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banner Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Inzy brightens up the day
Inzaman collects another boundary at Old Trafford
Inzamam collects another boundary at Old Trafford
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew reviews the opening day at Old Trafford.

A beautiful century by Inzamam-ul-Haq - one of the most enjoyable I have ever had the pleasure to watch - considerably brightened a grey, cold and generally inhospitable day at Old Trafford.

In fact, Pakistan's entire approach was as fresh and breezy as the conditions - their day trip to Blackpool clearly did them some good.

But although they rattled along at more than four runs per over for much of the day, they lost too many wickets to claim they could be in control of the match.

Inzy┐s innings was a classic: all nimble footwork and glorious timing.

For a large, unathletic man he manages to move into position in a flash and this enables him to punch, flick and drive the ball through the onside when most batsman would favour the off.

Dominic Cork
Cork may have lost a yard of pace

Even his running between the wickets was sound and when he departed, carving a catch to point, Pakistan's innings lost its momentum.

No one could quibble with the final selection of either team: Saqlain might come into his own later in the game and while Abdur Razzaq might not be a permanent opening batsman, at least Pakistan ignored the temptation to promote Younis Khan from number six.

He gave us a glimpse of his potential at Lord's, and batted extremely fluently again.

Ill-directed bowling

Pakistan must have had an eye on the unsettled weather forecast and made a determined effort to bat as positively as possible.

This makes sense since they have to win in order to level the series and the odds are very much that we will lose time tomorrow and during the weekend.

England's bowlers helped their cause, too, by some ill-directed bowling.

There were far too many deliveries aimed at the leg stump which were happily picked off throughout the day and, generally, the length was on the short side.

Vulnerable Cork

The howling gale, which favoured bowling from the Stretford End but made it hard work from the other, did not help and only Cork showed any real desire to get his head down and bowl into it.

Sadly, his accuracy suffered and, more worryingly, he appears to have lost a yard of pace.

This is not a problem so long as the ball swings for him, but he barely made a delivery deviate throughout and this makes him vulnerable: he might be expensive during the one-day series.

The honours are even at the moment and there is still the overbearing thought that the weather will intervene, but England have to ensure that they make no slip-ups when their first innings gets underway.

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