Last-wicket stand frustrates England

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The Independent Online
One of the most irritating things in cricket is to have to suffer a long last-wicket stand, especially when you know one of the batsmen is a custom-built No 11. This was England's fate at the start of the second day as Ata-ur-Rehman helped Rashid Latif add 50 for Pakistan's last wicket.

If Rehman batted at No 10 he would be too high up the order and England's bowlers will have expected to get rid of him in an over or two. But suddenly they found that he had played a maiden over from Dominic Cork without too much difficulty.

Then, Latif began to push the ball around and managed to farm the bowling cleverly and keep Rehman from the strike. The few balls he faced he played without difficulty and then somehow survived another maiden. The 300 was up and suddenly this was proving a more difficult obstacle to overcome than England had expected.

The seam bowlers now began to try almost too hard and did not bowl well. They gave Latif too many opportunities to drive and to play off his legs and they found little or no movement. For England, the stand was becoming distinctly irritating.

After lunch on Thursday, Mike Atherton had called up Graeme Hick to dig him out of a hole with his occasional off-breaks and he obliged. Now Atherton continued with the seam, ignoring both his spinners, Hick and the leg- spinner Ian Salisbury, whose wrist spin is always likely to cause problems to tail-enders

First Atherton took the new ball and it was not until an hour's cricket had gone by and the new ball was eight overs old that he called up Salisbury. In his third over a perfectly pitched leg-break found the edge of Latif's forward stroke. By then, 50 invaluable runs had been added; runs which from the way this match is developing could come to have enormous significance.

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