England's selectors have a couple of concerns as they prepare to name the squad for the Champions Trophy on Thursday. They have a side that has almost completely forgotten how to win and must decide how many of the walking wounded they dare pick at risk of them breaking down again.
Yes, yes, but apart from that what's wrong? Not much actually. Oh, except that the gamble of restoring the 36-year-old Darren Gough with a view to him playing both the Trophy in India and the World Cup in the West Indies began to look decidedly misguided yesterday.
And they have still not "finally decided" on their captain for the winter, apart from reiterating that Michael Vaughan, a player who has missed their past 10 Tests and 19 one-day internationals, is still the official captain.
This might be all Vaughan deserves considering his achievements. But it is hardly a vote of confidence in the leadership qualities of either Andrew Strauss or Andrew Flintoff, one of whom will get the job this winter. It must be presumed that whoever is named on Thursday - though it is possible the selectors will hedge by lodging the squad with the International Cricket Council but declining publicly to announce it - will also be disclosed as the Ashes captain the following week.
This is but one selectorial dilemma. The panel was hardly helped by defeat yesterday, this time by seven wickets, for a team that still does a worthy impression of looking makeshift. How it misses Flintoff as a player.
The early onset of autumn made it the first day-night international to be played at Lord's, and Pakistan won at 6.10pm when it had already been dark enough 90 minutes earlier for a Test match to have been curtailed. After some early scares Pakistan batted without incident.
There were two early wickets for Jonathan Lewis in conditions to which his bowling was suited. The match might have become interesting had the umpire Billy Doctrove not wrongly called Lewis for a no ball when he had Younis Khan caught at the wicket with Pakistan on 33. It was extremely poor umpiring by the man seen as an innocent bystander in the Great Oval Ball-Tampering Incident.
None of the other England bowlers remotely looked like taking a wicket, though Rikki Clarke had Younis caught on the mid-wicket boundary, somewhat lazily chipping. Gough was disappointing.
He talked as well as bowled himself into this squad at Essex and he turned up looking overweight, which hardly gave him the best chance. He took nought for 44 in his eight overs and apart from his first over was unthreatening. The selectors must begin to ask themselves what the point of continuing is but then they should have put the question long ago. Pakistan won with 20 balls to spare in match reduced to 40 overs because of rain.
England were in deep trouble from the moment the coin came down, and they must have known it. It was overcast, there was moisture in the air and Pakistan had at their disposal an array of fast-bowling riches.
That amounted to a potent combination which initially threatened to ensure that England's run of one-day matches without a win would be extended to seven without a serious contest. With only four victories in their last 21 matches the figures are beyond massaging. England are hopeless at one-day cricket.
For almost an hour, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were virtually irresistible. If Shoaib made the ball whistle because of the 90mph at which he propelled it, Asif made it talk. England did not choose their shots wisely but they were hardly allowed the opportunity.
They probably had two options: a) pray the forecast of incessant heavy downpours was accurate; or, b) in the likely event of disappointment in that regard, hang in there and remember that a week earlier Sussex won the C & G Trophy on the same ground with a score of 172.
Three wickets went quickly and the only consolation for England was that they might have gone quicker still. Strauss nicked his first ball behind and was nonplussed enough to look urgently at the replay screen as he walked towards the pavilion. Marcus Trescothick edged to second slip and Ian Bell to first.
The interlude that followed involved Kevin Pietersen attempting to seize the initiative in a style that is always inimitable but can occasionally be irritable. He perished essaying a pull against the splendid Asif which was top-edged to third man. But at least England were diligent thereafter. Three of their middle order reached 30 and Chris Read showed a belligerence that again seemed to beg the question: where have you been?
England might have been slightly disappointed to run out of steam towards the end but the total gave them a fighting chance.
Lewis's spell at the Nursery End was almost as incisive as Asif's. He lacks pace but he is a clever bowler and his swing with the new ball was difficult to counter. Neither Mohammad Hafeez, in his first over, nor Shoaib Malik, in his fourth, managed to do so. Nor did Younis when he edged a low catch which Read judged well. Doctrove had intervened, however. Whatever the ICC might have us believe, umpiring is not in especially good order at present.
But it is probably in a slightly better state than England's one-day cricket. There will be asterisks against several names in Thursday's squad. An asterisk in cricket is usually placed against a batsman who is not out. In this case it will more probably designate not out of hospital.
