Pride at stake for Pakistan

David Llewellyn
Sunday 21 July 1996 23:02

Kent 262 and 200 Pakistan 194

It is unlikely, although not impossible, that Pakistan will become the first touring side since the 1964 Australians to suffer successive defeats against county opposition. They have too strong an attack, even when Waqar Younis is not playing, and their batting line-up can set the pulse racing and the scorers' ink flowing. But given their disappointing showing with the bat first time around as the home side's bowlers applied themselves and the shackles, Kent may have slipped just out of reach after leaving Pakistan a target of 269 off 90 overs to achieve today.

The tourists had pitched up in Canterbury on the back of a seven-wicket drubbing at Edgbaston, so with the first Cornhill Test starting later this week, there is probably something of an edge to events at the St Lawrence Ground; great expectations for Kent and steely pride from Pakistan.

But there is no prouder man than the Pakistan captain, Wasim Akram, and when he powered in from the Nackington Road End for 11 hostile overs, he threatened to take apart the Kent second innings single-handedly. Kent are still sticking to their F-Plan, a rich diet of extravagant strokeplay from Matthew Fleming at the start of proceedings. It began well yesterday but hiccupped in the fourth over when Ata-Ur-Rehman had the dashing Fleming leg before.

Then Wasim took over and dismissed Trevor Ward lbw to a full length toe- ball and opener David Fulton, whose middle stump was uprooted by a corker of a yorker.

Much later on, perhaps a shade too late, Wasim returned to account for Steve Marsh, who had just begun to prove troublesome and in between he directed operations and gave Saqlain Mushtaq a long stint, long enough for the promising off-spinner to pick up four useful wickets, which will have gone a long way to persuading the Pakistan management to go to Lord's with two spinners.

Kent made a fight of it, although no one managed to reach the 30s. Nigel Llong was the top scorer with 29, which took him more than an hour and a half to compile, even though it included five boundaries. That was a measure of the accuracy of the Pakistan bowling.

The Kent bowlers had been no less successful and they did well to keep the tourists' score below 200, a critical psychological advantage, given the target.

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