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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Fourth Test: day two as it happened
England 173 v Pakistan 336-3

Mohammad Yousuf hit his third century of a series in which he has hit more than 600 runs as Pakistan's batsmen took an iron grip on the Oval Test.

The prolific Yousuf ended a day in which just 60 overs were possible unbeaten on 115 as Pakistan reached 336-3, leading England by 163.

Yousuf had been dropped twice off the bowling of Matthew Hoggard late on Thursday - and England paid dearly.

At stumps on day two, it looked like England's victory hopes had vanished.


By Tom Fordyce


1840: That's it - no more play today. The way it looks out there we were as likely to see gyrating midgets at the wicket as the Pakistan batsmen.

1810: Nothing going on here at all. It's still dark, it's not raining, and there's no sign of any play. In theory we could still go on until 1930 BST, but if you've got an urgent engagement elsewhere this evening, I'd pop off now if I were you.

1748: BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY Maybe Inzi fancies a breather - he has a word with Darrell Hair about the light, out come the meters and off they go. Without being too pessimistic, that could be it for the day. England will be hoping so - so far they've suffered a collective nightmare.

1745: That could be one of the worst overs Steve Harmison has ever bowled. Yousuf lofts him back over his head for four, and Harmie responds by spraying one so far down leg that it goes for four wides. Two Chris Reads wouldn't have stopped that one.

1740: In comes Inzamam, moving like a sleepy bear. England take the new ball and Hoggard comes tearing in - only to push one down the leg side to let the big man get off the mark with a two.

1735: WICKET - Hafeez caught Strauss bowled Hoggard 95 Hold onto your seats - England strike! Hafeez, perhaps nervy as he approached his century, clips a straightforward Hoggard delivery into Strauss's hands at short midwicket.

1729: Pietersen does disturb Hafeez - by bargeing into him at the non-striker's end and sending him to the deck. It's the first bit of aggression England have shown all day, and it was accidental. KP then induces an edge off Yousuf, but it flies wide of Trescothick at first slip.

1723: Ian Bell can't be happy about this - Strauss has brought Pietersen on for a twirl. KP gets a little bit of turn, but nothing that would trouble anyone who's ever held a bat. Pakistan look like they could bat through September without being disturbed by anything but rain, nightfall and the need to execute bodily functions.

1718: Will Collingwood make it tough for Yousuf? Or will he serve up a wide half-volley so juicy that it should have arrived in a basting tray? You guessed right - Yousuf flays him to the boundary, and that's his century - his third of the series. He has now passed 600 runs in the series, and celebrates by whacking another four back past Collingwood.

1716: Yousuf drives Collingwood through cover to reach 99. A man in the crowd wearing a pink cowboy hat looks both unhappy and drunk.

1712: Hafeez and Yousef edge towards their tons at the speed of Mike Gatting ascending an Alp. England can't buy a wicket; Pakistan have weighed anchor.

On the subject of turn-ups on cricket trousers, John Matthews of Bath writes: "Colin Dredge of Somerset used to wear whites that finished just below his knees, a fashion that still remains in Somerset to this day."

1704: Would you believe it - the sun's shining. He hasn't got his hat on by any means, but he's definitely come out to play. Although he could get called back inside any minute. Pakistan move on serenely to 291-2.

1656: Today is now as bad a day as Thursday for England. Hafeez top-edges a Hoggard short ball, the ball spirals down to deep backward square and Monty P spills the chance. It wasn't easy - there was an element of a dive involved, or at least a fall, but he never looked like catching it. It's all gone very quiet out there.

"Turn-ups on trousers seem to go in and out of fashion, but I don't think I've ever seen them on cricket trousers." Jonathen Agnew, Test Match Special

1651: An absolute stinker of an over from For Dancing. Two short, wide deliveries are cut away by Hafeez for four, the second going straight through Cook's legs on the boundary. Mahmood then over-compensates with a full toss that Hafeez thrashes past mid-off.

1644: Mahmood - or 'For Dancing', as we now know him - is loosening up. We've lost so much play today that we'd need to go on until midnight to get all the overs in. As it is, things will go on til 1930 BST if it stays dry enough and light enough.

1640: Hoggard replaces Harmison to little effect. Not one of England's bowlers has looked dangerous today, and Pakistan's lead is growing steadily. Strauss is chewing thoughtfully on some gum in the slips.

