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Rediff.com  » Sports » Inzamam steers Pakistan to draw

Inzamam steers Pakistan to draw

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July 17, 2006 23:28 IST

Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq batted with his accustomed placid authority on Monday to steer Pakistan out of troubled waters to the safety of a draw in the first Test against England at Lord's.

Inzamam negotiated some skilful flight and spin from left armer Monty Panesar, who had raised his team's hopes before tea with the wickets of Faisal Iqbal and Mohammad Yousuf, to take Pakistan to 214 for four at the close of a fifth consecutive sunlit day.

After scoring 69 in the first innings, Inzamam completed his 44th Test half century with an unbeaten 56 from 112 balls with six boundaries.

Pakistan's victory target of 380 from 80 overs after Andrew Strauss declared England's second innings at 296 for eight following 34 minutes' play on Monday had always looked improbable.

Once Pakistan had lost both their openers to Matthew Hoggard with only 33 on the board, any thought of chasing down the highest total ever to win a Test at Lord's disappeared and the tourists settled for survival.

Strauss, substituting for the injured Andy Flintoff, erred on the side of caution by batting on Monday morning after England resumed on 258 for seven. There was time for Liam Plunkett to fling his bat on the way to 28, his highest score in a fledging career, before the declaration.

Hoggard, who has developed into a particular menace to left handed batsman with his stock delivery which curves late into their pads, struck instantly by dismissing Salman Butt lbw with the first ball of the innings.

He dismissed Pakistan's other left handed opener Imran Farhat for 18 with a catch to Paul Collingwood at slip and at lunch Pakistan still had 64 overs between them and a draw.

Iqbal made amends for his first innings duck by adding 83 for the third wicket with Yousuf, who scored his second consecutive double hundred against England in the first innings.

PANESAR STRIKES

The nephew of Pakistan's leading run scorer Javed Miandad, Iqbal struggled against Panesar. The spinner beat him with the opening ball of his first over.

Iqbal emerged from his toils to loft Panesar for six but was otherwise content to prop watchfully forward.

Yousuf was more fluent although he was troubled by Steve Harmison's hostile spell from the Pavilion End. Yousuf was beaten badly once outside the off stump and played a false shot which flew through a vacant gully area to the boundary.

He was also lucky to escape with a single when he ducked a bouncer and the ball struck the tip of his upraised bat.

Despite their struggles the pair looked set to take Pakistan through to tea when Yousuf was trapped lbw padding up to Panesar for 48. Iqbal followed for the same score, popping a catch to Alastair Cook at second slip, one of four fielders clustered around the bat.

Inzamam, who averaged over 100 in the three-Test series against England late last year, put the pitch and the bowling into perspective with some immaculate defence.

Source:
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