England 173 Pakistan 96-1: England given Ashes jolt by Pakistan pace attack

England talked a good game in the build-up to the fourth and final Test of the series against Pakistan. They spoke of the importance of maintaining their momentum before this winter's Ashes series and how the competition for places would bring out the best in them. But yesterday those words seemed rather empty as England were bowled out for 173 by a Pakistan side determined to finish the Test leg of the tour on a positive note.

With the series already won - and the tour of Australia fast approaching - it was inevitable that England would be slightly distracted, but their demise here was as much due to high-quality Pakistan bowling as their own poor batting.

Mohammad Asif, making his first appearance of the series, and Umar Gul shared eight wickets on a day when no England batsman passed 40. The overcast conditions were ideal for the pair to bowl in and England's total was their lowest since they were dismissed for 155 by Australia at Lord's 13 months ago.

England's bowlers were given the opportunity to exploit the conditions themselves as the shadows lengthened at the Oval, but the new ball was wasted by the profligate Matthew Hoggard and Stephen Harmison. Hoggard fired the ball down the leg-side while Harmison was cut so often by Imran Farhat that England must have been tempted to call for Henry Cooper's cornerman.

A knee injury caused Mohammad Hafeez to retire hurt with Pakistan on 35 for 0, and they had reached 70 before Younis Khan was "strangled" down the leg-side - caught by the wicketkeeper Chris Read off Sajid Mahmood. By the close the tourists had made a considerable dent into England's paltry total.

Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to bowl after winning the toss in the morning surprised most of those who have bowled at this venue. Historically, the Oval pitch provides batsmen with an excellent surface on which to score runs but, even in the two deliveries that were bowled before the initial interruption for rain, it could be seen that the Pakistan captain had made the correct decision.

After a 30-minute delay the fit-again Asif, who missed the first three Tests with an elbow injury, and Gul seamed the ball around significantly as Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss sought to protect their wickets. Strauss was by far the more comfortable of the England opening pair, leaving the ball whenever he could and moving confidently into position when playing it.

Initially, Asif and Gul failed to bowl the right length, pitching the ball fractionally short on too many occasions. It is a common fault among excitable fast bowlers when they are given good conditions in which to work. It looks good when the ball flies through to the wicketkeeper at head height, but when a ball is pitched too short it has often deviated more than it needs to by the time it reaches the batsman, missing rather than clipping the outside edge of his bat.

In an attempt to correct the error the pair searched for a fuller length, but Strauss drove them through the covers on each occasion they overpitched. Trescothick's footwork was far less convincing than that of his opening partner. Throughout the series his weight has been on the back foot and this has made him late on his forward strokes. It is a problem he needs to address before the winter.

Despite his lack of form, Trescothick battled on for more than an hour, but his vigil ended when he sliced a forcing shot at Gul to Hafeez, who took a low, diving catch in the gully. Strauss continued to play with confidence, pulling Asif twice for four, and the fast bowler had to wait until the 10th over of his opening spell to claim his first wicket.

Pakistan have missed Asif in a series where their bowling has lacked discipline and a cutting edge. This may be only his sixth Test but he has built up quite a reputation since taking 10 for 106 for Pakistan A against England in November 2005. In his previous four Tests Asif has bowled with skill and control, taking 24 wickets at an average of 16.5.

These faculties allowed him to take the crucial wickets of Strauss and Kevin Pietersen with consecutive deliveries. There was little Strauss could do about the ball that dismissed him. It left him off the pitch, tickled his outside edge and was well caught by Kamran Akmal behind the stumps.

Pietersen, with last summer's remarkable innings of 158 against Australia at this venue still fresh in the minds of a capacity crowd, walked out to a huge ovation but on this occasion he failed to deliver. It was a good ball that found his outside edge but one has to question the aggressive nature of the stroke he played. This, however, is the way Pietersen plays and spectators have to accept that there will be days when he disappoints.

Alastair Cook kept the hat-trick ball out, but Paul Collingwood soon became Asif's third victim. Before being trapped in front by a ball that nipped back, Collingwood brought up his 1,000th Test run when he edged Asif to third man for four. In an era when batsmen and bowlers are perpetually breaking records Collingwood's feat does not appear huge but in reaching the landmark he has shown that he can compete at this level.

Asif had now taken 3 for 4 in 11 balls and England's desire to leave for Australia with a confidence-boosting victory behind them was in real danger. Cook and Ian Bell put on 27 runs, but both fell before the tea interval.

