Ton eludes Pietersen but England well on top

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Kevin Pietersen survived a 'dead-ball' controversy among his many scrapes but still fell short of his first Test century in 23 innings as England continued to dominate Pakistan at Edgbaston.

The tourists missed five chances, of varying difficulty, to dismiss Pietersen in his 80 out of England's 251 all out on day two of the second npower Test.

Pakistan captain Salman Butt then registered their sixth duck of the match as they crawled to 19 for one in 17 overs to remain 160 behind at stumps.

The strangest incident in Pietersen's laboured innings, and certainly the one which seemed to most annoy tourists still ruing their 72 all out yesterday, was not a Pakistan mistake but caused mass confusion over the dead ball law as it went the batsman's way when he had made 41.

Pakistan's lot was still more unenviable after Umar Gul limped off with a hamstring injury - and following Pietersen's third-wicket stand of 133 with Jonathan Trott (55), it emerged the seamer would play no further part in this match.

Saeed Ajmal hit back with his maiden five-wicket haul, as England lost their last five for eight runs. But Pakistan had surely slipped too far off the pace already for their fightback to make a significant difference in a series they trail 1-0.

Pietersen was reprieved in a bizarre episode which had observers reaching for their Wisdens to check the Laws of Cricket.

He pulled away to the leg-side just as Mohammad Asif reached his delivery stride, after being distracted by movement behind the bowler's arm.

But unfortunately, he decided to play a shot after all - and chipped an easy catch to Butt at mid-off.

Umpire Marais Erasmus signalled dead ball by the time the catch had been taken. Butt was nonetheless convinced Pietersen should have been out - and although Law 23.3 fell well short of appropriate clarification, it suggested at least that the Pakistani captain had a point. There was nonetheless no doubt that hapless Pakistan were making most of their own problems, as they continued to blunder their way through the match.

An exasperated Butt estimated last night that they had already blown five clear chances to take wickets.

He could add another glaring miss to his tally within 10 minutes of this morning's resumption, Pietersen escaping again without addition to his overnight 36.

This time, he got an inside edge on to his pad on a Mohammad Aamer inswinger - and while Pakistan were busy appealing for lbw, Umar Amin somehow contrived to put down an undroppable catch in the gully.

Pietersen had to wait until after lunch to reach his 50, with his eighth four - and by far his most convincing shot - when he drove Aamer wide of mid-on from the 97th ball he faced.

Trott continued to slip under the radar on his way to an undemonstrative but composed half-century which eventually arrived off 105 balls when he straight-drove Gul for his seventh four.

Soon afterwards, Gul limped off after aborting his run-up at the start of an over - and the tourists had to bring on their second substitute fielder, with Shoaib Malik already out of the equation because of a bruised finger.

But Gul was replaced at the old pavilion end by Amin, and the medium-pacer quickly enhanced his reputation as a partnership breaker when a disbelieving Trott hit a full-blooded cut low but straight into the hands of sub Yasir Hameed at gully.

Heavy rain meant no further play until after tea, when Pietersen's luck finally ran out - Ajmal (five for 82) collecting a routine return catch from a drive at a doosra.

Eoin Morgan edged Asif behind on the back-foot defence, and Matt Prior missed a sweep at Ajmal to go lbw after a failed England review.

Ajmal had Graeme Swann dropped twice in single figures but shifted Paul Collingwood when Imran Farhat held on at slip - and by the time the second new ball was available it was down to the last two wickets to try in vain to extend the lead beyond 200.

Butt edged a very good ball from James Anderson to slip in the third over of Pakistan's second innings. But despite some excellent bowling too from Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, Farhat and Azhar Ali stood firm.

After his 32-ball duck yesterday, number three Azhar was still runless in the match until the 47th ball he faced - which he pushed to cover off Broad for a scurried single.

England made good on Broad's promise last night, to give Pakistan's batsmen nothing, and it took until the final ball of the 13th over - from Finn - for Farhat to square-cut just over point for the first four of the innings.