England 309-3 v Pakistan: Collingwood and Cook cash in as Pakistan let chances slip

Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook continued their Asian love affairs yesterday when they completed workmanlike hundreds against Pakistan on the opening day of the first Test. The pair shared an unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 221 as England moved to 309 for 3 by the close, a position of power against mercurial opponents.

Collingwood and Cook scored maiden Test hundreds during winter visits to the subcontinent, innings that cemented their places in the side this summer, and yesterday's batting should have secured their places on England's tour of Australia. For the moment though, the Ashes can wait. What England needed yesterday, after losing seven consecutive matches to Sri Lanka, was a strong, disciplined display and Collingwood and Cook provided their side with just that during a record partnership.

England possess more attractive and dynamic batsmen than these two but there are times when a team needs gritty fighters rather than crowd pleasers, and it was their fortitude that brought a capacity crowd to its feet as the shadows lengthened at the home of cricket.

Collingwood was the more fluent of the two. The nuggety right-hander played several pleasant back-foot shots through the offside and collected runs efficiently off his legs. He was not afraid to come down the wicket to Danish Kaneria, whose leg-breaks gripped on a dry surface, and he completed his second Test century by clipping the spinner to square-leg for a single.

His celebrations on reaching three figures were, as expected, understated. Collingwood acknowledged the applause but then it was back to business. Like Mark Butcher, the former England No 3, Collingwood probably feels that he is always one match away from the axe but, if he continues to play like this, he has little to worry about.

Collingwood's selfless nature came through as Cook nervously approached his second Test hundred. The angular left-hander had spent two overs on 99 when Collingwood, witnessing his anxiety, scampered a risky single to short third man.

As well as Collingwood and Cook played, they were aided by a shoddy fielding display from Pakistan, who grassed five catches. Cook was the main beneficiary, being dropped on three occasions. He was given a life before he had scored, when Imran Farhat foolishly dived in front of Inzamam-ul-Haq at first slip to clang a one-handed attempt.

Cook was given not out when he edged a Danish Kaneria googly on 45 and had further escapes on the same score and then on 81. Collingwood had a life, too, when Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, dropped a simple catch off the luckless Umar Gul. The faces of Inzamam, the Pakistan captain, and Bob Woolmer, the coach, wore a resigned expression well before the close. The inconsistent nature of Pakistan cricket is one of its attractions and though the pair have witnessed days like this before, they are still hard to take.

England captains with far more experience than Andrew Strauss have fretted long and hard over what to do after winning the toss on an overcast morning at Lord's. Nasser Hussain, who is one of them, said that he would look up at the sky rather than down at the pitch before deciding but Strauss, despite the cloud cover, opted to bat.

Then, as if to prove a point, the England captain set about the Pakistan bowlers with gusto. Marcus Trescothick normally acts as England's enforcer but his strokeplay was pedestrian compared to that of Strauss. England's 50 was brought up in the ninth over of the day and the hosts appeared set to dominate the day's play.

When faced with an opponent as gifted as Pakistan, it is dangerous to take anything for granted and within the space of seven overs England lost three main batsmen for just 28 runs. Marcus Trescothick was first to fall when he wafted weakly at a Gul delivery he should have left alone and was caught behind.

Strauss followed six balls later when Abdul Razzaq nipped a fullish ball down the Lord's slope and trapped him in front. Strauss looked disappointed as he made his way back and television replays suggested he may have got the faintest of inside edges on the ball before it rapped into his pad.

Umpire Simon Taufel could be forgiven for failing to notice the deviation but his judgement of Kevin Pietersen's dismissal should be questioned. Pietersen spent only 26 minutes at the crease but he still managed to make a big impression. He struck four sumptuous boundaries, the best coming off Razzaq in the same over that he was given out.

But then, for some reason, Pietersen chose to pad up to a ball from Razzaq that shaped in to him and struck the roll of his left pad. When a batsman fails to play a shot, it seems he does not appear to get the "benefit of the doubt" and the strong appeal was upheld. Television replays indicated that the ball would have missed the top of the stumps.

With England wobbling, Strauss and the coach, Duncan Fletcher, must have been questioning the wisdom of playing Matthew Hoggard. They were in danger of not allowing enough time for his cut hand to heal, but then Collingwood and Cook gave him an extra day to recover and, at some time today, he will hope to repay the selectors' faith.

Shot of the day

KEVIN PIETERSEN Stay at crease was far too short yet still managed to dazzle in 21 balls faced. Finest of four boundaries was a stunning straight drive off Abdul Razzaq. Pietersen then posed for the cameras on his follow-through.

Ball of the day

DANISH KANERIA Dropped a caught and bowled chance and failed to take a wicket. Should have had one when his googly flicked Alastair Cook's bat and was caught behind. Unfortunately for Pakistan, umpire Steve Bucknor did not see it.

Moment of the day

PAUL COLLINGWOOD and ALASTAIR COOK Scoring a first Test hundred at Lord's is a special moment because you follow in the footsteps of the greats of the game. England needed a strong performance and these two supplied one.

Weather/TV

WEATHER Sunshine. Maximum temperature: 24C.

TELEVISION Live: Sky Sports 1, 10.00. Highlights: Five, 19.15.

Scoreboard from Lord's

FIRST NPOWER TEST, England won the toss

England - First innings

M E Trescothick c Kamran Akmal b Umar Gul 16 53 min, 36 balls, 2 fours

*A J Strauss lbw b Abdul Razzaq 30 60 min, 44 balls, 5 fours

A N Cook not out 101 308 min, 262 balls, 9 fours

K P Pietersen lbw b Abdul Razzaq 21 27 min, 21 balls, 4 fours

P D Collingwood not out 109 273 min, 189 balls, 12 fours

Extras (b8, lb0, w11, nb13) 32

Total (for 3, 362 min, 90 overs) 309

Fall: 1-60 (Trescothick), 2-60 (Strauss), 3-88 (Pietersen).

To bat: I R Bell, ÝG O Jones, L E Plunkett, M J Hoggard, S J Harmison, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Mohammad Sami 18-3-69-0 (nb4) (5-1-27-0, 3-0-12-0, 4-0-21-0, 6-2-9-0); Umar Gul 19-3-76-1 (nb6, w10) (8-1-33-1, 5-0-26-0, 6-2-17-0); Abdul Razzaq 17-2-60-2 (nb1, w1) (8-1-32-2, 5-0-25-0, 4-1-3-0); Danish Kaneria 29-1-73-0 (nb1) (14-0-37-0, 15-1-36-0); Shahid Afridi 7-0-23-0 (nb1) (1-0-6-0, 4-0-10-0, 2-0-7-0).

Progress: First day: 50: 37 min, 8.1 overs. 100: 98 min, 20.5 overs. Lunch: 118-3 (Cook 22, Collingwood 12) 27 overs. 150: 143 min, 32.4 overs. 200: 208 min, 48.2 overs. Tea: 242-3 (Cook 68, Collingwood 77) 59 overs. 250: 256 min, 62.4 overs. 300: 347 min, 85.4 overs.

Cook 50: 154 min, 123 balls, 5 fours. 100: 304 min, 259 balls, 9 fours. Collingwood 50: 92 min, 65 balls, 7 fours. 100: 223 min, 157 balls, 12 fours.

Pakistan: Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Yousuf, *Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, ÝKamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria.

Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI), S J A Taufel (Aus).

TV replay umpire: P J Hartley (Eng).

Match referee: R S Madugalle (Sri Lanka).

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