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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 November 2005, 13:23 GMT
Jonathan Agnew column
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent in Multan

England end day two in a powerful position of 253-3 replying to Pakistan's 274 in the first Test at Multan.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Marcus Trescothick
Trescothick batted supremely well in Multan on Sunday

Marcus Trescothick was so concerned about taking up Duncan Fletcher's offer of temporary charge of the England team that he needed two days and conversations with his wife before accepting.

If he had any worries about the captaincy adversely affecting his batting, they were groundless because he looked in absolutely brilliant form from the moment he took guard this morning.

His 13th Test century must rate as one of his best for England and, importantly, he helped Ian Bell through the record partnership of 180 for the second wicket that really rammed home the tourists' advantage.

Bell deserves special mention for his gutsy 71 that came in the wake of a disappointing Ashes series, and he has looked dreadfully out of touch on the tour so far - to the extent that he was even clean bowled by the team doctor in the nets.

TALKING POINT

Before this Test match, we were led to believe that Kevin Pietersen would bat at number four, with Paul Collingwood at five.

But television pictures of the players' balcony showed that Pietersen was never prepared to go in before Collingwood and that, clearly, there had been a late change of mind.

Presumably Michael Vaughan's injury was responsible for this, with Duncan Fletcher preferring Collingwood's more obdurate style rather than Pietersen's more aggressive tendencies.

KEY MOMENT

England needed to bowl Pakistan out cheaply in the morning to eliminate any chance of Inzamam-ul-Haq marshalling a rearguard action with the tail-enders.

Matthew Hoggard took a wicket with only the fifth ball of the day to make sure that England remained in the driving-seat and then, five overs later, Andrew Flintoff found the edge of Inzamam's bat and Pakistan's resistance was over.

They lost 4-30 in the morning, and crucially their last nine wickets fell for only 113 runs.

DAY THREE PROSPECTS

From this position, England can now bat Pakistan out of the game. Their aim will be to bat throughout the third day and even into the fourth if possible, leaving Pakistan in a hopeless position.

The ball is not spinning fiendishly, but Shoaib Malik turned a couple which suggests that England's spinners should find some help on the last day.

Pakistan have to get amongst the wickets early on the third day, but Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria apart, their attack does not look particularly threatening. How they miss Abdul Razzaq with both bat and ball.


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