The dismissive manner in which Abdul Razzaq dealt with the final ball of the first Test seemed to sum up what Pakistan thought of England's rather conservative approach to the match. Razzaq hacked a well-flighted delivery from Monty Panesar over mid-on for four before accepting Andrew Strauss' offer of a draw and casually making his way back to the Pavilion. With just eight overs remaining and six wickets intact, the game was safe but the stroke suggested that England must have been crazy to believe they could bowl Pakistan out in 80 overs on a pitch that was offering minimal help to the bowlers.
For most of the match it appeared as though each injury-ravaged team was content to settle for a draw. Two of the 10 first-choice players missing from this Test - Andrew Flintoff and Younis Khan - will be available for the second at Old Trafford in nine days' time, and it is to be hoped their return will make at least one of the teams play a slightly more adventurous game.
England's approach was, in many ways, understandable. With Andrew Strauss acting as a stand-in captain for the injured Flintoff, and after England lost seven consecutive matches to Sri Lanka, they desperately wanted to avoid defeat. But, even so, it was disappointing to see England fail to make the most of the strong position they were in on Sunday.
England worked hard and played a lot of good cricket during the match but, having got themselves into what was potentially a winning position on Sunday evening, they ought to have backed themselves to finish off the job. Getting on top of a Pakistan side, even one missing five leading players, is tough and England may find it hard to get in a similar position again in the series.
But instead of backing their bowlers and declaring overnight, Strauss and Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, chose to bat on yesterday and set Pakistan an unattainable target of 380 in 80 overs. The tourists wobbled twice, losing two early wickets to Matthew Hoggard, and then two more to the admirable Panesar, before closing on 214 for 4.
It was fitting that Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, accompanied Razzaq off the field after completing a chanceless 56. It was Inzamam's ninth successive score of 50 or more against England, a run which started at Old Trafford in June 2001.
During this period, Inzy has scored 755 runs at an average of 108.
Great sportsmen force the opposition to play the game at the pace they want to and Inzamam does just this with England. He is slow, methodical and deliberate and England appear set to see plenty more of him during the remaining three Test matches.
England's cautious approach began in the morning, when they decided to add to their overnight score of 258 for 7, a total that gave them a lead of 341. The fact that England took only four wickets during the entire day suggests the 47 balls Plunkett and Hoggard faced would have made little difference to the result, but the tactic suggested England did not feel their bowlers could defend a lesser total.
Hoggard, as he so often does, gave England the perfect start when he dismissed Salman Butt with the first ball of Pakistan's reply. The delivery was little more than a gentle loosener but it was straight and Butt played all around it. The wicket had the desired effect. It fired up Hoggard, Stephen Harmison and the crowd, who cheered the pair in to bowl under a searing sun.
The energy created put a spring in the step of tired legs, but both bowlers failed to get their radar working and too many balls passed harmlessly through to the keeper. Armed with a hard new ball, and on a pitch offering occasional inconsistent bounce, this was a disappointing sight. Hoggard and Harmison needed to ensure that every ball counted and England had to wait until the 13th over before picking up their second wicket.
In a weird way, England's wayward bowling may have caused the dismissal of Imran Farhat. Pakistan batsmen like the feel of the ball hitting their bats and, after leaving so many alone, Farhat attempted to play a forcing shot at a ball he should have defended. The moment of aggression resulted in a sharp chance flying to third slip, which was gratefully accepted by Paul Collingwood.
Liam Plunkett followed in the footsteps of his experienced partners, interspersing unreachable balls with the occasional beauty and Pakistan went to lunch on 43 for 2. It was hard to work out why Strauss had not invited Panesar to bowl before lunch but he was given his chance immediately after the interval.
Panesar did not look particularly threatening in Pakistan's first innings, when he took 0 for 93 in 27 overs, but his first delivery here turned sharply and beat the defensive lunge of Faisal Iqbal. The left-arm spinner produced several spiteful deliveries in his opening overs and Mohammad Yousuf, a double centurion in Pakistan's first innings, looked far less comfortable.