1632: Collingwood does indeed come on, and Yousuf helps himself to a four from a plump half-volley. Matthew Hoggard is staring up at the clouds with incredulity. You'd think he'd be used to grey clouds - he's from Yorkshire.

1628: Harmie nearly strikes with his first delivery, beating the edge of Hafeez's prodding bat. Looks like Collingwood will come on at the other end - either that or he's doing a rain dance.

1620: Steve Harmison is out on the field, fully changed and ready to go, but there's no sign of anyone else. Here comes Darrell Hair, looking particularly grumpy. The odds on him staying out here long are slimmer than he's ever been.

1558: News from the middle: we're now looking at 1625 BST before the players come back out. Apparently there are issues with water around the square. The groundstaff are trundling around on motorised rollers and seem to be rather enjoying themselves.

1549: Good news all round - the outer covers are coming off, with the umpires in the middle keeping an eye on things. It's still gloomier than a Leonard Cohen song out there, but play could be underway shortly.

1543: TEA Tea officially being taken. Or eaten, if you didn't go to a posh school.

A number of votes have come in for "For Dancing", as in, "I'm in Mahmood for Dancing". Never underestimate the effect the Nolan Sisters have had on popular culture.

1530: Carl Hey in Liverpool writes: "I used to play cricket with Saj Mahmood for Lancashire throughout junior cricket. He used to open the bowling for Lancs U17s with the now-Warwickshire seamer James Anyon - so we had 'Saj & Anyon' opening the bowling for us."

Tip: if you're struggling to get that one, think stuffing.

1526: News from the pavillion - they're taking tea in about ten minutes, and so won't be back on until 1600 BST at the earliest. And that's if it doesn't rain any more. It's hard to say which is gloomier - England's prognosis in this match or the light in the middle.

1510: Covers update - they're still on. The rain's not heavy, but the brollies are still up.

From Tim Morton: "How about 4love, as in 'I'm in Mahmood for Love'?"

1452: PLAY SUSPENDED FOR RAIN Uh-oh - here comes the rain again. Ben Lyle knew what he was talking about. Off go the players, on come the covers.

More Mahmood suggestions, including this from Paul Brett: "We have Harmy, so why not Mahmy?"

Three votes have come in for 'S and M'. Not bad, although cricketers being cricketers that would probably soon get abbreviated to 'S' or 'Essers'.

1448: Collingwood continues with limited success. Yousuf pulls him for four, and it's hard to see where England can get a wicket from here.

Ben Lyle mails in: "It's raining in Clapham." For non-Londoners, that's about two miles away from The Oval. Roughly.

1444: Harmison goes round the wicket and nearly bags Hafeez first ball - the batsman's flamboyant cut missing the ball by a fraction.

Several suggestions come in for 'Moody' as a nickname for Saj. I'll give that five out of ten - it does a job, but there's definitely room for improvement.

1438: Strauss must be reading these updates on his mobile - he brings on Collingwood. The flame-haired trundler sends his first three balls down the leg side before tightening up and conceding just one run.

Tony Burke writes: "What about 'Lighten' Mahmood?

1431: Hafeez goes to his half-century with a delightful lofted drive for six off Monty. He barely put any muscle into that at all - his bat barely made it to horizontal. Whisper it quietly - could it be time for some Colley wobblers?

From David Payne: "Re nicknames for Saj Mahmood, what about 'Tuates', as in 'Fluctuates'?"

Realising the huge error he has just made, he then adds: "Where did you say you hung my coat?"

1424: Yousuf goes to 67 with a sketchy edged four off Harmison. Harmison had riled him by flinging the ball back at him a moment earlier, with Chris Read going full length to prevent four overthrows.

1417: Another accurate over from Mahmood, with just one no ball to add to the total. There's not much sign of reverse swing for him so far. The crowd is very muted - as quiet as it's been at The Oval for years.

There's some debate among colleagues about possible nicknames for Mahmood, with barely a decent suggestion made. I'm sure there must be better out there than "Sajjers"...

1412: Monty has switched to going over the wicket, aiming to get some turn out of the rough outside Yousuf's leg stump. It's all a bit negative, and not at all Monty.

Bad news on the rain front from T Shea: "I'm in Beckenham and it's raining very hard, should be with you at The Oval in 10 minutes."

