Lloyd looks on the bright side

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The Independent Online
Even if David Lloyd's parachute failed to open you feel sure he would find a straw to clutch at somewhere in the ether. A belief in looking on the bright side runs so deep in the England coach that when he was asked to comment on the collapse that saw England go from 168 for 1 to 243 all out in 29 overs, he said: "I thought Ian Salisbury played pretty well, and Simon Brown hung about at the end."

By then, however, Lloyd's cherished ideal of "session cricket" had been blown to pieces by Mushtaq Ahmed and Waqar Younis. "We were on the run," he said. "It was a classic case of one wicket brings two brings three."

Mike Atherton apportioned no blame other than to himself. "It happens sometimes that you lose one wicket you lose a couple," the England captain said. "That's why you don't play a poor shot when you're in.

"We were confident of saving the game both at the start of the innings and at lunch. It was a game I'd hoped to save. Whether we should have saved it or not is neither here nor there.

"For the five days the Pakistanis played the better cricket and got into a position to win the match, and they won it with a killer blow on the last afternoon. It's disappointing for us, but that happens - it's not a criminal offence. But it's one match down with two to go and we'll be hoping to come back strongly at Headingley."

Wasim Akram, the Pakistan captain, admitted that at lunch, with Atherton and Alec Stewart well set, "we were a little desperate". But, he added, "we knew we needed one or two wickets in one or two overs and we'd be among the lower order batsmen. That's exactly what we did.

"Mushtaq bowled brilliantly," Wasim said. "Waqar I don't have to mention anything. He's a world-class bowler and he came back into his rhythm at a crucial moment." This in spite of a hamstring injury. "It was sore but I put ice on it," Waqar said. England's wounds may take a little more soothing.

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