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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Saturday, 21 August 2010 15:07 UK

Pakistan seal tense victory over England in Oval Test

Third Test, The Oval (day four):
Pakistan 308 & 148-6 beat England 233 & 222 by four wickets

Match scorecard

Umar Akmal (centre) held his nerve to hit the winning run
Umar Akmal (centre) held his nerve to see Pakistan to their 148-run target

By Jamie Lillywhite

Pakistan sealed a tense four-wicket win at The Oval to reduce England's lead to 2-1 with one Test remaining next week.

England resumed 146 ahead but their final pair lasted only four balls and added just one run as Mohammad Amir finished with a career-best 5-52.

James Anderson struck in the first over but Salman Butt (48) and Mohammad Yousuf (33) looked to be in control.

Anderson bowled Yousuf and Graeme Swann took his third wicket to create some late tension but Pakistan held on.

It was Pakistan's first Test victory over England since Lahore in December 2005 and an impressive response from defeats by 354 runs and nine wickets respectively in the first two matches of the series.

BEN DIRS' BLOG

For England it was a stark reminder of their fallibility three months ahead of the Ashes.

Defeat brought to an end their run of six successive Test victories and condemned them to a first loss since being thrashed by an innings and 74 runs against South Africa in Johannesburg in January.

Andrew Strauss and his team would have had genuine reason for optimism given recent evidence of Pakistan's vulnerability chasing low totals.

In July 2009 they were bowled out for 117 when needing 168 to beat Sri Lanka and in January this year requiring 176 against Australia they were dismissed for 139.

But hopes of England's final wicket pair adding a potentially crucial 20 or so runs were swiftly ended by the impressive 18-year-old left-arm seamer Amir, who collected his second five-wicket haul and increased his wicket tally to 45 in only his 13th Test.

After Steven Finn had calmly glanced a single to fine-leg, the supposed senior batsman Stuart Broad attempted a reckless pull he was in no position to play, the ball hit high on the bat and looped gently to mid-on.

Mohammad Amir celebrates
Amir needed only four deliveries to end the England innings

It meant that the final seven wickets had fallen for a mere 28 to Amir and co in 15 overs.

There was some early encouragement for England when Anderson forced Yasir Hameed into an edge that was snaffled at the second attempt by Swann at second slip but despite more overcast conditions there was little swing, even for the Lancastrian.

Swann was therefore swiftly introduced after five overs, charged with the mild responsibility of capturing just the nine wickets with 112 runs left to play with.

Left-hander Imran Farhat decided to attack him from the outset, skipping down the wicket to launch a four just over mid-on's head from the third ball Swann bowled.

Farhat maintained a positive approach throughout but after six fours in his bold 33 he missed a sweep to one that straightened from the spinner and was lbw.

Pakistan decided to review the decision but it merely confirmed the ball was hitting the middle of the middle stump.

However, Swann was unable to quite produce the magical performance needed and England seamers were toothless for the majority of the innings, with Broad particularly wayward.

606: DEBATE
Amir Mir

Swann turned one away from Butt and the edge was smartly taken low at slip by Paul Collingwood, leaving the left-hander still without a half century in eight innings since taking over the captaincy from Shahid Afridi in July.

But with the masterful Yousuf at the crease there seemed no possibility of a dramatic collapse and at lunch only 33 were needed with seven wickets intact.

A questionable tactic of bowling well wide of the stumps surprisingly succeeded when Azhar Ali succumbed to pressure and needlessly went for a quick single, with Anderson's agile throw on the turn from short mid-wicket touched on to the stumps at the non-striker's end by Swann, leaving Ali well short of his ground and 24 still required.

Astonishingly Anderson then produced a magnificent away swinging yorker to uproot Yousuf's off-stump, 17 had still to be scored and the crowd sensed something remarkable.

The jitters were clearly evident in the Pakistan ranks, Kamran Akmal padding up to Swann and given out lbw, a decision upheld after the last of Pakistan's reviews.

But Amir joined forces with Umar Akmal to score the remaining 16 runs and England were left to rue the clutter of wickets on Friday afternoon, with Pakistan earning the chance to tie the series at Lord's beginning on Thursday.



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
21 Aug 10 |  England
Strauss wants batting improvement
21 Aug 10 |  England
Butt praises Pakistan character
21 Aug 10 |  Pakistan
England v Pakistan day four photos
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan fightback stuns England
20 Aug 10 |  England
England face battle to save Test
19 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan take charge of Oval Test
18 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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