Flintoff graft and Hair intervention hand England crucial breakthrough

Pakistan 462 & 183-6 England 446
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Umpire Darrell Hair is unlikely to feature on Inzamam-ul-Haq's Eid card list after making another contentious decision that resulted in the loss of a Pakistan wicket. Hair was directly involved in the controversial incident that culminated in Inzamam being wrongly given run out in Pakistan's first innings, and yesterday he was at it again, giving England another pre-Christmas gift.

Hair's insistence that Salman Butt had, for a second time in the innings, run on the area of the pitch where no foot is supposed to tread meant that the Pakistan opener lost the single run he had completed and was forced to face the next ball. Shaun Udal bowled the next delivery and Hair adjudged Butt was out lbw when the ball looked as though it would miss leg stump. As he made his way back to the dressing room, Butt must have wondered whether it would be safer to go walking along the Khyber Pass rather than on the wrong part of the pitch.

Before Butt's dismissal Pakistan were 108 for 2, and England's chances of gaining anything but a draw from the match looked slim. Yet the result of Hair's pernickety behaviour revitalised a weary looking England, who took three further wickets to leave the second Test wide open.

Andrew Flintoff was once again the catalyst behind England's revival, and by the close Pakistan were on 183 for 6, with a lead of 199.

Flintoff roared in at the end of another testing day and somehow managed to eke life out of a bland pitch. Sheer strength and effort allowed him to get the ball that bowled Mohammad Yousuf to bounce a little more than the batsman expected, and it resulted in him chopping it on to his stumps. The groans of disappointment from another capacity crowd were quickly replaced by cheers once they realised the wicket heralded the arrival of their favourite player - Shahid Afridi. However, the excitement ended after just one ball when Flintoff ripped Afridi's off-stump out of the ground with a superb inswinger.

As England's hero stood in the middle of the ground with his arms outstretched, Pakistan's forlornly walked off. Fans began streaming out of the ground and by the time Afridi reached the dressing-room the Iqbal Stadium was half-full. Flintoff may empty bars in England but in Faisalabad his actions function like the home-time bell at school.

Flintoff revealed that Michael Vaughan was about to remove him from the attack at the end of the previous over. Good captains are often lucky captains and Vaughan is fortunate to have Flintoff, a man who never shirks hard work, in his team. Flintoff took 2 for20 in a magnificent nine-over spell and he was unfortunate not have the wicket of Inzamam, who was twice rapped on the pads when the ball seemed destined for the stumps.

"Vaughany was about to take me off after my fifth over but I asked for one more," said Flintoff. "It was nice to get Afridi out cheaply. He is the sort of guy who can take a game away from you pretty quickly. I wish I was good enough to say it was part of a plan," he added, "but I'm not. I was aiming for the top of off-stump and it nipped back nicely but I wouldn't say I can produce those balls at will."

Steve Harmison completed an excellent afternoon for Vaughan's side in the final over of the day when a beautiful outswinger found the edge of Kamran Akmal's bat and was caught by Geraint Jones.

Harmison's contribution to England's cause was not limited to the ball. England started the third day trailing Pakistan's first innings score of 462 by 71 runs and, after losing Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard in quick succession, it appeared as though the hosts would take a decent lead.

Udal and Harmison, however, reduced the deficit to 16 with a valuable 47-run partnership. Udal kickstarted matters when he top-edged a hook at Shoaib Akhtar for four. The spinner then drove the fast bowler to the extra cover boundary before hooking him over deep backward square leg for six. It was an amazing stroke and it scattered the field.

Harmison swept Afridi for four, before reverse sweeping Danish Kaneria for another boundary. But just when England began dreaming of a first-innings lead disaster struck with Harmison's comical run-out.

Butt, in Hair's opinion, was guilty of running on the pitch, and it was just as well Harmison did not step foot in the "no go" area as he stop-started his way down. Had he transgressed there would have been two or three size 13 skid marks for the bowlers to aim at.

Harmison's demise was his own fault but one has sympathy for Butt, playing in just his eighth Test. His first caution for running on the pitch was, frankly, ridiculous. Butt claimed that Hair had not had a quiet word before becoming over-officious and television replays appeared to show that his boots had landed in foot-holes made by the bowlers.

Hair did speak to Inzamam as he walked slowly out to bat, to inform him that the next time a Pakistan batsman stepped foot in the area his side would receive a five-run penalty. But by then Inzamam seemed beyond caring and waved him away.

