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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Fourth Test: Day one as it happened
England 173 v Pakistan 96-1

Pakistan finally woke from their slumber to produce a stirring performance on day one of the final Test against England at The Oval.

They won the toss, put England in, bowled immaculately to dismiss them for 173 and replied well, closing on 96-1.

Mohammad Asif showed how much Pakistan had missed him in the first three matches of the series as he returned from an elbow injury to take 4-56.

And fellow fast bowler Umar Gul backed him up brilliantly to take 4-46.


By Paresh Soni

STUMPS: PAKISTAN 96-1 (Farhat 56, Yousuf 12)

1928: Yousuf flays at a beauty from Hoggard but just fails to edge behind. Pakistan will still sleep soundly after a simply terrific day. They bowled well and then made the most of wayward bowling and England's butter fingers to set up themselves up for a day of batting on Friday. England will need to improve drastically to pull themelves back into it.

"You could say England are handing the game on a plate to Pakistan, but it's a funny game and you never know."
TMS summariser Mike Gatting

1925: Panesar is given the ball very late in the day but despite extracting turn and bounce there is no breakthrough for him. Hoggard will bowl the final over and hope a chance sticks.

1922: More frustration for Hoggard and England as Cook drops Yousuf at gully. That's two lives the prolific number four has been given, on five and eight.

1916: After the scares of the previous over, Farhat resumes normal service with a crisp straight drive off Mahmood.

1914: Farhat drives fiercely towards short extra-cover and picks up a single to reach 50 after Collingwood almost pulls off a breathtaking catch. Yousuf edges the next ball from Hoggard and Trescothick spills a much easier chance. On such key moments are matches decided.

1905: The pitch misbehaves for the first time as a ball from Hoggard keeps low to trouble Yousuf, who gets off the mark with two to Panesar at deep square-leg.

1859: WICKET PAKISTAN 70-1 (Younis c Read b Mahmood 9)
It comes to an end in the luckiest of ways for England as Younis gloves another leg-side delivery from Mahmood to Read.

1857: Things aren't getting much better as Mahmood gives Farhat four easy runs down the leg-side. This is easily the best start Pakistan have had this summer.

1851: Hoggard returns in place of the ineffective Harmison as Strauss wears a worried expression at second slip.

1848: Mahmood finally finds the right line and length to Farhat and comes close to finding the edge. There's some passion and feeling too when he threatens to hurl the ball back at the stumps. With the tourists scoring at almost five an over it feels like a case of after the horse has bolted...

1844: It's Farhat's turn to require treatment from the physio after being struck by a delivery on the back of his knee. Injury is the only thing that can stop Pakistan's serene progress it seems.

"Why has Strauss not spoken to the bowlers? He must have them pitching it up. Standing at slip and clapping is a load of rubbish, what you need to do is talk to the guy."
Boycott, like most England's fans, is becoming increasingly agitated

1840: England are falling apart - a wild throw from Mahmood sees four overthrows conceded and Farhat crashes successive fours from wide Harmison long-hops as Pakistan race past 50. 61-0

1836: Mahmood serves up a half-volley which Farhat thrashes over cover. The bowler responds by beating him outside off-stump but moral victories aren't much use to England right now.

"England can't let the flow of runs go on like this. Yes they need wickets but the game is running away and by stumps Pakistan could be 80-0. If you can't take wickets you have to dry up the runs."
TMS analyst and ex-England batsman Geoff Boycott

1833: Younis effortless guides an over-pitched Harmison delivery through the vacant mid-on region for three and it's all too easy for the tourists.

1830: We have an hour's play left tonight in which England need wickets - at least two or three.

1826: Mahmood comes on with the hosts desperate for a breakthrough. Younis thumps his second ball through mid-wicket for two to get his innings underway.

1825: Hafeez cannot carry on and Younis comes out with his side in a dominant position.

1824: Farhat throws the kitchen sink at a wide one from Harmison and the ball soars over the slips before bouncing once over the rope at third man.

