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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2006, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Harmison stars as England dictate
SECOND TEST, OLD TRAFFORD, DAY ONE (stumps): Pakistan 119; England 167-2

Steve Harmison found his best form on day one at Old Trafford
Steve Harmison found his best form on day one at Old Trafford

Steve Harmison's best Test figures on English soil put his team in total command against Pakistan after an absorbing first day at Old Trafford.

Harmison took 6-19 and Monty Panesar 3-21 after the tourists had elected to bat first on winning the toss.

They were on a solid 90-2 at one point before collapsing to 119 all out in a dramatic period either side of lunch.

England reached 168-2 for a lead of 49, Alastair Cook making light of an awkward wicket to be unbeaten on 65.

At the start of the day, Inzamam-ul-Haq called correctly and had no doubt about choosing to bat.

But, with uneven bounce a factor throughout, his team were bundled out in 39 overs for the second lowest first innings score in an Old Trafford Test.

ENGLAND REACTION
Steve Harmison

Pakistan's only runs of note came in a stand worth 81 between Younis Khan (44) and Mohammad Yousuf (38).

Harmison, whose eventual figures were his second-best in a Test innings, got the ball rolling for England in the fourth over.

The left-handed Imran Farhat, worried about the short-pitched deliveries, played a lazy drive outside off-stump to a fuller one, picking out Kevin Pietersen at a deep-set gully.

In Harmison's following over, Marcus Trescothick clung onto an outside edge at first slip to end Kamran Akmal's troubled innings, despite the best efforts of wicket-keeper Geraint Jones to distract the catcher with an ambitious dive.

Akmal was only opening to accommodate the return of Younis - Salman Butt was dropped - while England's only change saw Sajid Mahmood in for the injured Liam Plunkett.

Monty Panesar
Panesar played his part with three important middle-order wickets

After those two early wickets, which left Pakistan 9-2, the match settled down for a while until Mahmood came on to bowl a terrific first over at Yousuf on the hour mark.

But from that high point, the local lad failed to reproduce the goods and right-handers Yousuf and Younis began picking him up for easy boundaries through the off-side.

Panesar's introduction two overs before lunch sparked a sudden change in mood.

His first ball turned sharply and kept low, which must have unsettled Yousuf, whose loose attempted cut later in the same over resulted in a thin edge to Jones.

Strauss then turned back to Harmison for the last over before the interval and Younis' weak cut shot was safely taken by Paul Collingwood at gully.

If England were content with a lunchtime Pakistan score of 93-4, they were to be delighted by taking the remaning six wickets in less than an hour.

AGNEW'S VIEW

Jones took an excellent catch off Panesar to end Faisal Iqbal's innings before Inzamam got a brute of a ball from Harmison which he could only fend to gully.

The Pakistan captain had hit nine scores of at least 50 in as many innings against England but this time his appearance had lasted a mere three balls.

Shahid Afridi knows just one way to bat, and he died by the sword, skying Panesar to point.

In such conditions, a pumped-up Harmison terrified the living daylights out of the remaining batsmen.

Sami tamely edged to second slip and Abdul Razzaq was bowled playing down the wrong line.

The last wicket was effected by Kevin Pietersen's quick pick-up-and-throw to run out Danish Kaneria by a whisker.

Pietersen had also taken three catches in the course of the innings.

Deliveries continued to misbehave when England batted, though with nobody of the pace of Harmison to exploit conditions, Pakistan were not as much of a threat with the ball.

TMS MESSAGE BOARD VIEW
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Strauss played the ball late, leaving plenty of deliveries, but he was dropped by Farhat early on at third slip.

That was an expensive miss, because Strauss made 42, a big score in the context of the match, scoring the bulk of those runs in a 65-run stand with Cook.

He was finally out an hour after tea, edging a decent ball from Razzaq to wicket-keeper Akmal.

But England were already closing on Pakistan's score and with Cook and Pietersen playing with confidence, they cruised past it.

Cook gave no chances in his patient innings, which also featured some fine shots square of the wicket played off both front and back foot.

Only Trescothick, at the top of the order, failed with the bat for England. He made just five, edging a Sami delivery he could easily have left to Akmal.

Pietersen ended the day not out on 38, and anyone with a ticket for the second day will be relishing the prospect of him batting on Friday.



PAKISTAN SQUAD GUIDE
 

SEE ALSO
Pakistan in England 2006
27 Jun 06 |  Future tour dates
Live cricket on the BBC
19 Apr 06 |  Cricket


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