Harmison, Flintoff wrest initiative for England
by AFP

Ground:Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan
Scorecard:Pakistan v England
Player:SJ Harmison, A Flintoff
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 12th November 2005


Two wickets apiece for pacemen Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison neutralised Pakistan's early advantage and left England in the ascendancy at the end of day one of the opening Test in Multan


Pakistan were comfortably placed at 161-1 before a determined display from the England pace duo and some tight spin bowling reduced the hosts to 244-6 when bad light stopped play with 2.2 overs remaining.


Flintoff finished the day with 2-49, while Harmison grabbed both of his wickets in his first over after tea.


Pakistan's hopes of regaining the initiative rest on captain Inzamam-ul Haq, the last specialist batsman. Inzamam, playing on his home ground, was not out on 41 with tail-ender Mohammad Sami on one at stumps.


England, playing their first Test series after defeating Australia at home in September to regain the Ashes after 18 years, could be satisfied with their day's work in challenging conditions.


The pitch had neither pace nor bounce for their pacemen. It did turn, but too slowly to really trouble Pakistan's batsmen.


Pakistan started well with left-handed opener Salman Butt cracking an impressive 74 for his second Test half-century to raise hopes of a big first-innings total.


Butt put on 80 for the first wicket with Shoaib Malik (39) and 81 for the second with vice-captain Younis Khan (39) after his team had elected to bat.


However, England's 36-year-old debutant off-spinner Shaun Udal struck a crucial breakthrough when he removed Butt in just his seventh over of Test cricket.


Butt struck 11 fours before being caught by a diving Geraint Jones. The wicket-keeper reacted swiftly to hold the ball after it popped through stand-in captain Marcus Trescothick's hands at slip and then off his head.


Trescothick led in the absence of Michael Vaughan, who was ruled out of the opening match of the three-Test series due to a knee injury.


Pakistan suffered another blow when Ashes hero Flintoff yorked Mohammad Yousuf for his second victim. Yousuf, who played 59 Tests under the name of Yousuf Youhana before converting to Islam, contributed just five.


Harmison kept pressure on Pakistan, trapping Younis leg-before with the first ball after the tea-break before accounting for Hasan Raza -- playing his first Test in three years -- four balls later for a duck.


Harmison was also the most economical bowler in the first two sessions, conceding just 14 runs from his 11 overs. After his double-strike, Pakistan had all but squandered their early advantage slipping from 161-1 to 183-5.


Matthew Hoggard then capped his fellow pacemen's good work with the wicket of Kamran Akmal (28) in his first over with the second new ball.


A few overs later, the umpires offered the light to the Pakistani batsmen, which was immediately taken by captain Inzamam..

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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