Newboy Zulqarnain leads remarkable Pakistan rally

Updated: 09 August 2010 15:14 IST

Debutant Zulqarnain Haider kept England at bay with a superb 88 as Pakistan restored some pride in the second Test at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Newboy Zulqarnain leads remarkable Pakistan rally

Birmingham:

Debutant Zulqarnain Haider kept England at bay with a superb 88 as Pakistan restored some pride in the second Test at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Pakistan, at the third day's close were 291 for nine -- a lead of 112 -- and with an outside chance of pulling off what would be an astounding victory.

They would have been in an even better position, but England off-spinner Graeme Swann removed Zulqarnain shortly before stumps on his way to a Test-best haul of six wickets for 60 runs in 36 overs -- 20 of them maidens.

Pakistan had been dismissed for just 72 -- their lowest total against England - in the first innings, a woeful performance which made Sunday's fightback even more astonishing.

Zulqarnain and Saeed Ajmal put on 115 for the eighth wicket, with the recalled off-spinner making exactly 50 to give him Test-bests with both bat and ball this match after he took five for 82 in England's first innings 251.

Ajmal fell shortly before the close caught at slip by Paul Collingwood to end a gutsy 79-ball innings featuring seven fours while Zulqarnain was out when he miscued a drive off Swann to England captain Andrew Strauss at mid-off.

The 24-year-old batted for four-and-a-half hours, facing 200 balls and struck 15 boundaries, including several excellent drives in an innings of patience and skill.

At the close, Swann had surpassed his previous best of five for 54 against South Africa at Durban in 2009 and taken five or more wickets eight times in his 22 Tests.

Umar Gul, batting with a runner after suffering a hamstring injury on Saturday, was nine not out, having smashed the last ball of the day from paceman Stuart Broad for four, and Mohammad Asif 13 not out.

Zulqarnain, whose mother died of cancer when he was 13, said after stumps he would be donating half his match fee to the cancer hospital in Lahore set up by Pakistan great Imran Khan in memory of his own mother.

"I just tried to do my best and I played for my team," Zulqarnain, who played this match knowing his father had recently been hospitalised with hepatitis C, told Sky Sports.

Zulqarnain, in for the dropped Kamran Akmal, had come in at 82 for five.

At that stage, Pakistan - who resumed on 19 for one on Sunday - needed 97 more runs just to avoid an innings defeat that would have left them 2-0 down in this four-match series after their crushing 354-run reverse in the first Test at Trent Bridge last week.

Zulqarnain was given out lbw to Swann by Australian umpire Steve Davis but referred the decision, which showed the ball narrowly missing leg-stump.

"I was sure it would be going past," said Zulqarnain.

He received sound support from fast bowler Mohammad Aamer (16), in a seventh-wicket stand of 52 spanning more than two hours.

Zulqarnain went to fifty when he clipped fast bowler Steven Finn through midwicket for a boundary that also meant England would have to bat again as Pakistan finally erased a first innings deficit of 179.

Swann had gone two whole innings without bowling, such had been the dominance of England's seamers.

He came on with Pakistan 53 for one and bowled Imran Farhat with only his third ball of the match, a superb delivery that pitched outside the left-hander's leg stump and clipped the top of off.

"Having not bowled for a couple of weeks you worry you're not going to have any rhythm. I'm happy it turned out like it did," Swann said.

Turning to Pakistan's batting, he added: "Normally you expect to really fight for the early wickets and cash in later on. It turned out to be the other way round."

Broad thought he had Zulqarnain caught behind for 18 but Marais Erasmus was unmoved, with England unsuccessfully referring the South African umpire's not out verdict.

And at the end of the following over, the 24-year-old quick hit Zulqarnain on the shoulder when he petulantly threw the ball at the keeper in an incident that led to Broad facing a disciplinary charge.



Topics : Cricket Edgbaston, Birmingham
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