England take command over Pakistan

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The Independent Online

England made the most of heavy cloud cover at Edgbaston to bowl Pakistan out for 72 - and then move into a 40-run lead on day one of the second npower Test.

After their 80 all out at Trent Bridge six days ago, Pakistan were again in grave danger of collapsing to their lowest ever total when they lurched to 37 for six at lunch.



In the end, they instead merely registered a new worst against England for the second time in under a week, before their hosts replied with 112 for two by the time bad light brought an early close.



James Anderson (four for 20) and Stuart Broad (four for 38) did the most damage as all Pakistan's batsmen found scoring opportunities very hard to come by.



Batting was easy for no-one, though, on a slow pitch with occasional variable bounce already and sideways movement through the air and off the seam.



Had Pakistan held their catches, in fact, they might even have regained a foothold in a match which was going so obviously England's way after an unbroken third-wicket stand of 68 between Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen.



Five Pakistan batsmen were out for ducks, including Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali, who lasted 24 and 32 balls respectively.



Pakistan, who did not select veteran batsman Mohammad Yousuf following his last-minute arrival from Lahore yesterday, went 49 balls without a run off the bat at one stage until captain Salman Butt leg-glanced a single off Anderson.



They needed a determined performance here to battle back in the four-match series, and there was perhaps some bravado in Butt's decision to bat first in such awkward conditions.



There was an obvious signal of intent too as Butt and Farhat ran to the crease ahead of England's fielders and the umpires.



Once in occupation, though, the two left-handers were largely strokeless against the moving ball.



Farhat's struggle finally ended when Broad angled one across him and had him edging behind off the back foot.



Butt stayed put until he ventured a push in Steven Finn's second over from the City End and edged to second slip.



The scorecard therefore had an ominous look already and Shoaib Malik was soon gone too, well caught by Matt Prior diving in front of first slip off an Anderson outswinger.



Umar Akmal tried to begin a recovery from 12 for three and clipped Broad for a six off his legs which was entirely out of keeping with the state of the match.



But Broad, at a ground where he took a career-best eight for 52 on his last visit for Nottinghamshire two weeks ago, was in the wickets column again with one that jagged back alarmingly off the pitch to hit Azhar just in line with off-stump.



Akmal also went lbw, hit perhaps just outside off by Finn but dismissed anyway by umpire Marais Erasmus - a decision which would have been overturned on review - and Zulqarnain Haider edged Broad behind for a first-ball duck on his Test debut.



Mohammad Aamer and Umar Amin hinted at a little better after lunch until Broad kickstarted another rush of four wickets for nine runs.



He had Amin well caught at third slip by Paul Collingwood and Umar Gul steered Anderson into the hands of gully.



Then, after Alastair Cook took a fine catch running back and diving to collect Aamer at mid-off, Anderson doubled up to have Mohammad Asif looping one off the shoulder to gully.



England appeared in a hurry to wipe out the arrears, Strauss pushing Aamer's first ball of their reply for four off his legs and Cook doing likewise in the same over.



Cook needed a review to survive an lbw verdict on five off Asif and also edged Aamer just short of gully soon afterwards.



But there was no way back for him in the first over after tea when he somehow gloved an attempted hook at Asif to second slip.



Strauss followed on the same score an over later after a successful Pakistan review proved the England captain had got an inside edge behind off Aamer.



Pakistan had given themselves a chance for a significant fightback, but simply could not take it.



First Trott survived a simple catch at first slip, put down by Farhat off Asif, which would have made it 54 for three.



Pietersen's scratchy innings featured three obvious pieces of luck. He was dropped on nine at mid-on by Gul off Saeed Ajmal and edged the off-spinner between wicketkeeper and slip on 29.



In between, Gul dropped another catch at mid-on off Ajmal to reprieve Pietersen on 20.



Pakistan therefore only had themselves to blame that the match already appeared to be getting away from them when the light closed in.

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