Pakistan prevail at the Oval

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The Independent Online

Pakistan reinvigorated their npower series against England with a nailbiting four-wicket victory on the fourth afternoon of the third Test.

Having been set a modest 148 for victory, skipper Salman Butt (48) appeared to set the tourists up for a comfortable win only for James Anderson and Graeme Swann to take three wickets for eight runs after lunch.

But despite some genuine tension and an excitable crowd at the Brit Insurance Oval, Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer saw them home to go 2-1 behind with one match to play.

England surrendered their final wicket in the meekest of fashions, Stuart Broad aiming an ugly slap straight to mid-on with just one run added to the overnight total.

Aamer was the deserving bowler, ending with figures of five for 52 and ensuring England's innings went from 194 for three to 222 all out.

Pakistan's chase started nervily, Yasir Hameed falling a golden duck in the first over.

Anderson, carved for four by Farhat seconds before, was the bowler and a juggling Swann the catcher at slip.

England appealed loudly for lbw against Butt off Anderson's next ball but were rightly denied.

Farhat continued his bright start, finding two more boundaries to ease the tourists' nerves.

A Broad bouncer then swerved in the air and yielded four byes as the scoreboard ticked along at an alarming rate.

Swann was summoned to bowl just the sixth over and immediately tempted Farhat into a rash stroke down the ground.

Runs continued flowing, Farhat continuing his devil-may-care approach by charging Steven Finn and picking up four off the inside edge.

He eventually fell for 33 to a mis-timed sweep, adjudged lbw to a straightening Swann delivery.

Butt took 10 off the next over, bowled by Finn, to settle his side again.

In an attempt to stem the flow, Andrew Strauss presented Butt with an eight-strong offside field, leaving Broad with a solitary mid-on on the other side of the pitch.

It was a gamble that failed, Butt twice finding gaps in the crowded cover region and then clipping a boundary through the deserted onside.

At the other end Mohammad Yousuf was proving a typically awkward opponent, dabbing singles on both sides of the wicket and feathering Swann to the third-man boundary.

Swann eventually prised out Butt for 48 with a nick to slip, but at 103 for three the bulk of the hard work looked done.

The teams emerged after lunch with Pakistan 33 short of victory and Yousuf, back in the side after reversing his retirement, soon eased Swann to the third-man ropes for his fourth boundary.

The score was 124 when Azhar Ali was brilliantly run out by Anderson for five and the Lancastrian then accounted for Yousuf (33) with a glorious away swinging yorker.

That left 17 still needed and the crowd were audibly buoyed.

Kamran Akmal played and missed at his next two balls, one the subject of an unsuccessful referral.

The wicketkeeper fell lbw for nought moments later, padding up to a Swann delivery destined for middle stump - a decision ratified by the television umpire.

A runless period of 28 balls ensued, Aamer releasing some of that tension with a boundary through mid-wicket as Swann dropped short.

Umar Akmal looked jittery but drew his side level with a sharp two and then turned Swann (three for 50) away for four.

The sides reconvene at Lord's next week.