Unbeaten Prior rescues England
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior dug England out of deep trouble with an unbeaten 84 on the first day of the third Test yesterday as Pakistan reversed their terrible form of the first two Tests.Fast bowler Wahab Riaz made a stunning Test debut with five for 63 as England were bowled out for 233 before the visitors made a solid start in reply, reaching 48 for one at the close.Prior added 119 for the eighth wicket with Stuart Broad (48), an England record against Pakistan, after his team had slumped to 94 for seven.England lead 2-0 in the four-match series.Riaz, a strongly built left-armer, proved an excellent replacement for the injured Umar Gul, when he was handed the ball for the ninth over at the Pavilion End after England had won the toss and elected to bat.He accounted for Andrew Strauss (15), Jonathan Trott (12), Kevin Pietersen (6), Eoin Morgan (17) and Broad, generating menacing bounce from a powerful action.
DangerousMohammad Asif was once again consistently dangerous with his late movement through the air, taking three for 68.Asif started England’s steep decline by dismissing the woefully out-of-form Alastair Cook for six in his opening over before wrapping up the tail.Cook has now scored just 106 runs in his last eight Test innings.Strauss, on two, survived an lbw shout by Asif to a delivery which television replays indicated would have struck leg stump.The England captain was then given not out against Riaz when Pakistan appealed vociferously for a catch behind to Kamran Akmal, but the decision was reversed after an appeal to the third umpire as the replay clearly showed Strauss had edged the ball.Pietersen, who has not scored a Test century in 15 matches since England’s tour of the West Indies last year, scratched around ineffectually for 62 minutes before he fell to the third of Akmal’s four catches.Akmal, recalled after injury to Zulqarnain Haider, conceded two byes in the opening over but otherwise performed adequately.Prior put the struggles of the England specialist batsmen into perspective with an attractive, confident innings which would probably have resulted in his second hundred of the series had he not run out of partners.He drove fluently through the off-side and worked the ball skilfully off his legs to reach his half-century from 92 balls with eight boundaries.Broad played and missed outside the off-stump regularly to the frustration of the Pakistan bowlers but also hit some spanking drives and swept off-spinner Saeed Ajmal well.With last man Steven Finn at the crease, Prior went for broke, surviving the easiest of catching chances to Mohammad Yousuf at cover on 83. Finn fell immediately afterwards to Ajmal, the third lbw decision of the innings.Prior finished with ten boundaries from 129 deliveries in more than three hours at the crease. (Reuters)