Plunkett's pace rescues England and puts name in the frame for Test debut

England 256-9 Dec & 112 Patron's XI 211 & 105England win by 52 runs

The home team needed just 158 to win after England were dismissed for 112, with the pace bowler Yasir Arafat taking five wickets. But they collapsed from 50 without loss to 105 all out as Plunkett and Giles caused havoc.

The uncapped Plunkett, in the squad as a replacement for the injured Simon Jones, boosted his chances of playing in the first Test with match figures of 7 for 57. Giles, who did not bowl in the first innings because of an upset stomach, took his four wickets for 39 runs off 11 overs. The spinner Shaun Udal also chipped in with the two final wickets to finish the innings off.

The Patron's XI started solidly and appeared set for a comfortable victory until Yasir Hameed hit straight to Andrew Strauss at mid-wicket off Giles, who then trapped Bazid Khan for nought next ball to make it 50 for 2. They lost two more wickets with the score on 65 when Ashar Zaidi skied Plunkett to James Anderson at mid-on and then the out-of-form Pakistan batsman Asim Kamal dented his chances of playing in the first Test by edging to Marcus Trescothick.

Plunkett's third victim was Faisal Iqbal, caught behind by Matthew Prior for two, and he dismissed the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, just before tea. Giles bowled Shahzad Malik with a quicker ball and got rid of Khalid Latif who mistimed a big hit, which went to Strauss.

England had resumed on 39 for 6 and were tormented by Yasir Arafat, who took the wickets of Ian Bell, Giles and Matthew Hoggard for match figures of 9 for 76.

Michael Vaughan said that he was not concerned about England's batting failures. "No, it is not a worry," the captain said. "This was a practice match and it was not played in a Test match environment. We have the mental resolve for Test cricket.

"We didn't get many runs and we would have liked to have got a few more. But some of the balls the guy bowled for them were very, very good - he [Yasir Arafat] bowled two tremendous spells and put us under a lot of pressure with decent pace," the England captain added. "He got us out on most occasions. We played a few reckless shots, but that is bound to happen in the first game. We want more time in the middle, but we obviously know Test match cricket mentally is totally different.

"The last few seasons in England we have gone in with this so-called 'under-cooked' word. We seem to have done pretty well, though."

England's only promising batting performance came from Trescothick, who scored 124 and 38, when batting at nine, without being dismissed. Prior, the reserve wicketkeeper, also made 50 in the first innings. Vaughan said that he was not happy with his own batting in the match. He collected just nine runs and said he would spend a lot of time in the nets.

If there were qualms about the tourists' batting he also admitted to some concern about the bowling, too - mainly because his attack were not able to test themselves on a more typical Pakistani pitch such as those he expects to be used for the Tests.

"I am happy that the bowlers have got overs in their legs, although I would have liked to see them bowl on more subcontinent-style wickets - a flatter base with not so much swing after 30 overs," he said.

"The wicket wasn't an ideal subcontinent wicket - it was more like a Headingley pitch. We'll see if we get that in the Test matches in a couple of weeks' time. I very much doubt we will. If we get a wicket like that in a Test match we will be happy because our seam attack will take theirs on this kind of pitch."

Vaughan said that Plunkett had a lot of potential. "But it is too early to say if he will be in the Test squad," he admitted.

The first Test begins in Multan on 12 November after a three-day match against Pakistan A in Lahore, where England will be joined by Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison.

"We will probably play our so-called Test XI in the second practice match," Vaughan said. "But we haven't established our Test XI as yet."

England will be given a good work-out, whoever they pick, as the Pakistani selectors have announced a strong squad. The batsman Hasan Raza, who has been named in Pakistan's squad for the first two Tests, will lead the A side, which includes seven Test players.

Pakistan A squad: Hasan Raza*, Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Shahid Yousuf, Faisal Athar, Mansoor Amjad, Arshad Khan, Amin-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Asif, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Khalil, Rizwan Ahmed, Junaid Zia, Usman Tariq.

Rawalpindi scoreboard

England won toss

(final day of three)

England First Innings: 256-9 dec (M E Trescothick 124no, M J Prior 50) Patron's XI First Innings: 211

ENGLAND Second Innings

(Overnight 39 for 6)

P D Collingwood b Najaf Shah 34

I R Bell lbw b Yasir Arafat 1

M E Trescothick not out 38

A F Giles b Yasir Arafat 0

M J Hoggard c Ashar Zaidi b Yasir Arafat 0

Extras (b1 lb4 w1) 6

Total (34.1 overs) 112

Fall: 1-18 2-19 3-23 4-38 5-38 6-38 7-46 8-102 9-105.

Did not bat: L E Plunkett, S D Udal, J M Anderson.

Bowling: Najaf Shah 11-1-34-2; Irshad 11-2-42-3; Yasir Arafat 12.1-4-31-5.

PATRON'S XI Second Innings

Ashar Zaidi c Anderson b Plunkett 26

Yasir Hameed c Strauss b Giles 30

Bazid Khan lbw b Giles 0

*Misbah-ul-Haq c Trescothick

b Plunkett 14

Asim Kamal c Trescothick b Plunkett 0

Faisal Iqbal c Prior b Plunkett 2

Shehzad Malik b Giles 3

Khalid Latif c Strauss b Giles 0

Yasir Arafat c Prior b Udal 4

ÝZulqarnain Haider c Vaughan b Udal 4

Tahir Khan not out 8

Extras (lb9 w5) 14

Total (35.5 overs) 105

Fall: 1-50 2-50 3-65 4-65 5-71 6-75 7-75 8-87 9-88.

Did not bat: Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irshad, Yasir Ali, Najaf Shah.

Bowling: Hoggard 9-3-16-0; Anderson 5-0-17-0; Giles 11-3-39-4; Plunkett 7-0-16-4; Udal 3.5-0-8-2.


Umpires: Riazuddin and Z I Pasha.

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