Eid - Muslims' equivalent to Christmas - has just passed, but it will interesting to see how many Pakistan Test matches Hair stands in during 2006.

Highlights of the fourth day

Shot of the day

SHAUN UDAL: Udal has found taking wickets difficult in Pakistan, but you can be sure that he will spend hours next summer telling his Hampshire team-mates how he hooked the quicky Shoaib Akhtar for six. It was an extraordinary shot.

Ball of the day

ANDREW FLINTOFF: The stage was set for Shahid Afridi to take the game out of England's reach when Mohammad Yousuf chopped Flintoff on to his stumps. But Fred spoilt Pakistan's party with a superb inswinger that knocked out his off-stump.

Moment of the day

STEPHEN HARMISON AND SHAUN UDAL: Most tail-enders enjoy batting, especially against the spinners, but they cannot run between the wickets. So many of their innings end in comical run-outs once they think they have things under control. Stephen Harmison's entertaining knock ended the same way yesterday with some typical 'yes', 'no', 'wait', 'oops' calling.

Scoreboard from Faisalabad

Pakistan won toss

Pakistan - First innings 462 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 109).

England - First Innings (Overnight: 391 for 7)

A F Giles b Shahid Afridi 26 104min, 82 balls, 3 fours

S D Udal not out 33 69min, 41 balls, 3 fours, 1 six

M J Hoggard b Shahid Afridi 2 17min, 13 balls

S J Harmison run out 16 28min, 17 balls, 2 fours

Extras (b1, lb12, w1, nb22) 36

Total (591 min, 132.3 overs) 446

Fall (cont): 8-395 (Giles), 9-399 (Hoggard), 10-446 (Harmison).

Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 27-4-93-2 (nb4,w1) (4-1-12-0, 4-0-16-0, 6-0-16-0, 5-0-27-2, 4-1-5-0, 4-2-17-0); Naved-ul-Hasan 20-2-63-2 (nb8) (10-2-23-2, 5-0-19-0, 4-0-18-0, 1-0-3-0); Mohammad Sami 19-4-51-1 (5-1-20-0, 3-2-2-1, 6-1-14-0, 2-0-4-0, 3-0-11-0); Shahid Afridi 30.3-3-95-4 (nb7) (2-0-8-0, 1-0-2-0, 13-1-40-0, 1-0-7-0, 5-1-14-1, 3-1-3-1, 5.3-0-21-2); Danish Kaneria 32-3-102-0 (nb3) (1-0-1-0, 6-0-29-0, 8-2-20-0, 3-0-11-0, 7-1-12-0, 5-0-17-0, 2-0-12-0); Shoaib Malik 4-0-29-0 (2-0-14-0, 2-0-15-0).

Progress: 400: 565min, 126.4 overs.

Pakistan - Second Innings

Shoaib Malik c Bell b Flintoff 26 86min, 59 balls, 4 fours

Salman Butt lbw b Udal 50 189min, 141 balls, 4 fours

Younis Khan lbw b Hoggard 27 79min, 41 balls, 3 fours

Mohammad Yousuf b Flintoff 20 89min, 69 balls

Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 41 108min, 70 balls, 5 fours

Shahid Afridi b Flintoff 0 2min, 1 ball

ÝKamran Akmal c Jones b Harmison 9 35min, 15 balls, 1 four

Naved-ul-Hasan not out 0 2min, 2 balls

Extras (b4, lb4, nb2) 10

Total (for 6, 298 min, 66 overs) 183

Fall: 1-54 (Shoaib Malik), 2-104 (Younis Khan), 3-108 (Salman Butt), 4-164 (Mohammad Yousuf), 5-164 (Shahid Afridi), 6-183 (Kamran Akmal).

To bat: Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Danish Kaneria.

Bowling: Hoggard 9-0-28-1 (4-0-20-0, 5-0-8-1); Flintoff 19-2-46-3 (nb2) (5-0-6-0, 5-0-20-1, 9-2-20-2); Harmison 14-2-41-1 (5-0-19-0, 5-2-10-0, 4-0-12-1); Giles 13-2-35-0 (11-2-26-0, 2-0-9-0); Udal 11-2-25-1.

Progress: 50: 81min, 17.3 overs. 100: 161min, 36.5 overs. 150: 243min, 55.1 overs.

Salman Butt's 50: 181min, 135 balls, 4 fours.

Umpires: D B Hair and S J A Taufel (Aus).