Flintoff opens window of hope for England
by AFP

Ground:Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Scorecard:Pakistan v England
Player:A Flintoff
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 23rd November 2005


Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff bowled his heart out on a placid pitch on Wednesday to sustain England's hopes of forcing a win in the second Test against Pakistan.


He dismissed Mohammad Yousuf and Shahid Afridi off successive deliveries and Pakistan were wavering at 183-6 -- 199 ahead -- in their second innings at stumps on the penultimate day.


England, trailing 1-0 in the three-match series, must dismiss in-form Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq early on the fifth and final day on Thursday to boost their chances of squaring the series.


Inzamam, who scored a century in the first innings, was on a solid 41 when bad light stopped play with 16 overs remaining. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan had yet to open his account.


Flintoff breathed fresh life into the match in his fourth over after the tea-break, just when it seemed Inzamam and Yousuf would ensure a comfortable draw for Pakistan on an easy-paced track.


He first dismissed Yousuf, who played on after scoring 20 in a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain.


With the next ball Flintoff uprooted hard-hitting Shahid Afridi's off-stump to leave the crowd stunned. Afridi had smashed a rapid-fire 92 in the first innings.


The pressure mounted on Pakistan when fast bowler Steve Harmison had Kamran Akmal (nine) caught behind.


Pakistan were strongly placed at 104-1 before losing five wickets against an inspired England attack, led by Flintoff who finished with 3-46.


The hosts owed their early advantage to Salman Butt (50), who added 54 for the opening wicket with Shoaib Malik (26) and 50 for the second with Younis Khan (27).


Butt perished one ball after he had completed a single, but was sent back to the striker's end by Australian umpire Darrell Hair after being warned for running on to the pitch. The umpire signalled it a 'dead' ball.


The left-handed opener, who scored 74 and 122 in his team's first-Test win at Multan, was trapped leg-before off a Shaun Udal delivery which kept a little low.


Flintoff was the first to strike when he had Malik caught by Ian Bell in the covers off an uppish drive. Paceman Matthew Hoggard then trapped Younis leg-before.


Earlier in the day the Pakistani bowlers found the going tough as they struggled for nearly an hour to capture the last three England wickets.


England, resuming on 391-7, were finally bowled out for 446 in reply to Pakistan's 462.


Leg-spinner Afridi had threatened to make short work of the tail when he bowled overnight batsman Ashley Giles (26) and Hoggard (two).


But Pakistan faced resistance from unexpected quarters as Udal (33 not out) and Harmison (16) added 47 for the last wicket.


Udal, playing only his second Test at the age of 36, pulled fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for a six and two fours in one over.


A mix-up between the batsmen finally ended the England innings, with Harmison failing to beat a throw by Naved to bowler Afridi.


Pakistan's catching remained below par for the second successive day. They missed one more opportunity when Naved failed to judge a skier at mid-on and let off Udal on 24 off the bowling of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.


The hosts had already paid dearly for letting off Ian Bell (115) twice and Kevin Pietersen (100) once on Tuesday.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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