Leicestershire 315-9dec & 191 Pakistan 304-5dec & 207-2: Pakistanis head for Lord's in high spirits
Tuesday 04 July 2006
The Pakistan tourists completed the first of their two warm-up matches this week with a comfortable victory that will do nothing to improve England's collective state of mind ahead of the first Test at Lord's on Thursday week.
Chasing 203 to win after Leicestershire were dismissed for 191 in their second innings, the Pakistanis reached their target inside 41 of 56 overs as Shoaib Malik and stand-in captain, Younis Khan, entertained sweltering spectators by ruthlessly punishing the county side's attack.
Malik amassed 12 fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 110, his partner's massive maximum over long-on against Leicestershire captain Jeremy Snape's off-spin completing his half-century and confirming an eight-wicket win.
The result enabled coach Bob Woolmer to leave for the four-day meeting with England A at Canterbury feeling optimistic, despite the absence of fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan from his first Test thinking.
"We did OK against Sri Lanka without them and Mohammad Sami and Umar Gul have run in well here," he said. "The confidence from winning matches is important in the preparation for a Test series."
Woolmer confirmed that Naved will be asked to bowl at full pace before play at Canterbury on Thursday but even if his groin injury shows no reaction he is unlikely to take part at Lord's.
Sami struck with the second ball of the day when Darren Robinson edged thinly to the wicketkeeper before Gul hurried one through to bowl Snape. Assuming that Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Asif are assured of places, there will be a chance for one of these bowlers at Lord's.
Any thoughts that the tourists might wrap up victory even further ahead of time had to be revised after wicketkeeper Tom New was joined by John Sadler in a attractive partnership of 105 for the fifth wicket before the latter was deceived in the flight by Danish Kaneria, a tame chip to short cover giving the leg-spinner the first of four wickets.
The dismissal of Dinesh Mongia, caught behind dabbing at a ball from Shahid Afridi as Leicestershire's tail faced leg-spin at both ends, sparked a rapid collapse by the home side, who lost their last five wickets for 10 runs in the space of five overs.
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