Sad tail forgets survival instincts

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The Independent Online
It would have been interesting to know what, if anything, was going through the minds of Ian Salisbury and Dominic Cork as they went about the business of trying to see John Crawley to his hundred and England to 350. They batted as if it had never occurred to them to do either.

It should have been their job to make one end safe while the last recognised batsman collected those anxious six runs and then to have given him every chance to push the score along afterwards. It was elementary.

And yet what happened? After taking a controlled single to third man off Waqar Younis in the first over, Salisbury played a fly-swat of a hook at Wasim Akram in the next which lobbed to square leg where there was no field and he picked up two runs.

Two balls later down came another short one, Salisbury tried to repeat the stroke and the ball flew off the bat to Inzamam-ul-Haq at first slip. Crawley, who was 95, must have been completely bemused standing at the non-striker's end.

Whenever Cork bats against Pakistan he will always be made to remember those bouncers he bowled at Pakistan's lower order at Headingley and Lord's. As soon as he came in he was ducking and weaving against Wasim and each bouncer was followed by a lengthy glaring match.

Before Waqar started his next over to Cork, he and Wasim had a long conversation. Cork was looking unsettled and to the second ball played a wild forcing shot off the back foot to a ball wide enough to have left alone and he was caught behind. It is hard to believe that batsmen at this level do not know what is expected of them in circumstances like these.

Crawley was 96 and with only two wickets to fall he must have felt that he was in danger of running out of partners. However, a nice shot off his legs against Waqar brought him his hundred.

A first Test century brings so much confidence with it. Crawley will now feel he belongs in the side as Nick Knight will have done after his hundred at Headingley. A score of, say, 94 is excellent but it leaves the sour taste of the hundred just missed.They were six important runs for Crawley - and for England too, one hopes.