Michael Vaughan will never forget his first match as England captain. His lasting emotion on an evening where his abilities were tested to the limit will be one of disappointment. However, he can take reassurance from the fact that he will seldom be tested like he was here. The experience gained during England's two-wicket defeat should serve him well for the challenges to come.
Vaughan will also be aware of the size of the task that lies ahead of him. His inexperienced side competed hard to defend a below-par score of 204 against an equally youthful Pakistan but in the end it was the greater experience of the visitors' lower order which saw them home. When Abdul Razzaq slogged Rikki Clarke over mid-on for four, with four balls left, the ensuing pitch invasion - which will have caused distress to the England and Wales Cricket Board - by Pakistan followers showed just how much England had tested their opponents.
England's bowlers, led by James Anderson and Darren Gough, gave it everything but it was not quite enough. The display in the field was also full of commitment and skill.
The batsmen, however, need to spend some time thinking about what went wrong. They have two days before the next game at The Oval on Friday to improve their game and quite a large percentage of this should be spent talking their tactics through with the coach Duncan Fletcher. It is asking a lot of the bowlers, and fielders, to protect scores of around 200.
On 139 for 2 it appeared Pakistan would coast to victory in this opening NatWest Challenge match. The 22-year-old opener Mohammad Hafeez looked in little trouble and Yousuf Youhana had just played an exquisite cover drive off Gough for four. However, a brilliant piece of fielding from Vaughan at extra cover changed proceedings entirely.
After a dreadful start, in which his first three overs went for 26 runs, Anderson at last found form on his home ground. In the over after Youhana's run out the Lancashire pace bowler rattled the castle of Younis Khan but it was the dismissal of man of the match Hafeez for 69 that appeared to cause the Pakistan camp to panic. Shoaib Malik scored a quickfire 24 before becoming Gough's first victim for England in almost a year and then Anderson trapped Rashid Latif in front of his stumps.
At this stage Pakistan still needed 17 runs to win but now had only three wickets in hand. With nine required Azhar Mahmood pulled a Gough bouncer to mid-wicket only to see Jim Troughton take a brilliant catch diving to his left. This, however, proved to be England's last sight of stealing an unlikely victory.
In many ways, this ground could have been kinder to Vaughan on his debut. Not only did the huge vocal support for Pakistan in a crowd of 19,000 make the England team feel as though they were in Karachi but the combination of a bone dry pitch and a sultry day ensured conditions were more sub-continental than English.
The demise of England's batsmen had little to do with the state of the pitch. The top order were dismissed by aggressive bowling and the lower order, having been firstly restricted by the off-spin of Shoaib Malik, showed their inexperience through poor shot selection. Andrew Flintoff top scored with 39 but it was career best figures of 3 for 26 from Shoaib which ensured Pakistan only had a modest total to chase.
OLD TRAFFORD SCOREBOARD
England won toss
M E Trescothick c Rashid b Sami 18
V S Solanki b Hafeez 36
M P Vaughan c Rashid b Umar 27
J O Troughton c Rashid b Umar 6
A Flintoff c Yasir b Razzaq 39
A McGrath c Sami b Shoaib 33
R Clarke b Shoaib 0
C M W Read c Imran b Shoaib 5
A F Giles run out 3
D Gough not out 14
J M Anderson not out 6
Extras (lb6, w6, nb5) 17
Total (for 9, 50 overs) 204
Fall: 1-45 (Trescothick), 2-64 (Solanki), 3-96 (Troughton), 4-106 (Vaughan), 5-152 (Flintoff), 6-152 (Clarke), 7-164 (Read), 8-169 (Giles), 9-194 (McGrath).
Bowling: Azhar Mahmood 7-0-24-0 (3-0-18-0, 4-0-6-0) (nb2, w2); Mohammad Sami 10-2-52-1 (2-0-19-0, 4-1-19-1, 3-1-8-0, 1-0-6-0) (nb3, w1);; Mohammad Hafeez 10-0-41-1 (4-0-26-1 2-0-5-0 4-0-10-0) (w2); Umar Gul 7-0-33-2 (w1); Abdul Razzaq 6-0-22-1; Shoaib Malik 10-2-26-3 (one spell each).
Progress: 50: 33 min, 50 balls. Score after 15 overs: 96 for 3. 100: 67 min, 103 balls. 150: 124 min, 193 balls. 200: 189 min, 298 balls.
Imran Nazir c Solanki b Clarke 33
Mohammad Hafeez c Clarke b Anderson 69
Yasir Hameed c McGrath b Giles 23
Yousuf Youhana run out (Vaughan, TV replay) 8
Younis Khan b Anderson 0
Shoaib Malik c Clarke b Gough 24
Azhar Mahmood c Troughton b Gough 16
Rashid Latif lbw b Anderson 1
Abdul Razzaq not out 12
Mohammad Sami not out 7
Extras (lb9 w6) 15
Total (for 8, 215 min, 49.2 overs) 208
Fall: 1-60 (Imran Nazir), 2-116 (Yasir Hameed), 3-139 (Yousuf Youhana), 4-139 (Younis Khan), 5-158 (Mohammad Hafeez), 6-181 (Shoaib Malik), 7-188 (Rashid Latif), 8-194 (Azhar Mahmood).
Did not bat: Umar Gul.
Bowling: Anderson 10-0-59-3 (w3) (2-0-18-0, 1-0-8-0, 7-0-33-3); Gough 10-1-38-2 (5-1-14-0, 3-0-14-0, 2-0-10-2); Flintoff 10-2-23-0 (3-1-6-0, 3-0-4-0, 4-1-13-0); Giles 10-0-29-1 (6-0-16-0, 4-0-13-1); Clarke 7.2-0-41-1 (w3) (6-0-30-1, 1.2-0-11-0); Vaughan 2-0-9-0 (one spell).
Progress: 50: 57 min, 78 balls. 15 overs score: 54-0. 100: 108 min, 159 balls. 150: 158 min, 228 balls. 200: 209 min, 288 balls.
Mohammad Hafeez's 50: 113 min, 77 balls, 6 fours.
PAKISTAN WON BY TWO WICKETS
Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and D R Shepherd (Eng).
TV Replay Umpire: P Willey (Eng).Reuse content