Knight steadies A team

Cricket: Karachi Combined XI 204 and 223 England A 312 and 116- 4 England A win by six wickets
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Karachi Combined XI 204 and 223 England A 312 and 116-4 England A win by six wickets

John Emburey, the England manager, was a happy man after his team maintained their 100 per cent start to their Pakistan tour with a comfortable six- wicket win over a Combined XI in Karachi yesterday.

Nick Knight, the opening batsman who played in two Tests against the West Indies this summer, steered England to their victory target of 116 with an undefeated 71.

He received solid support from Yorkshire's teenage batsman, Anthony McGrath, who shared in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 60. They repaired the damage after a batting collapse had seen England tumble to 18 for 3.

"I'm very pleased with the result. Every match is an experiment,'' Emburey said. ``This is what a tour of India or Pakistan is all about, pressure, spinning wickets, very slow wickets.

"I'm impressed with the character of Anthony McGrath. He's only 19 and was playing with a tummy upset. He batted lower at No 6 but batted with responsibility, technique and composure. I thought he handled the pressure very well."

Emburey also had words of praise for his captain, Nasser Hussain. "At the end of the day the bottom line is that Nasser led the side very well," he said.

"The key for us were those two partnerships in the first innings between Nasser and Shaun Udal and Ed Giddens and Udal. They were the turning point of the match."

Earlier the Combined XI batted for 50 minutes with Taufiq Bader lending admirable support to Mohammad Ramzan, staying at the wicket for 83 minutes to score just five runs. Ramzan carried his bat for an accomplished 121, displaying amazing concentration for 375 minutes while facing 259 balls.

England A now move on to Lahore where they play a couple of games before the start of the first Test in Multan on 17 November. In the interim period they will be hoping for some key bowlers to recover from their injuries.

"Mike Smith has a strained side. We will not be thinking of flying out a replacement just yet. He has had a cortisone injection and we are hoping he'll be fit for the four-day game between the first and the second Test," Emburey said.

Craig White, who injured a hand on the first day of the tour, will be playing tomorrow when England A play an additional practice match against another Combined XI.

He is in need of an impressive display because Irani has staked a strong claim for the all-rounder's place for the A Test after his medium pace bowling earned him five wickets for only 19 runs on the third day.

(Final day of four; Combined XI won toss)

COMBINED XI - First Innings 204 (Azam Khan 55; I D K Salisbury 4-72).

ENGLAND A - First innings 312 (N Hussain 89, S D Udal 50; Shahid Khan 4-72).

COMBINED XI - Second Innings

(Overnight: 211-9)

Mohammad Ramzan not out 121

Taufiq Bader c Ostler b Salisbury 5

Extras (b11, lb4, w2, nb2) 19

Total (87 overs) 223

Fall: 1-53, 2-89, 3-89, 4-135, 5-171, 6-175, 7-179, 8-183, 9-195.

Bowling: Giddins 22-7-34-0; Smith 3-0-11-0; Udal 25-4-70-1; Salisbury 23-3-74-4; Irani 14-3-19-5.

ENGLAND A - Second Innings

N V Knight not out 71

J C Pooley c Wasim b Ather Laeeq 2

D P Ostler lbw b Ather Laeeq 1

K J Piper lbw b Nadeem Khan 3

R C Irani c Shahid Khan b Nadeem 14

A McGrath not out 21

Extras (b1, lb2, nb1) 4

Total (for 4, 44.4 overs) 116

Fall: 1-9, 2-13, 3-18, 4-56.

Did not bat: *N Hussain, I D K Salisbury, S D Udal, A M Smith, E S H Giddins.

Bowling: Ather Laeeq 9-3-18-2; Shahid Anwar 4-1-6-0; Nadeem Khan 17.4- 2-52-2; Shoaib Mohammad 2-0-9-0; Shahid Khan 12-2-28-0.

Umpires: Salim Badar and Islam Khan.