls 1 four
U Amin c Swann b Finn: 2
U Akmal c Swann b Finn: 4
8 balls 1 four
S Malik c Strauss b Anderson: 38
53 balls 6 fours
†K Akmal c Collingwood b Finn: 0
M Aamer c Swann b Anderson: 25
69 balls 4 fours
U Gul not out: 30
29 balls 4 fours 1 six
D Kaneria b Broad: 7
M Asif not out: 0
Extras (b 5, lb 2): 7
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs): 147
Fall: 1-5 (Butt), 2-32 (Farhat), 3-35 (Amin), 4-41 (Ali), 5-45 (Akmal), 6-47 (Akmal), 7-105 (Malik), 8-108 (Aamer), 9-147 (Kaneria).
Bowling: J Anderson 20-6-49-5 (13-6-21-3, 7-0-28-2), S Broad 17-4-59-1 (8-3-21-0, 5-0-22-0, 4-1-16-1), S Finn 11-5-20-3 (7-2-12-3, 4-3-8-0), G Swann 2-1-12-0 (one spell).
Umpires: E A R de Silva (Sri Lanka) & A L Hill (NZ).
TV replay umpire : M Erasmus.
Match referee: R J Bailey.Reuse content