Hoggard exploits unexpected conditions

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The Independent Online

As a carpet was swiftly and predictably found for the Alec Stewart affair to be swept under by the mandarins at Lord's yesterday, the rest of the England team had a game to play. The initial reaction was that the players were rather more thorough about their business than the officials.

As a carpet was swiftly and predictably found for the Alec Stewart affair to be swept under by the mandarins at Lord's yesterday, the rest of the England team had a game to play. The initial reaction was that the players were rather more thorough about their business than the officials.

Maybe they were fazed by the unsubstantiated allegations made against Stewart, maybe they thought the Indian police had gone barmy, maybe they did not think anything about it at all. Then again, maybe their minds were concentrated when they rolled up at the ground here and saw not a dusty, dry crumbly stretch of turf but a rich piece of grazing land.

It was more like Derby than Rawalpindi. Another feature that was more like Derby was the number of spectators in the ground (Derby always gets it in the neck on these matters). The crowd built up through the day but never to more than 500.

True, it was probably hotter than it usually is at the County Ground and the catering was not as good. England, at any rate, might not have been too unhappy at being asked to field given the green-top in front of them, but they might have made two observations.

The first was that this may have meant they would not be granted much practice against spin by their cunning Pakistani hosts, the second was that they would have to bat fourth, by which time the pitch might well be turning appreciably.

The new ball was taken by Matthew Hoggard, playing only his second game for England, the first having been in the gripping Test match at Lord's last summer. He bowled with verve and some little movement, the result perhaps of having been on tour for a long time without a game and seeing the grass. He gained some bounce, too, and, by the 10th over, had his first reward as Imran Abbas, not expecting the movement, nicked one to slip. Two more wickets followed.

Hoggard's opening partner was Dominic Cork, who was not initially so successful. His length was ineffective, his movement too predictable. But this was his first spell on these shores.

The two spinners were naturally given plenty of work with the promise of more to come on other surfaces. Judgement must be reserved, although Ashley Giles was plainly more effective than Ian Salisbury because his delivery was more constant.

The leg-spinner bowled four maidens and more long hops but looked eager for work. As did Giles, the left-armer, who also earned some turn, which is more of a rarity in his case, and gained him a wicket.

The Patron's XI finished the day at 188 for 5, which is less than they might have liked. It was slow stuff, especially in the last session when England kept going well. Qaiser Abbas's unbeaten 71 from 139 balls was painstaking, Javed Qadeer's unbeaten two from 58 was torturous. After all that one-day stuff it was a delight.

First day of four; Patron's XI won toss

PATRON'S XI - First innings

Naveed Ashraf c Nixon b Trescothick 29 Imran Abbas c Hick b Hoggard 10 Kamran Ali c Thorpe b Hoggard 15 *Mohammad Wasim c Hick b Giles 29 Qaiser Abbas not out 71 Salman Shah c White b Hoggard 17 ÿJaved Qadeer not out 2 Extras (b4 lb4 nb7) 15 Total (for 5) 188

Fall: 1-35, 2-44, 3-85, 4-95, 5-162.

To bat: Mohammad Akram, Munir Ansari, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Shafiq.

Bowling: Hoggard 19-5-33-3; Cork 11-3-30-0 (nb4); Trescothick 7-2-9-1 (nb2); White 11-0-42-0; Salisbury 14-4-32-0; Giles 18-6-25-1; Vaughan 3-1-5-0 (nb1); Thorpe 1-0-4-0.

ENGLAND: M A Atherton, M E Trescothick, M P Vaughan, *G P Thorpe, G A Hick, ÿP A Nixon, C White, D G Cork I D K Salisbury, A F Giles, M J Hoggard.

Umpires: Kamal Marchant and Z I Pasha.

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