Faisalabad Test: Pak in strong position

Pakistan's Shahid Afridi hit a robust half-century on the first day of the second cricket test in Faisalabad.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Faisalabad:Pakistan's Shahid Afridi hit a robust half-century while captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf also frustrated England's bowlers on the first day of the second cricket test in Faisalabad. Yousuf played a solid knock of 78 and Inzamam (80 not out) scored his third successive half-century of the series as Pakistan finished the day at 300 for four. Inzamam hit eight fours and faced 159 balls in his resolute four-hour knock. Afridi brought the 19,000-strong crowd at Iqbal Stadium to its feet with his powerful hitting, completing his seventh half century in test cricket in an hour off 46 balls, including three sixes and four boundaries. Bad light He was unbeaten on 67 off 62 balls when bad light ended play nine overs before the scheduled close. Vaughan, who missed his team's 22-run defeat in the first test because of a knee injury, dropped Afridi on 34. Inzamam added 128 runs in a nearly three-hour partnership with Yousuf, who fell to a contentious decision. Ian Bell grabbed a one-handed low catch in his follow through, but the television replays indicated that the ball had touched the ground. On-field umpires Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel from Australia did not consult the television umpire. Both Inzamam and Yousuf denied England success in the two hours after lunch as the home team recovered from 73-3 and propelled to 189 without further loss by tea. Yousuf completed his half-century with a cracking cover drive and then went on to hit paceman Matthew Hoggard for three successive boundaries in the next over. He lofted Ashley Giles for a big six off the last delivery before the break, but his innings ended soon after tea. Vaughan tried part-time medium fast bowler Bell in the second session after all five of his regular bowlers failed to break the defenses of Inzamam and Yousuf. However, none could get the breakthrough on a slow wicket. Promising start Earlier, all-rounder Andrew Flintoff took a stunning catch and also grabbed a wicket to neutralize Pakistan's promising start in an extended two and a half hour first session. Flintoff - fielding at short cover - dived full length to his right and took a one-handed catch to dismiss opener Shoaib Malik (27). He also deceived Younis Khan (7) off a slow delivery, who flicked a simple catch at mid-wicket as Pakistan lost three wickets in the space of 20 runs, and took lunch at 87 for three. After Inzamam won the toss and elected to bat, Malik and Salman Butt made a confident start of 53 runs in the first hour before England hit back. Paceman Steve Harmison forced Butt (26) to play away from his body and edge behind the wickets. Butt played two resolute knocks of 74 and a career-best 122 to bag man of the match in the first test. With the pitch responding little to seamers, Vaughan was forced to bring in spinner Ashley Giles in the ninth over after Butt and Malik confidently saw off the new ball threat of Hoggard and Flintoff. (AP)

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