1407: A huge cheer from the crowd as Bell appears to take a tumbling catch at cover off Hafeez's drive - only for Bell to sportingly indicate that the ball had bounced just in front of him. Bowler Mahmood puts his hands on his head - he's bowled well since lunch.

Giora Moss writes: "I'm afraid Duncan has stuck an extra 0 in. His claim is that the narrow "radius" of the oval (the length of a perpendicular passing through the crease) is 35.2 metres, which seems valid, but that the long "radius" of the oval (the length of the oval passing through both stumps) is 541 metres!

"There aren't going to be to many sixes scored that way. I think he probably meant to calculate that as 54.1m, which would mean his estimate was 165 cubic metres, and so similar to Simon's."

1402: Excellent over from Mahmood - almost McGrath-like in its accuracy, if lacking the chirping of six vocal Aussies behind the wicket.

A huge spanner in the works from Phil Monk: "The calculation is further confused by evaporation. Assuming that not all the water runs off the pitch / soaks in immediately, some of it will evaporate.

"Have you any idea what the average temperature and humidity were during the night?"

1356: Monty is being milked very effectively by Yousuf. If that sentence conjures up an unpleasant image for you, I apologise. Yousuf moves on to 54.

1350: Yousuf reaches his 50 with a gentle cut off Monty. The sun squeaks through the clouds to provide the weakest of shadows.

1344: Mahmood opens the bowling after lunch. Nothing too threatening - Yousuf looks very comfortable. This could be a very testing session for England.

More from Duncan Harris: "We first need to get the area of the Oval in pixels from the Ordnance Survey website. The Oval is an ellipse, so we need to calculate the two axes of the ellipse... " (long series of complicated sums).... "pi*a*b = 3.14 * 17600 * 270400 = 14950965102 mm2, multiply that by 11 to get 1.64461 x10^11 mm, convert that to metres cubed by dividing by 1000000000, and we get: 1650 cubic metres of water."

So one correspondent says 1650m, another 135.3m - a huge variation in estimates. Anyone else?

1337: Strauss leads his men out for what could be another session of toil. No sunshine, but plenty of emails over lunch about the total amount of rainfall at The Oval overnight (see 1236 BST).

Simon Wright writes: "Taking an aerial photograph and scaling it to size (the length of the wicket gives a good 22 yard ruler); the size of the Oval measured 12303.8 square metres, so 11mm of rain would be 135.3418 cubic metres.

"Don't know how good the drains are after recent building works; so perhaps we should also include the area of the stands, as the rain onto them may run off onto the grass.

"If the whole Oval site (24279.2 square metres) had to drain through the exposed playing area, the depth of water would be worse; a pond liner would have filled to 21.7 millimetres. That would be 267 m, and as each cubic metre weighs one metric tonne.

"That's 267 tonnes of rain!"

1300: LUNCH - Pakistan 190-2 (Hafeez 28, Yousuf 46) There's lunch - and Pakistan are looking very comfortable at 190-2. They scored 94 runs in that session at 4.27 per over for the loss of just one man, and England are staring down the wrong end of a big first innings deficit here.

1251: Six runs off Monty's over, with Hafeez playing a delightful late cut for four. Pietersen gave chase with the enthusiasm of Robert Key going to a Weight-Watchers meeting. Maybe he was worried about slipping on the soggy outfield - that 11mm of rain could be messing with his mind.

1247: Harmison finally comes on, and starts with a maiden. Nothing too pacey there - England will be hoping there's more in the tank.

1242: Monty looks for some flight but Yousuf waits and waits before sweeping him for four and driving him for another boundary. 22 off the last two overs, and Pakistan have whistled past England's total.

1236: A weary-looking Hoggard gets taken for three fours in three balls by Hafeez - a leg glance, a cover drive and and clip through midwicket. Time for a blow, surely.

Duncan (1144 BST) returns to the rain gauge debate: "To get the amount of rain that fell on The Oval (in cubic millimetres) you need to know the area of The Oval in square millimetres and multiply that number by 11 millimetres."

Anyone fancy giving that a go?

1230: Hoggie gets aggressive - he bounces Yousuf and gives him a Yorkshire stare. Still no sign of Steve Harmison having a joust - he's actually off the field, and has been replaced by former England under-19 captain Bilal Shafayet.

