It was the inspiration of Stephen Harmison and Monty Panesar that took England to an emphatic Test victory nine days ago in Manchester but yesterday, on the third day of the third Test, Andrew Strauss's side were forced to rely on perseverance and perspiration as they attempted to tame a rejuvenated Pakistan side.
While Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan effortlessly added 363 runs for the third wicket it appeared as though the tourists were heading for a substantial first-innings lead and a possible series-levelling victory, but the late clatter of wickets saved England from having nothing more than a draw to play for on the final two days of this absorbing match. Either team could yet win the Test but it is Pakistan, having scored 538, and after finishing the day with a 20-run lead, who will be the more contented of the two sides.
History suggests that pitches at Headingley become harder to bat on as a game progresses but this surface is yet to show any sign of deteriorating. England, who hold a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series, will not want to give Pakistan the sniff of a chance so the pressure is on the visitors to make early inroads this morning and bowl England out today.
Whilst Yousuf and Younis were at the crease, assembling the fifth-highest partnership to be posted against England, Pakistan would have been hoping to bat until lunchtime today. But once the pair were parted, when a Stephen Harmison lifter flicked the glove of Yousuf on its way through to Chris Read, Pakistan went on to lose their last eight wickets for just 139 runs.
Monty Panesar was the main beneficiary, picking up three wickets including the crucial scalp of Inzamam-ul-Haq, but he was one of three England bowlers to concede more than 100 runs. The pitch may have played true but England's bowling was once again disappointing. Having watched Pakistan's seam attack bowl too short for a day and half it would have been hoped they would have realised the importance of pitching the ball up. Yet they failed to do this. Harmison was the most culpable, bowling a similar length here to that which brought him success at Old Trafford. But the easy-paced nature of the pitch made him far more comfortable to face and Yousuf and Younis prospered.
The pair were magnificent as they set about overcoming England's first-innings total. The good balls were treated with respect but each time a bowler erred he was struck to the fence. Yousuf was the first to reach three figures when he hooked Harmison over fine leg for six. It was his 18th Test hundred and, until Harmison trimmed his right glove, he looked destined to post his third double hundred in four matches against England.
Younis completed his 12th Test century when he pulled Paul Collingwood for four and he, too, looked certain to pass 200 before he was run out.
For the neutrals and Pakistan fans, the day contained much to admire but the most comical moment came on the stroke of tea when Inzamam overbalanced while attempting to play a regulation sweep shot at Panesar and fell on to his stumps. Inzamam is not famed for his agility and there was only going to be one outcome once his weight started moving towards the stumps.
He attempted to leap over the wicket but clipped leg stump with his pad before ending up in a heap next to Chris Read, the England wicketkeeper. While England celebrated and a near-capacity crowd roared with laughter, an embarrassed Pakistan captain dusted himself down and made his way off.
The wicket completed a golden and much needed 10-minute period for England, who had spent the previous two sessions feeling as though they were bowling at a barn door. Strauss set innovative fields - two slips, two extra covers and two midwickets etc - but it made no difference.
Inzamam played his part in instigating the mini-collapse before his dismissal when he dropped a Paul Collingwood delivery into the leg side and called Younis for a quick single. Younis, on 173, and with a second Test double century looking imminent, reacted immediately but his lunge was beaten by an athletic pick-up and throw from Sajid Mahmood at midwicket.
The error brought Faisal Iqbal to the crease. And the manner of the 24-year-old's dismissal suggested that the hours spent sitting on the players' balcony had taken their toll. The ball from Collingwood was bowled at a gentle pace and did very little, but it possessed one lethal quality - it was straight. Faisal failed to move his feet and it thudded into his left pad to leave umpire Billy Doctrove with a simple decision.
Headingley erupted as Doctrove raised his finger and Collingwood was mobbed by his team-mates - with his 381st delivery in Test cricket he had taken his first wicket. And England's joy grew eight balls later with Inzamam's mishap.
England's recovery continued after the interval when Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Sami, after putting on 30 runs, fell in quick succession. Akmal was the first to go when, on 20, he wafted at a length ball from Mahmood and was caught by Marcus Trescothick at first slip. It was Mahmood's first Test wicket since 25 May, when the Sri Lankan tail-ender, Nuwan Kulasekara, was caught in the same position.
Sami struck a couple of tasty boundaries but perished when a top-edged sweep at Panesar landed in the safe hands of Stephen Harmison at deep backward square-leg. The brace ended any hope Pakistan had of taking a sizeable first-innings lead and provided England with new hope of a series win.
If Inzamam's dismissal provided spectators with the most humorous moment of the day Panesar, by taking a catch at fine-leg, gave them the most remarkable. The spinner looked far from convincing as he addressed the ball but somehow he hung on to the catch. Danish Kaneria and Shahid Nazir had added 42 colourful runs for the 10th wicket - but their real job starts today with the ball.
Scoreboard from Headingley
England won toss
England - First Innings
(Resumed Saturday on 347 for 6)
K P Pietersen c Shahid Nazir b Mohammad Sami 135
272 min, 169 balls, 20 fours, 2 sixes
I R Bell b Danish Kaneria 119
267 min, 206 balls, 12 fours
S I Mahmood b Umar Gul 34
73 min, 45 balls, 4 fours
S J Harmison c Mohammad Sami b Danish Kaneria 36
29 min, 27 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes
M S Panesar not out 5
13 min, 12 balls, 1 four
Extras (b 13, lb 6, nb 11) 30
Total (123 overs) 515
Fall: 7-421 (Pietersen), 8-445 (Bell), 9-501 (Harmison), 10-515 (Mahmood).