1822: With the crowd starting to lose patience, it looks like he will battle on after having his knee strapped. Some of us would have liked to see Inzamam come out as his runner.

1817: Hafeez hobbles away after taking a quick single. He appears to be suggesting to the physio that something has been dislocated or twisted.

1813: Farhat latches on to gentle width from Hoggard to caress the ball through the off-side. Acrobatics from Pietersen keep them to three but it could have ended with the fielder picking up an injury.

1808: England look short of ideas already and Strauss might be considering a change with his opening bowlers failing to trouble Farhat and Hafeez.

1758: Harmison is not posing much difficulty either and, with the sun beating down on The Oval, it looks a different game to the one we were watching previously.

1754: Hoggard is struggling to trouble the batsmen and Farhat collects three more on the off-side. England cannot afford to let Pakistan get off to a good start.

1748: Harmison starts an eventful over with several wide deliveries before Farhat drives for four and edges just short of Collingwood at slip.

1745: Hafeez starts confidently, driving down the ground for four. He was called up after doing well for Pakistan A in Australia recently.

1741: The umpires come back out, followed by the rest of the England team. Hoggard will begin from the Vauxhall End and will bowl to Hafeez, who is playing his first Test for nearly three years.

"There is an opportunity here for England to clamber into the Pakistan batting and by the close it could be an entirely different picture. We'll see a bit of swing for Hoggard and bounce for Harmison. I've just seen Hoggard bowl a practice delivery and it's hooped around the corner, which is a good sign!"
TMS summariser Mike Selvey


1732: WICKET ENGLAND 173 ALL OUT (Panesar b Gul 0)
Sadly for England, it was outcome number two. Gul produces a fine inswinger to dismiss Monty first ball and he joins Asif in claiming four wickets. A superb display in the field from Pakistan leaves England with much to do.

1731: Panesar comes out to raucous cheers. This could be very entertaining or very brief.

1729: WICKET ENGLAND 173-9 (Read b Gul 33)
Read's frustration at not seeing much of the bowling results in a wild swish outside off-stump and the ball is under-edged into his stumps. A sad way to end a good innings.

1726: Harmison plays an off-drive and has no idea where the ball has gone when it flashes off his inside edge down to fine-leg to frustrate Asif. Read has been starved of the strike in the last five overs.

1721: A golf drive from Harmison fails to make contact with the ball. It prompts vice-captain Younis into having a word with bowler Gul but the next ball is thumped over mid-off for a boundary.

1717: Asif is desperately close to claiming a five-wicket haul when Harmison leaves a delivery which almost kisses the off-bail. Two reverse-swingers also come close to trapping the big seamer lbw.

1713: WICKET ENGLAND 163-8 (Hoggard c Akmal b Asif 4)
That point is illustrated when the number nine guides the ball into wicket-keeper Akmal's gloves after a good outswinger from Asif, who now has four wickets. We can only guess what damage he could have done had he been fit earlier in the series.

1711: A man is sent out for the hook off Hoggard - yes Hoggard, a man who rarely plays a shot in anger. Pakistan can afford to be a bit more positive after the great day they've had!

"Inzamam has led the team energetically and has been supported by Asif and Gul, who have bowled a good line. The only negative is Akmal but otherwise they've been pretty tidy."
TMS analyst Rameez Raja

1705: There is some late swing for Asif, which Hoggard deals with well to push for two on the off-side and he keeps the strike with a single from the last ball. A confident - and potentially flawed - decision.

1700: WICKET ENGLAND 158-7 (Mahmood b Gul 15)
Having praised his efforts, that was an awful piece of batting from Mahmood as Gul cleans him up with a full delivery. But he helped add 46 valuable runs for England.

1655: Mahmood has seen off Kaneria - Gul is brought back in a bid to break the partnership.

1654: The runs are coming easily now with the outfield lightning quick and Read pushes the ball past point off Asif for another two.

1652: Quick running from Read and Mahmood help the keeper get two but a better fielder than Kaneria might have had him in trouble.

