Cricket: Pakistan lifted by Ijaz

David Llewellyn
Monday 22 July 1996 23:02

Kent 262 & 200 Pakistan 194 & 269-2 Pakistan win by eight wickets

The Pakistanis were able to iron out the problems in their build-up to Thursday's first Test against England at Lord's on a shirt-front of a wicket with not a single crease to distract the batsmen from their task. There was a fearsome century from Ijaz Ahmed, who was obligingly allowed to bat himself into form and the confirmation, if any were needed, that Shadab Kabir is a fine prospect.

Kent paid for some poor batting which left a straightforward target, one which Ijaz's power play reduced to inadequacy in his 163-ball innings. There were four thumping sixes, the last of which took the tourists to the total required with more than 20 of their allotted 90 overs remaining.

The result belied Kent's lofty position in the Championship table, but there were some bright spots, notably Graham Cowdrey's catch in the morning to dismiss Aamir Sohail. The celebrations were wild, but in the next session and a half Kent were tamed.

Ijaz muscled in and bustled around as he and Shadab smashed the Kent bowlers to all parts of the St Lawrence Ground in a fine second- wicket stand of 186.

It was a shame that Shadab could not stick around, but he became the unlikely victim of Cowdrey, who easily outdid his morning celebrations when Trevor Ward snapped up a catch at slip to send Shadab back into the pavilion after four hours out in the middle. His third half- century in four innings contained a dozen superbly struck boundaries and if Pakistan were not so confident that Saeed Anwar will have recovered from his stomach upset, he might well have been in with a chance.

The news is not so good for Waqar Younis. Having been reported to have recovered from a hamstring strain, his captain, Wasim Akram, let it be known that the fast bowler will need a strenuous work-out today to establish his level of fitness. Wasim said they did not wish to risk the injury at all and that Waqar had not yet proved he was 100 per cent fit.

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