The selectors seem likely to recall Ashley Giles whose latest recovery is apparently going well and may be swayed by the claims of Jimmy Anderson whose back has reportedly recovered. But without Flintoff it is looking mighty glum and a win in the third match of this series on Tuesday would barely relieve the concerns.
Pakistan won toss
Match reduced to 40 overs per side because of rain
M E Trescothick c Younis Khan b Mohammad Asif 6
(Edged to slip playing away from body without moving feet; 34 min, 25 balls, 1 four)
*A J Strauss c Kamran Akmal b Shoaib Akhtar 0
(Caught behind off thin edge; 4 min, 1 ball)
I R Bell c Inzamam-ul-Haq b Shoaib Akhtar 9
(Edged to slip driving extravagantly; 33 min, 21 balls, 1 four)
K P Pietersen c Naved-ul-Hasan b Mohammad Asif 17
(Taken at short third man off a skier after a huge heave; 36 min, 26 balls, 2 fours)
P D Collingwood lbw b Shahid Afridi 35
(Trapped on front foot playing around pad; 85 min, 57 balls, 3 fours)
J W M Dalrymple lbw b Abdul Razzaq 13
(Beaten by delivery that nipped back; 29 min, 22 balls, 2 fours)
R Clarke b Shoaib Akhtar 39
(Perished to rapid ball while trying to be aggressive; 57 min, 47 balls, 3 fours)
ÝC M W Read b Abdul Razzaq 30
(Deceived by delivery that came back in; 30 min, 30 balls, 2 fours, 1 six)
D Gough b Shoaib Akhtar 1
(Beaten by sheer pace; 5 min, 2 balls)
J Lewis run out (Younis Khan) 2
(Direct hit from mid-off; 7 min, 2 balls)
S C J Broad not out 1
(7 min, 3 balls)
Extras (b1 lb4 w7 nb1) 13
Total (167 min, 39.1 overs) 166
Fall: 1-1 (Strauss), 2-18 (Trescothick), 3-18 (Bell), 4-44 (Pietersen), 5-78 (Dalrymple), 6-107 (Collingwood), 7-160 (Read), 8-162 (Clarke), 9-163 (Gough), 10-166 (Lewis).
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 8-0-28-4 (w3) (6-0-13-2 2-0-15-2), Mohammad Asif 8-2-10-2 (one spell), Naved-ul-Hasan 7-0-42-0 (w1) (2-0-18-0 4-0-18-0 1-0-6-0), Abdul Razzaq 6.1-0-30-2 (nb1, w2) (4-0-22-1 1-0-4-0 1.1-0-4-1), Shahid Afridi 5-0-27-1 (w1), Mohammad Hafeez 5-0-24-0 (one spell each).
Shoaib Malik c Read b Lewis 10
(Edged behind reaching outside off stump; 35 min, 24 balls)
Mohammad Hafeez c Read b Lewis 1
(Edged behind after being squared up by seaming ball; 9 min, 5 balls)
Younis Khan c Pietersen b Clarke 55
(Skied to mid-wicket boundary; 109 min, 89 balls, 9 fours)
Mohammad Yousuf not out 49
(121 min, 81 balls, 3 fours)
Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 42
(37 min, 26 balls, 5 fours)
Extras (b1 lb4 w2 nb5) 12
Total (for 3, 157 min, 36.4 overs) 169
Did not bat: Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Naved-ul-Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif.
Fall: 1-9 (Mohammad Hafeez), 2-30 (Shoaib Malik), 3-108 (Younis Khan.
Bowling: D Gough 8-0-44-0 (nb1) (3-0-12-0 3-0-18-0 2-0-14-0), J Lewis 8-4-11-2 (nb2 w1)(one spell), S C J Broad 6-0-39-0 (w1) (3-0-14-0 2-0-15-0 1-0-10-0 0.4- 0-5-0), P D Collingwood 5-1-18-0 (w1) (one spell), R Clarke 7-0-37-1 (nb1) (2-0-12-0 5-0-25-1), I R Bell 2-0-10-0 (one spell).
Younis Khan: 50 off 78 balls (9 x 4)
Umpires: M R Benson and B R Doctrove (WI).
TV umpire: N J Llong. Match referee: M J Procter (SA).
Pakistan won by 7 wickets (D/L Method).
Man of the Match: Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan).
Pakistan lead the five-match series 1-0.
30 Aug, Cardiff: first one-day international: match abandoned. 5 Sept, Southampton: third ODI; 8 Sept, Trent Bridge: fourth ODI; 10 Sept, Edgbaston: fifth ODI.Reuse content