1648: A hefty blow from Mahmood lifts a ball from Kaneria over mid-on to bring up the 150 for England and make this the best partnership of the innings. Who would have thought it? 151-6

1643: Mahmood turns the ball firmly and straight into short-leg's hands, but it bounces out and runs away for a single.

1639: I've changed my mind - he should be promoted after a lovely cut off Kaneria for his first four.

1637: Mahmood does not look anything like a Test number eight, backing away to a delivery from Asif - hardly the most hostile of bowlers.

1631: The players and umpires return for what could be a gruelling final session. The sun is shining and the picture could not look more different to the dark skies we had earlier. Pakistan's outlook looks sunnier at the moment than England's but if the home side's tail wags and their bowlers fire, that could all change.

TEA: ENGLAND 134-6 (Read 26, Mahmood 1)

1611: No more alarms in the final over before tea, and Read plays a delicious cover drive off Nazir before edging for another boundary. The players go off after a marathon 160-minute session and Pakistan are all smiles, having taken six wickets, but there is plenty of cricket left - not least after the interval, when play could go on till 1930!

1606: Shocking cricket all round ends with four byes being awarded. Mahmood charges down the track to Kaneria, misses completely and Akmal fails to take an easy stumping chance. Hair then turns down a perfectly good lbw appeal from the leg-spinner.

1600: England need something special from Read here with little expected of the tail-enders. He does well to clip a full delivery from Nazir through mid-wicket for three.

1554: WICKET ENGLAND 112-6 (Cook lbw b Nazir 40)
Doctrove sends Cook on his way next ball after Nazir's yorker hits him just in line with off-stump. A marginal decision which goes Pakistan's way - they will feel they haven't had many of those in this series.

1551: Read wristily flicks a ball from Nazir through mid-wicket for three. He looks determined to dig England out of this hole. Cook drives past Iqbal at cover to go to 40.

1546: Inzamam cuts a relaxed, cheerful figure in the slips. He knows his side are in charge, with a weak tail to follow once these two are separated.

1543: Cheers of relief greet an edge from Read which races away between the slips to push England past 100. It's been attritional, yet gripping, fare. 104-5

1540: Cook survives a testing over from Kaneria in which he is beaten by a googly and escapes after an ungainly push forward appears to edge the ball into and out of Akmal's gloves. You fear for him.

"Cook doesn't have soft hands, he pushes at the ball firmly, so this is an important innings for his learning curve. He is getting a foretaste of what to expect this winter - accurate seam bowling from one end and leg-spin from the other."
TMS analyst Mike Selvey

1533: Read goes for a risky single and gets off the mark despite a sharp piece of fielding from Asif running in from long-on.

1530: Yousuf's dive fails to prevent another boundary for Cook at deep mid-wicket. That was pretty good stuff from the Pakistan batsman to no avail.

1527: Read, who played well in his comeback Test at Headingley, has never batted with Cook in any form of cricket - England will hope they have plenty of time to get to know each other in the middle.

1522: WICKET ENGLAND 91-5 (Bell c Iqbal b Kaneria 9)
A big blow for the hosts as Kaneria strikes almost immediately to remove the in-form Bell. The ball pops off the inside edge and pad to the chirpy Iqbal at point and, after a delay, Hair raises his finger. Pakistan are halfway towards justifying Inzamam's decision to field.

1519: Sure enough, young Kaneria comes on - England will need to watch out for his heavily disguised googly, which will spin into the right-hander.

1513: Kaneria's leg-spin is likely to be introduced soon because Cook is looking settled. He plays a firm back-foot shot to punch Gul through cover for four.

"It's now time to bring on Kaneria because England are under pressure and he bowled well to Cook in the last match. Pakistan are missing a trick here.
TMS analyst Rameez Raja

1508: Yousuf is not the best of fielders but does well to keep a firm Cook on-drive from going over the rope. Three runs are taken though.

1502: Youngsters Bell and Cook have taken the sting out of the situation with some sensible play, and Cook guides Nazir gently through point for his third boundary to take his score to 23.

