Darren Gough withdrew from England's NatWest Series squad yesterday following the recurrence of an injury to his left shin. England's most successful one-day bowler suffered from the same injury before the one-day matches against Pakistan began and he will be replaced by Graham Onions, a 23-year-old fast bowler from Durham.
Gough was brought back into the side to shore up the bowling but he has failed to take a single wicket in three matches against Pakistan. His bowling has also been expensive and, despite his desire to play in the 2007 World Cup, this latest setback is likely to signal the end of the 35-year-old's international career.
"I'm obviously extremely disappointed that this injury has ruled me out of the England side," said Gough. "I was looking forward to a strong NatWest series which could have helped my chances for the upcoming winter tours.
"I've had a niggle for about a month which seemed to clear up with a couple of weeks' rest before the NatWest series, but unfortunately it has returned to the point where I can't go any further at the moment. I was pleased with the way I bowled, without much luck, during the first few matches so it's disappointing I won't be able to take any further part in this series."
Gough could have picked up a couple of wickets in the Twenty20 match at Bristol and at Cardiff but his bowling was one of the major disappointments of Saturday's seven-wicket defeat to Pakistan at Lord's. It is questionable whether a fit Gough would have played in tomorrow's third one-dayer in Southampton, and his absence will allow Jon Lewis, Sajid Mahmood or even Onions to further their chances for winter selection.
Saturday was a grim day all round. The weather was appalling and England's cricket was not much better. The most disheartening aspect of the defeat was that despite competing quite well with Inzamam-ul-Haq's outstanding side for periods, England were still well and truly walloped.
Losing the toss on a perfect morning for swing and seam bowling did not help, but feelings of sympathy for Andrew Strauss' team should be dismissed. When England travel to Colombo and play on slow, turning pitches in 40-degree heat it is natural to feel some compassion. They are, after all, playing in very foreign conditions.
But the conditions were as far removed as possible from Lahore or Multan and it ought to have been England, not Pakistan, who looked more at home. The circumstances remained the same throughout the day, yet it was the Pakistan bowlers who exploited a seamer-friendly pitch and it was their batsmen who coped best with the moving ball. There was little Strauss could do about the delivery that dismissed him but he and Duncan Fletcher, the coach, may well be asking Marcus Trescothick, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen what they were trying to do. Each played an ill-advised stroke.
England's total of 166 in 40 overs never looked like being enough, and if they were to pull off an unlikely victory early wickets were needed. Lewis, England's perennial 12th man, was given a rare outing and bowled magnificently, conceding only 11 runs in eight high-quality overs. He took two important wickets, too, but he did not get any support from the other end.
Shoaib Akhtar terrified England's top order with a hostile and skilful opening spell from the Pavilion End but Gough failed to follow his example. With the wind at his back and a green pitch and a new ball to work with he had everything in his favour, yet he made no impression, conceding 44 runs in eight overs.
Gough's departure means that Lewis and Mahmood, two bowlers with realistic chances of playing in October's Champions' Trophy and beyond, will gain greater exposure over the next week.
This should please Fletcher, who is constantly harping on about the inexperienced nature of his England side. But his inevitable cries for sympathy before the next World Cup should be ignored because he was involved in the recall of Gough.
England have played 50 one-day matches since Mahmood made his debut in 2004, yet he has played in only eight of them. The figures are the same with Lewis, who has played in three of the 29 games since his first appearance.
Lewis' lack of pace - he is generally around 75mph to 80mph - has led to him being pigeonholed, with many believing he can perform only in English conditions. It is a view the seamer refutes.
"Yes it does irritate me a little," he replied, when asked about such views on his limitations. "I have been to Sri Lanka and the West Indies with the England A side, places that are not swing friendly, and I have performed well. I am happy that I can bowl well anywhere I am asked to play. I have played grade cricket in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa too and done well there. I have swung the ball and taken wickets.
"Those places aren't foreign to me. I feel comfortable bowling anywhere. I am not just a guy who comes up and plonks it on a line and length. I have other skills as well. I back myself to be able to bowl in any conditions, in any country at any time."
