History-maker Strauss sets up England victory push
by AFP

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:Shahid Afridi, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Gul, SJ Harmison, MJ Hoggard, LE Plunkett
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 16th July 2006


Andrew Strauss's love-affair with Lord's continued here Sunday when he marked his first Test as England captain with a century that left Pakistan already needing a ground record-equalling 342 to win the first Test.


England, at the fourth day's close, were 258 for seven in their second innings after Strauss had scored 128.


Pakistan's Test record fourth innings total to win was the 315 for nine they achieved against Australia at Karachi in 1994/95.


And the equivalent Lord's record was West Indies' 344 for one, requiring 342, set in 1984.


Leg-spinners Danish Kaneria (three for 73) and Shahid Afridi (one for 59) kept hopes of a successful chase alive with tight bowling on a wearing pitch.


Left-handed opener Strauss, leading the side because of Andrew Flintoff's ankle injury, became only the third England player, after Archie MacLaren in 1897/98 and Allan Lamb in 1989/90, and first at home to score a hundred in his debut Test as England captain.


His ninth Test century was also his third at Lord's after he's scored 112 here on debut against New Zealand in May 2004 and 137 against the West Indies two months later.


At stumps Liam Plunkett was five not out and Matthew Hoggard unbeaten on nought.


England began the final session on 154 for four after Kevin Pietersen and all-rounder Paul Collingwood, whose Test-best 186 was the centrepiece of England's first innings 528 for nine declared, had fallen to Afridi and Kaneria respectively.


Strauss was 74 not out on his Middlesex home ground and Ian Bell, one of three first innings century-makers, unbeaten on four.


But with Strauss one away from his century, Bell was run out for 28 by Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's direct hit from mid-wicket after the England skipper hesitated after setting off.


However, the 29-year-old got the run he wanted when a single off Afridi took him to a 168-ball hundred with 11 fours.


Geraint Jones, dropped on six by opposing gloveman Akmal off Kaneria, then fell to the same combination for 16.


And two balls later Strauss nicked Kaneria to Imran Farhat at slip.


Earlier, England wrapped up Pakistan's first innings for 445 - a lead of 83 - after Mohammad Yousuf was last man out for a superb 202.


Fast bowler Umar Gul then struck either side of lunch to remove left-handers Marcus Trescothick and Alastair Cook.


Yousuf's innings was the highest Test score by a Pakistan batsman at Lord's, surpassing Mohsin Khan's 200 of 1982.


It was the 31-year-old's fourth Test double hundred and second in as many matches against England after he'd made 223 at Lahore in December.


And it also meant Yousuf was now only the second Pakistani after batting great and current tour manager Zaheer Abbas (274 at Edgbaston in 1971 and 240 at The Oval in 1974) to make two Test double centuries against England.


Yousuf, who converted to Islam from Christianity last year, also matched the 2003 achievement of South Africa's Graeme Smith (277 at Edgbaston and 259 at Lord's) in making double centuries in successive Tests against England.


However, Yousuf was still six short of that when last man Kaneria came to the crease and the No 11 was still on nought when Liam Plunkett grassed a diving chance after the tailender fended at a Matthew Hoggard bouncer.


But Yousuf's edged four off Hoggard got him to 200 and he then kissed the pitch, just as he'd done upon reaching his hundred.


However, his innings ended five balls later when he was caught behind off Stephen Harmison.


In all Yousuf batted for 10 minutes short of eight hours, facing 330 balls with one six and 26 fours after arriving at the crease with Pakistan in trouble at 28 for two.


Harmison had earlier hit Afridi a painful blow on the thumb, a worry for a Pakistan side already without injured pacemen Shoaib Akhtar (ankle), Naved-ul-Hasan (groin) and Mohammad Asif (elbow) as well as batsmen Shoaib Malik (elbow) and Younis Khan (knee).

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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