1446: Bell shows why he has scored so heavily in this series, pushing a decent enough delivery from Nazir wide of mid-off for four. He really is in a purple patch and making a mockery of doubts about his ability to play at the highest level.

1441: Bell gets off the mark straight away but this has been Asif's day. For a man who has not bowled much since injuring his elbow just before the series started, it has been a quite magnificent spell.

1439: WICKET ENGLAND 64-4 (Collingwood lbw b Asif 4)
Asif is on fire now, swinging in a good delivery to trap Collingwood plumb lbw for his third wicket. The Durham man looked all at sea in his brief knock, to be fair, and England are on the rack.

1436: Pakistan are well and truly in the ascendancy, as Collingwood edges wide of the slips for four to bring up 1,000 runs in his 15th Test in fortuitous fashion.

1433: Nazir replaces Gul for the first bowling change of the day. His first ball hits Collingwood high on the pad and Doctrove rejects the lbw appeal. Another shout for leg-before against Cook is also turned down after the young left-hander gets an inside edge.

1428: Cook survives the hat-trick ball from Asif but the tourists are on top for the first time since the opening day at Lord's when England were 88-3.

1424: After the carnage of the previous over, Cook responds with an exquisite straight drive off Gul for four. He and Collingwood have a big repair job on their hands.

"He drove extravagantly like he was on 75 - that wasn't the smartest of shots. If you get a half-volley or long-hop smack it for four but that was not one of those."
TMS summariser Geoff Boycott

1421: WICKET ENGLAND 54-3 (Pietersen c Akmal b Asif 0)
Disaster for England as Pietersen drives expansively first ball - and edges Asif behind. That's the second golden duck of the Hampshire star's Test career after McGrath got him in the second innings at Old Trafford last year.

1420: Pietersen walks to the middle to loud cheers. The situation isn't ideal for his swash-buckling style - but when has he let that bother him?

1419: WICKET ENGLAND 54-2 (Strauss c Akmal b Asif 38)
Asif gets it right this time and a good-length delivery moves away to find Strauss' edge. Akmal, who has had a poor time of it behind the wicket, dives to his left to take a good catch.

1416: Asif has not learned his lesson and is pulled again by Strauss for a boundary. At the pace he bowls - 82/83mph - that's easy pickings for any top-class batsman.

"If Trescothick fails again in the second innings, and Bell and Collingwood continue their good form, is he the man to make way for Flintoff with Cook moving up the order?"
Stephen in the TMS inbox

1413: Strauss brings up 50 for England with a single down to long-leg. It's been steady rather than spectacular but the hosts will be reasonably happy having been put in in less than perfect batting conditions. 50-1

1409: Strauss has put away the bad ball convincingly today and he punishes Asif for dropping it short with a swat through mid-wicket for his sixth four.

1402: Cook is hit in his nether region when he fails to connect with a pull off Gul. There is no reaction from the young Essex man and he sends the next ball, also short, to the square-leg boundary for his first four runs.

1356: Cook, who has had a good series, walks to the crease with the sun shining after the gloom of the morning.

1354: WICKET England 36-1 (Trescothick c Hafeez b Gul 6)
Trescothick's torture comes to an end when he goes after an innocuous delivery from Gul and Hafeez takes a smart catch at gully to break the opening partnership. On his way to the pavilion Trescothick exchanges words with Iqbal, whose main contribution to this series has been irritating asides.

1349: Strauss drives Asif gloriously through extra-cover to go to 29. This has been a high-class effort in the circumstances, in complete contrast to Trescothick's struggles.

1346: Asif is left bemused as another superb ball whistles past Trescothick's outside edge. The Somerset man then picks up another single to move to six in one of his least memorable innings so far.

1345: After three straight maidens, Strauss tucks a Gul delivery through square-leg to collect the first three runs after lunch. Trescothick is lucky when an inside edge flies wide of the stumps towards long-leg. He and his partner have somehow survived in conditions helpful to the bowlers.

