England collapse hands first Test to Pakistan

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The Independent Online

England squandered a promising position on the way to a 22-run defeat on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan in Multan.

The tourists began this morning with the prospect of a comfortable victory in their sights in pursuit of 198 runs to go one up in this three-match series - and they were still well-placed to coast home while Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss were putting on 57 for the second wicket.

But once those two had both fallen in the same over to Danish Kaneria's leg-spin to kickstart a disastrous passage of play for England as they lost three wickets for three runs in eight balls, a terminal slide set in on the way to 175 all out.

Kaneria's introduction put a hole in the opposition batting order and their confidence too as he found turn and bounce on a pitch which had offered little if any assistance to bowlers off all paces for the past four days.

Bell edged behind shaping to cut a Kaneria leg-break, and then Strauss nicked one to slip - playing slightly across a top-spinner.

Paul Collingwood was stone cold lbw aiming Mohammad Sami to leg, and England could not even count on their faithful talisman Andrew Flintoff who hinted at a revival until he swept Kaneria straight into the hands of deep midwicket.

Much responsibility therefore fell on Kevin Pietersen - badly short of runs on this tour so far - but he was unable to meet the challenge, edging Sami behind via a flat-footed drive at a wide delivery.

England at least had three figures on the board by then but were soon to lose Ashley Giles, who managed to middle a couple of leg-side blows off Kaneria (four for 62) before a Shoaib Akhtar yorker proved far too good for him.

Geraint Jones and Shaun Udal batted sensibly, however, to revive the tourists' hopes in this absorbing see-saw match.

Yet again, though, just when England seemed to be inching to victory things went wrong for them.

The return of Shoaib saw Jones edge on via his pad to end a stand of 49 - and then Udal missed a Kaneria googly to lose his middle-stump and leave the last pair needing another 32 runs.

The last rites were administered appropriately by Shoaib, who fooled number 11 Stephen Harmison into guiding a catch to slip.

Pakistan v England

Multan Pakistan beat England by 22 runs

England Second Innings

M E Trescothick b Shabbir Ahmed 5
A J Strauss c Hasan Raza b Danish Kaneri 23
I R Bell c Kamran Akmal b Danish Kane 31
P D Collingwood lbw b Mohammad Sami 3
K P Pietersen c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Sa 19
A Flintoff c Younis Khan b Danish Kaner 11
G O Jones b Shoaib Akhtar 33
A F Giles b Shoaib Akhtar 14
S D Udal b Danish Kaneria 18
M J Hoggard not out 0
S J Harmison c Younis Khan b Shoaib Akhta 9

Extras b6 lb1 nb2 9

Total (52.4 overs) 175

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