John Rigby emails in: "Regarding measuring rainfall - this is usually measured by collecting rain in a rain gauge at observing stations run by the Met Office.

"The gauge consists of a 5" diameter funnel with a sharp rim, the spout of the funnel being inserted into a glass collecting jar. The jar is in an inner copper can and the two are contained in the main body of the gauge, the lower part of which is sunk into the ground.

"Basically whatever is collected in the gauge (the jar bit) is then poured into a tapered container with mm measurements on the side - this is were they get the 11mm of rainfall."

1226: Monty has once again brought a measure of control to England's efforts. Yousuf looks far from comfortable against him.

Re the rain, Richard Guy from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists writes: "I think what Duncan was trying to explain is: it doesn't matter how big the "container" (e.g. a tin can or the Oval cricket ground) the rainfall is measured in is, you'll get the same measurement at the end.

"So if, instead of letting the rain soaking into the field, Surrey CCC had sealed the grouund with pond liner, it would have been 11mm (c.3/8") deep in water this morning; if you'd left an empty pint glass out in the rain by the commentary box last night it would be fillled to the same depth."

1220: Excellent over from Monty. He has a very good lbw shout against Yousuf turned down - the ball hit in front of middle and looked to be going straight on, but Darrell Hair gives it the sneer and keeps his finger to himself.

1216: Mohammad Hafeez, who went off injured on Thursday evening, comes to the wicket. England needed that wicket badly - Pakistan were looking extremely comfortable.

1212: WICKET - 144-2 (Imran Farhat caught Trescothick bowled Hoggard 91 At last - a breakthrough for England. One ball after Strauss just fails to bag a difficult chance at second slip, Farhat aims another expansive back-foot drive at Hoggard and edges straight to Trescothick at first slip.

1206: A brief cheer from the somnolent crowd as Monty Panesar comes on. Farhat shows what he thinks by coming down the pitch and hoisting him over long on for a massive six. Monty responds by fizzing one through Yousuf's gate, the ball missing the top of middle stump by the thickness of a wasp's wing.

1158: Two magnificent cover drives from Farhat off Mahmood, and England are struggling badly. Farhat has raced on to 80, and the crowd has gone very quiet indeed.

1151: Two boundaries through the off-side from Farhat off Mahmood - both very easy, relaxed pushes. Not many alarms for the Pakistan pair so far, and that must be worrying Strauss.

1144: Another good over by Mahmood, containing a snorter which swings away late from Mohammad Yousuf's drive.

Re the comment about rain at 1045 BST, Duncan Harris emails: "Rain is a liquid so it is a three-dimensional volume, or in other word mm (cubic millimetres). It falls on an area which is two dimensional, mm (square millimetres). And if you divide three dimensions by two, you are left with one dimension (millimetres)."

Duncan - apologies for my shocking grasp of maths, but could you explain a little more?

1137: Hoggard can't quite match Mahmood's accuracy - a no ball and eight runs off the bat ease the early pressure. Big grey clouds loom over the OCS Stand. If I were searching for a lazy metaphor I'd call them gunmetal grey, but since I've never seen a real gun in real life I'd be guilty of guesswork.

1132: Good first over from Mahmood - right on the button, and no runs conceded. Kevin Pietersen causes alarms when unnecessarily flinging the ball at the stumps, but the Shilton-like Monty P throws himself to one side to prevent the overthrows.

1127: The strains of Jerusalem fill the Oval air. Images of Ashley Giles appear on the giant screens - perhaps time for the VT boys to return to the edit suite for a re-vamp.

1115: Action in the middle - the covers are off. The stands are filling up too. It's not quite lager weather at the mo, but a few hardy individuals are bravely taking the fizzy plunge.

1055: England's bowlers are on the outfield, loosening up for the morning onslaught. Steve Harmison is wearing what look like black tights under his blue shorts, with white socks rumpled round his ankles like leg-warmers. He looks like a elongated cast member of Fame.

1045: Apparently there were 11 millimetres of rain overnight at The Oval. I don't think that's in total - 11 millimetres spread in an extraordinarily thin layer across the whole ground - or else we'd surely be starting bang on time, no?

1034: There has been heavy overnight rain and the umpires say play will not start until 1130.



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