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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 11:39 GMT
Pietersen & Bell hit England tons
Second Test, Faisalabad, day three (stumps)
Pakistan 462 v England 391-7

Pietersen and Bell both hit centuries
Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell both hit centuries as England made a bold attempt to match Pakistan on day three of the second Test in Faisalabad.

Beginning the day a daunting 349 runs behind, they closed the gap to 71.

Geraint Jones fell late on for 55, to leave tail-enders Ashley Giles and Shaun Udal holding on at 391-7.

Pietersen made exactly 100 and Bell, his partner in a fourth-wicket stand of 154, was caught behind off Shahid Afridi for 115 half an hour before tea.

Had either Bell or Pietersen fallen early in the day, Pakistan could easily have run through the order, enforced the follow-on and set their sights on victory.

But the duo overcame indifferent starts to set an England fourth-wicket record for the venue, passing the 98 shared by Graham Thorpe and Iain Salisbury five years ago.

The second new ball brought two wickets for Shoaib, with Pietersen to blame for the first but a brilliant delivery from the fast bowler dealing with Flintoff.

Bell, who was then dropped on 90, was clearly annoyed to edge Shahid Afridi behind.

Jones had already found his feet, though, taking two early boundaries off Shoaib, and he continued breezily, attacking the spinners to pass 50 from 65 balls.

Bell, who began the day on 36, did not find the boundary during the morning session, and contributed just 31 to the century stand with Pietersen.

Danish Kaneria could have stopped the youngster on 38, as he danced down the pitch and missed a sharply-turning leg-break, but wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal fumbled the ball.

Kaneria was rested from the attack, though, after he was warned twice in the space of 10 minutes for running on the wicket in his follow-through.

Pietersen, meanwhile, mistimed several early attacking shots in a good early spell by Shoaib, before settling in with two boundaries in an over from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

On 64, he could consider himself lucky to reach the lunch interval when he got a leading edge off Afridi, only for Kaneria to drop a simple chest-high chance at mid-off.

His meal clearly invigorated him as he re-emerged to smash three sixes, the first two off spinners Shoaib Malik and Kaneria.

A hooked six off Shoaib Akhtar brought up his century from 137 deliveries, and took England within two of avoiding the follow-on.

But he fell to the very next ball, attempting to repeat the shot and getting a top-edge to mid-on. Buoyed by his success, which he celebrated by impersonating a chicken in Pietersen's direction, Shoaib cranked up the speed to give Flintoff a tough time.

The all-rounder lasted 10 balls before playing around a delivery that nipped back to take out his middle stump.

Jones and Giles blunted another full-blooded spell from Shoaib after tea to pull England even closer to parity.

But Jones provided Afridi with his second wicket, courtesy of a straight faster delivery, as the shadows lengthened to make it only a matter of time before Pakistan are batting again.

Leg-spinner Afridi is allowed to bowl for the rest of this match despite receiving a three-game ban for damaging the pitch on day two.

News conference: England's Kevin Pietersen & Ian Bell

England struggle on day of drama
21 Nov 05 |  England


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