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England slip to defeat in Pakistan

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Last updated on: November 08, 2005 17:26 IST

England's preparations for the first Test against Pakistan suffered another blow on Tuesday when they lost a three-day tour match to a Pakistan 'A' side by six wickets.

Already facing the possible absence of injured captain Michael Vaughan for the series opener starting in Multan on Saturday, England were unable to prevent the home team from overhauling a victory target of 245 with ease.

Captain Hasan Raza, who struck an unbeaten 71, shared a fourth-wicket stand of 129 with Shahid Yousuf, who made 57, before Pakistan 'A' reached 246 for four in 52.2 overs with more than a session to spare.

All rounder Andrew Flintoff's return of three for 67 will have done little to lift the gloom in the England camp where serious doubts remain over the availability of Vaughan for the opening Test.

Vaughan twisted his right knee while going for a third run on Monday and results of a scan have been sent to medical specialists in London.

England doctor Peter Gregory has said Vaughan's chances of being fit for the Multan Test are slim and that, should the scan reveal torn cartilage, he would almost certainly need an operation.

"We are still not sure about Vaughan," said England coach Duncan Fletcher.

"We have sent his reports by e-mail to medical experts in England and, hopefully, we should get a firm answer by tonight on his condition."

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Pakistan 'A', resuming on their overnight score of 31 for one, suffered an early blow when opener Imran Farhat was forced to retire hurt on 24 after being struck on the fingers by fast bowler Flintoff.

However, nightwatchman Shahid Nazir established a good platform for the home side with a brisk 43 from just 31 balls before being bowled by Flintoff, who also caught and bowled Faisal Athar for eight in an impressive seven-over spell.

Raza, 23, and Yousuf then combined to put Pakistan 'A' on the brink of victory at 232 for four when Yousuf was given out leg before wicket to Flintoff.

Raza, the only Pakistan 'A' player in the Pakistan squad for the first two Tests against England, was in superb form and struck three sixes, including a pull over mid-wicket off Flintoff.
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