Harmison ran in hard and caused more problems than in his opening spell. Yousuf was rapped on the pads twice and Iqbal looked unsettled. But it was Panesar who broke the partnership when Yousuf, for some inexplicable reason, padded up to a straight ball and was rightly given out leg before.
Iqbal struck Panesar back over his head for a six and a four, forcing the spinner to bowl over the wicket, and the changehad the desired effect when Alastair Cook took a good low catch at second slip. Panesar will rarely play at Lord's on a pitch offering so much assistance, but he should be a handful in the second Test in Manchester, where spin plays a part. If England get into a similar position, it is to be hoped those in power give him a better chance of winning a game.
Scoreboard from Lord's
England won toss
England - First Innings 528 for 9 dec (P D Collingwood 186, A N Cook 105, I R Bell 100no).
Pakistan - First Innings 445 (Mohammad Yousuf 202).
England - Second innings
L E Plunkett c Kamran Akmal b Abdul Razzaq 28
47 min, 41 balls, 4 fours
M J Hoggard not out 12
42 min, 22 balls, 1 four
Extras (b5 lb6 w1 nb6) 18
Total (for 8 dec, 344 min, 84.5 overs) 296
Fall (cont): 8-296 (Plunkett).
Did not bat: S J Harmison, M S Panesar.
Bowling: Mohammad Sami 6-1-23-0 (one spell); Umar Gul 19-4-70-2 (nb3 w1) (10-2-38-2, 6-1-19-0, 3-1-13-0); Danish Kaneria 30-4-77-3 (nb1) (1-0-2-0, 21-3-56-1, 8-1-19-2); Abdul Razzaq 9.5-0-45-1 (7-0-31-0, 2.5-0-14-1); Shahid Afridi 19-1-65-1 (nb2) (17-1-58-1, 2-0-7-0); Imran Farhat 1-0-5-0.
Progress: Fifth day: declaration at 11.33am.
Pakistan - Second Innings
Salman Butt lbw b Hoggard 0
1 min, 1 ball
Imran Farhat c Collingwood b Hoggard 18
59 min, 33 balls, 4 fours
Faisal Iqbal c Cook b Panesar 48
183 min, 144 balls, 6 fours, 1 six
Mohammad Yousuf lbw b Panesar 48
93 min, 62 balls, 8 fours
*Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 56
131 min, 111 balls, 6 fours
Abdul Razzaq not out 25
99 min, 91 balls, 4 fours
Extras (b1 lb8 w6 nb4) 19
Total (for 4, 285 min, 73 overs) 214
Fall: 1-0 (Salman Butt) 2-33 (Imran Farhat) 3-116 (Mohammad Yousuf) 4-141 (Faisal Iqbal).
Did not bat: Shahid Afridi, ÝKamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria.
Bowling: Hoggard 12-3-31-2 (nb2) (8-3-20-2, 4-0-11-0); Harmison 15-3-43-0 (nb2 w3) (4-2-11-0, 7-0-25-0, 4-1-7-0); Plunkett 12-2-41-0 (w3) (4-2-11-0, 3-0-14-0, 3-0-5-0, 2-0-11-0); Panesar 27-7-60-2 (6-1-18-0, 2-1-2-0, 15-5-29-2, 4-0-11-0); Pietersen 5-1-19-0 (3-1-6-0, 2-0-13-0); Collingwood 2-0-11-0 (one spell).
Progress: Fifth day: Lunch: 43-2 (Faisal Iqbal 8, Mohammad Yousuf 10) 16 overs. 50: 83 min, 18 overs. 100: 143 min, 33.2 overs. 150: 195 min, 46.4 overs. Tea: 151-4 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 20, Abdul Razzaq 1) 48 overs. 200: 274 min, 69.5 overs. Match called off at 5.28pm.
Inzamam-ul-Haq's 50: 110 min, 95 balls, 6 fours.
Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and S J A Taufel (Aus).
TV replay umpire: P J Hartley (Eng).
Match referee: R S Madugalle (S Lanka).Reuse content