"There is plenty in this pitch and you wonder what Harmison will make of it bowling five or six mph quicker than Asif."
TMS analyst Gus Fraser

1329: Asif bowls the first ball after lunch and there is a cheer of relief from a crowd who had little to see in the morning. He then beats the lazy waft off Trescothick with a good delivery before producing a snorter which nips back off the seam and lifts sharply.

LUNCH: ENGLAND 27-0 (Trescothick 4, Strauss 22)

"They should be mopping up the water now but I can't see the squeegee. It's all right having rules but there has to be some common sense in this - people spend lots of money getting here and for the tickets."
Geoff Boycott

"Why they are not having lunch now is beyond me. There must be some obscure regulation but it's a waste of 20 minutes and if you've paid your 50 quid you must be wondering what's going on."
TMS commentator Jon Agnew

1224: A squinting Hair and Doctrove come off after an inspection and they decide that an early lunch will be taken at 1250 with play due to resume at 1330.

"I don't think they bowled that great apart from four crackerjack deliveries which were too good to get an edge to. The rest was ordinary - they should have kept it outside off-stump in the corridor of uncertainty."
TMS analyst Geoff Boycott

1208: Umpires Hair and Doctrove consult and it's no surprise to see the batsmen accept their offer and come off. The groundstaff swing into action.

1204: Strauss pulls majestically for four off Gul as the rain starts coming down again. This is only his third Test at this venue. He made 129 in his second to help England secure a draw and the Ashes last year.

1202: Trescothick looks completely out of touch, driving lazily to Asif and fortunate not to get an edge. He has a fantastic record on this ground - 677 runs in six Tests at an average of 75.22, including a double century against South Africa three years ago.

1159: Panic in the middle as Trescothick stops after taking a single off Asif while Strauss is almost halfway down the track before turning back just in time. Strauss calms his nerves with a fine off-drive for his third four.

1156: Strauss seizes on a half-volley from Gul to launch a sumptuous cover drive, easily the shot of the morning so far.

"Asif has been impressive so far but he has to be eased back after injury. It's difficult to judge how fit he is."
TMS summariser and ex-Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja

1150: Trescothick edges Asif down to the slips but the ball fails to carry.

1148: Trescothick scampers through for his first run when he gets an inside edge off Gul which squirts out on to the off-side. Strauss is beaten by the last ball of the over, which shapes away. Despite the weather, it's been a terrific start, with a genuine contest between bat and ball.

1143: Strauss picks up the first boundary by pouncing on a wayward Asif delivery to flick the ball down to fine-leg. Another leg-side ball is dispatched for two through square-leg - the captain looks assured compared with his partner.

1138: Strauss is up and running with three off Gul and Trescothick fails to get out of the way of a shorter one which thuds off his chest. He is then cut in half by a wicked delivery which bounces and seams back. Inzamam's decision looks spot on all of a sudden.

1133: Asif completes the first over of the day after a 30-minute delay and has a shout for lbw before beating Trescothick with an absolute beauty. That was a superb over and shows why Pakistan were so keen to rush him back.

1117: Good news - play will resume in around 20 minutes. There are dark clouds behind the pavilion, however, and it could be one of those days...

1100: Asif is immediately on target to Trescothick but the players are forced off after only two deliveries as the rain gets harder.

1058: Inzamam delivers his final pep talk as the rain starts falling and the umbrellas go up. The England openers make their way out to the middle and the umpires decide to start play on time.

"It's an excellent surface - if you bowl well you've got a chance, if you don't you'll get whacked around."
TMS analyst and former England paceman Gus Fraser

1033: Inzamam wins the toss and, somewhat surprisingly, puts England into bat. He thinks the weather will help for the bowlers but Strauss says he would have batted anyway.

England are unchanged, but Pakistan name yet another new opening partnership - the fourth different of the series - with Hafeez partnering Farhat. Seamer Asif is back after an elbow injury and replaces Sami.

1031: It is dry and warm at The Oval at the moment but the forecast is for rain so let's keep our fingers-crossed the showers miss this part of south London.

1015: England reveal their team and it is unchanged from the Headingley Test.


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