Throughout the series Inzamam has been forced to bowl Danish Kaneria earlier than he would have wanted but yesterday his introduction was delayed until the 31st over and the leg-spinner struck with his fourth delivery when Bell edged a defensive stroke on to his pad and Faisal Iqbal took a simple catch at silly mid-off.

Cook walked across a Shahid Nazir yorker and was hit plumb in front to leave the hosts on 112 for 6 and without a recognised batsman at the crease. The wicketkeeper Read once again batted with enterprise, but England's tail had no answer to the deadly accurate Gul, who hit the stumps on three occasions.

Moment of the day

Inviting the opposition to bat at the Oval is a brave and potentially dangerous decision and Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, surprised everyone when he chose this option yesterday. But it proved to be an inspired decision as Pakistan bowled England out for 173 to put themselves firmly in control.

Shot of the day

Batting was difficult during the morning session but Andrew Strauss, the England captain, still managed to play a couple of delightful strokes. The best of these was a drive off Umar Gul, the Pakistan opening bowler, that raced to the cover boundary for four. It was one of the few good shots yesterday.

Ball of the day

Mohammad Asif arrived in England with a big reputation and it was easy to see why. In helpful conditions, he provided

Pakistan with the cutting edge they have been lacking, finishing with 4 for 56. The ball that dismissed Kevin Pietersen was a gem, leaving the batsman off the pitch and finding the outside edge.

Weather and TV times

Weather Sunshine and heavy showers. Max temp: 21C

Television Live: Sky Sports 1, 10.30am Highlights: Five, 7.15pm

Oval scoreboard

First day of five; Pakistan won toss

England - First Innings

M E Trescothick c Mohammad Hafeez b Umar Gul 6 61 min, 43 balls

*A J Strauss c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Asif 38 86 min, 57 balls, 7 fours

A N Cook lbw b Shahid Nazir 40 120 min, 69 balls, 6 fours

K P Pietersen c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Asif 0 1 min, 1 ball

P D Collingwood lbw b Mohammad Asif 5 17 min, 7 balls, 1 four

I R Bell c Faisal Iqbal b Danish Kaneria 9 43 min, 28 balls, 1 four

ÝC M W Read b Umar Gul 33106 min, 62 balls, 3 fours

S I Mahmood b Umar Gul 15 44 min, 32 balls, 2 fours

M J Hoggard c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Asif 3 12 min, 12 balls

S J Harmison not out 8 18 min, 15 balls, 2 fours

M S Panesar b Umar Gul 0 1 min, 1 ball

Extras (b4 lb5 nb7) 16

Total (259 min, 53.2 overs) 173

Fall: 1-36 (Trescothick) 2-54 (Strauss) 3-54 (Pietersen) 4-64 (Collingwood) 5-91 (Bell) 6-112 (Cook) 7-158 (Mahmood) 8-163 (Hoggard) 9-173 (Read) 10-173 (Panesar).

Bowling: Mohammad Asif 19-6-56-4 (13-5-39-3, 6-1-17-1); Umar Gul 15.2-3-46-4 (nb3) (10-2-30-1, 2-0-9-0, 3.2-1-7-3); Shahid Nazir 11-1-44-1 (nb3) (one spell); Danish Kaneria 8-1-18-1 (nb1) (6-1-7-1, 2-0-11-0).

Progress: First day: rain stopped play 11.01-11.33am at 0-0. RSP 12.08-1.29pm 27-0 (Trescothick 4, Strauss 22) 8 overs. Early lunch taken: 12.50pm. 50: 80 min, 17.3 overs. 100: 170 min, 35.2 overs. Tea: 134-6 (Read 26, Mahmood 1) 42 overs. 150: 215 min, 45.3 overs. Innings closed: 5.32pm.

Pakistan - First Innings

Mohammad Hafeez ret hurt 8 22 balls, 1 four

Imran Farhat not out 57 75 balls, 7 fours

Younis Khan c Read b Mahmood 9 13 balls

Mohammad Yousuf not out 12 25 balls, 1 four

Extras (lb1 w6 nb3) 10

Total (for 1, 22 overs) 96

Fall: 1-70 (Younis Khan).

To bat: *Inzamam-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, ÝKamran Akmal, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria.

Bowling: Hoggard 9-0-29-0; Harmison 6-1-38-0; Mahmood 6-1-24-1; Panesar 1-0-4-0.

Umpires: B R Doctrove (WI) and D B Hair (Aus).

TV replay umpire: P J Hartley.

Match referee: M J Procter.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links