Pakistan won toss
M E Trescothick c Younis Khan b Mohammad Asif 6
34 min, 25 balls, 1 four
*A J Strauss c Kamran Akmal b Shoaib Akhtar 0
4 min, 1 ball
I R Bell c Inzamam-ul-Haq b Shoaib Akhtar 9
33 min, 21 balls, 1 four
K P Pietersen c Naved-ul-Hasan b Mohammad Asif 17
36 min, 26 balls, 2 fours
P D Collingwood lbw b Shahid Afridi 35
85 min, 57 balls, 3 fours
J W M Dalrymple lbw b Abdul Razzaq 13
29 min, 22 balls, 2 fours
R Clarke b Shoaib Akhtar 39
57 min, 47 balls, 3 fours
ÝC M W Read b Abdul Razzaq 30
30 min, 30 balls, 2 fours, 1 six
D Gough b Shoaib Akhtar 1
5 min, 2 balls
J Lewis run out (Younis Khan) 2
7 min, 2 balls
S C J Broad not out 1
5 min, 3 balls
Extras (b1 lb4 w7 nb1) 13
Total (167 min, 39.1 overs) 166
Fall: 1-1 (Strauss) 2-18 (Trescothick) 3-18 (Bell) 4-44 (Pietersen) 5-78 (Dalrymple) 6-107 (Collingwood) 7-160 (Read) 8-162 (Clarke) 9-163 (Gough) 10-166 (Lewis).
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 8-0-28-4 (w3) (6-0-13-2, 2-0-15-2); Mohammad Asif 8-2-10-2 (one spell); Naved-ul-Hasan 7-0-42-0 (w1) (2-0-18-0, 4-0-18-0, 1-0-6-0); Abdul Razzaq 6.1-0-30-2 (nb1 w3) (4-0-22-1, 1-0-4-0, 1.1-0-4-1); Shahid Afridi 5-0-27-1; Mohammad Hafeez 5-0-24-0 (one spell each).
Progress: Rain delayed start until 11.44am. Match reduced to 46 overs a side. Rain stopped play 12.02-12.59pm 7-1 (Trescothick 2, Strauss 4) 3.5 overs. Match reduced to 40 overs a side. Power Play 1: overs 1-10 21-3. PP2: overs 11-15 44-3. PP3: over 16 only 44-4. 50: 78 min, 98 balls. 100: 120 min, 161 balls. 150: 149 min, 217 balls.
Shoaib Malik c Read b Lewis 10
35 min, 24 balls
Mohammad Hafeez c Read b Lewis 1
9 min, 5 balls
Younis Khan c Pietersen b Clarke 55
109 min, 89 balls, 9 fours
Mohammad Yousuf not out 49
121 min, 81 balls, 3 fours
*Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 42
37 min, 26 balls, 5 fours
Extras (b1 lb4 w2 nb5) 12
Total (for 3, 157 min, 36.4 overs) 169
Fall: 1-9 (Mohammad Hafeez) 2-30 (Shoaib Malik) 3-108 (Younis Khan).
Did not bat: Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, ÝKamran Akmal, Naved-ul-Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif.
Bowling: Gough 8-0-44-0 (nb1) (3-0-12-0, 3-0-18-0, 2-0-14-0); Lewis 8-4-11-2 (nb2 w1) (one spell); Broad 6.4-0-44-0 (w1) (3-0-14-0, 2-0-15-0, 1-0-10-0, 0.4-0-5-0); Collingwood 5-1-18-0 (one spell); Clarke 7-0-37-1 (nb1) (2-0-12-0, 5-0-25-1); Bell 2-0-10-0 (nb1) (one spell).
Progress: Target: 167 off 40 overs. Power Play 1: overs 1-10 33-2. PP2: overs 11-15 44-2. PP3: over 16 only 45-2. 50: 75 min, 102 balls. 100: 110 min, 156 balls. 150: 145 min, 208 balls.
Pakistan win by seven wickets (Duckworth/Lewis method).
Man of the match: Shoaib Akhtar.
Umpires: B R Doctrove and M R Benson.
TV replay umpire: N J Llong.
Match referee: M J Procter.Reuse content