Bowling: Mohammad Sami 26-1-135-2 (nb6); Umar Gul 29-4-123-5 (nb2); Shahid Nazir 28-7-101-1 (nb3); Danish Kaneria 34-4-111-2; Taufeeq Umar 2-0-8-0, Salman Butt 4-0-18-0.
Progress: England 350: 90.4 overs, 553 balls, extras 23. Seventh wicket, 50 runs: 73 balls (KP Pietersen 20, IR Bell 27, extras 3). England 400: 102.2 overs (624 balls), extras 24. IR Bell: 100: 172 balls (11 fours). Drinks, England 406-6: 103 overs (KP Pietersen 124, IR Bell 102). England 450: 112.2 overs (685 balls), extras 26. Lunch, England 488-8 in 117.0 overs (SI Mahmood 22, SJ Harmison 30). Ninth wicket, 50 runs: 38 balls (SI Mahmood 17, SJ Harmison 34, extras 0). England 500: 119.2 overs (727 balls), extras 26.
Pakistan - First innings
Salman Butt run out (Pietersen) 20
66 min, 49 balls, 1 four
Taufeeq Umar c Read b Hoggard 7
57 min, 38 balls, 1 four
Younis Khan run out (Mahmood TV replay) 173
404 mins, 285 balls, 22 fours, 1 five
Mohammad Yousuf c Read b Harmison 192
342 mins, 261 balls, 25 fours, 2 sixes
*Inzamam-ul-Haq hit wicket b Panesar 26
58 mins, 52 balls, 5 fours
Faisal Iqbal lbw b Collingwood 0
1 min, 1 ball
ÝKamran Akmal c Trescothick b Mahmood 20
44 mins, 38 balls, 4 fours
Mohammad Sami c Harmison b Panesar 19
50 mins, 38 balls, 3 fours
Shahid Nazir not out 13
65 mins, 44 balls
Umar Gul c Panesar b Mahmood 7
15 mins, 14 balls, 1 four
Danish Kaneria c Trescothick b Panesar 29
38 mins, 36 balls, 3 fours, 1 six
Extras (b1, lb20, w5, nb6) 32
Total (141.4 overs) 538
Fall: 1-34 (Taufeeq Umar), 2-36 (Salman Butt), 3-399 (Mohammad Yousuf), 4-447 (Younis Khan), 5-447 (Faisal Iqbal), 6-451 (Inzamam-ul-Haq), 7-481 (Kamran Akmal), 8-489 (Mohammad Sami), 9-496 (Umar Gul), 10-538 (Danish Kaneria).
Bowling: Hoggard 29-4-93-1 (nb6,w3) (7-1-19-1 7-0-24-0 4-1-15-0 8-2-29-0 3-0-6-0), Harmison 30-1-142-1 (w2) (5-0-12-0 6-0-33-0 3-0-15-0 3-1-16-0 3-0-18-0 6-0-27-1 4-0-21-0), Mahmood 24-4-108-2 (7-2-35-0 5-1-13-0 3-0-15-0 4-0-29-0 5-1-16-2), Panesar 47.4-13-127-3 (11-5-20-0 3-1-5-0 10-2-34-0 23.4-5-68-3), Pietersen 1-0-14-0, Collingwood 10-1-33-1 (5-0-20-0 3-0-9-1 2-1-4-0).
Progress: Second day, 50: 79 min, 17.1 overs. Tea 66-2 (Younis Khan 15, Mohammad Yousuf 11) 19 overs. 100: 110 min, 24.3 overs. 150: 173 min, 39.4 overs. 200: 226 min, 53.5 overs. Close 202-2 (Younis Khan 64, Mohammad Yousuf 91) 55 overs. 250: 271 min, 65.5 overs. 300: 319 min, 78.1 overs. New ball: taken after 80.1 overs at 303-2. Lunch 331-2 (Younis Khan 122, Mohammad Yousuf 160) 86 overs. 350: 372 min, 90.2 overs. 400: 414 min, 98.5 overs. 450: 467 min, 112.4 overs. Tea 451-6 (Kamran Akmal 4) 113.5 overs. 500: 543 min, 132.2 overs. Innings closed 5.44pm.
Younis Khan 50: 114 min, 79 balls, 8 fours, 1 five. 100: 249 min, 171 balls, 15 fours, 1 five. 150: 344 min, 243 balls, 21 fours, 1 five. Mohammad Yousuf 50: 87 min, 58 balls, 6 fours. 100: 178 min, 145 balls, 11 fours, 2 sixes. 150: 271 min, 216 balls, 17 fours, 2 sixes.
England - Second innings
M E Trescothick not out 0
8 mins, 7 balls
*A J Strauss not out 3
8 mins, 5 balls
Total (0 wkt, 2 overs) 3
Bowling: Mohammad Sami 1-1-0-0, Umar Gul 1-0-3-0.
Umpires: B R Doctrove (WI) and D B Hair (Aus).
TV replay umpire: N J Llong (Eng).
Match referee: R S Madugalle (S Lanka).