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Kaneria brings Pakistan an upset victory against England
by AFP


Ground:Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan
Scorecard:Pakistan v England
Player:Danish Kaneria
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 16th November 2005

 

Wily leg-spinner Danish Kaneria grabbed four crucial wickets to secure Pakistan an improbable 22-run victory over England in the first Test here on Wednesday.

 

England, fresh from their Ashes triumph over Australia, looked set to extend their impressive run before collapsing against Pakistan's spin-pace combination on the fifth and final day.

 

England, needing 198 to win, were comfortably placed at 64-1 after resuming at 24-1. But Kaneria turned the match upside-down when he dismissed Ian Bell (31), Andrew Strauss (23) and Andrew Flintoff (11) in five probing overs.

 

Wicket-keeper Geraint Jones (33) and debutant Shaun Udal (18) offered resistance with a 49-run stand for the eighth wicket but their efforts came too late to stop Pakistan.

 

Paceman Shoaib Akhtar claimed three of the last four wickets, sparking celebrations when he had last-man Steve Harmison caught by Younis Khan in the slips with the tourists having made 175. Pakistan lead three-Test series 1-0.

 

Kaneria, who finished with 4-62, was brilliantly supported by fast bowlers Mohammad Sami (2-31) and Akhtar (3-49).

 

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq described the victory as "one of the best" under his captaincy and lauded the leg-spinner.

 

"Kaneria set up the win with two crucial wickets," said Inzamam. "He has been bowling well for the last one-and-a-half years and we knew that on a fifth-day pitch he would spin the ball sharply."

 

"It is one of the best wins for Pakistan in the last two years. It is a fantsastic win and to win the first Test is always important."

 

Inzamam also praised his young team's resolve.

 

"We knew that it wouldn't be easy for England to get the 174 runs on the fifth morning. It all went down to the motivation and the team spirit which every player showed," he said.

 

Stand-in England captain Marcus Trescothick blamed a lack of application for his team's defeat.

 

"There were a couple of reasons (for our defeat), probably we needed a bit of more application," he said.

 

"Pakistan bowled well on a turning wicket and Kaneria is a world-class spinner, but had we occupied the crease runs would have come pretty easily," said Trescothick, leading the side in the absence of injured Michael Vaughan.

 

Trescothick said he had expected his team to win.

 

"I thought we would knock them off (runs) pretty comfortably," he said.

 

England looked the better side for much of the first four days before squandering the advantage on the last morning, losing six wickets in the space of 53 runs in the extended two-and-a-half-hour session.

 

Pakistan were a different team after Kaneria removed overnight batsmen Bell and Strauss in his third over.

 

The 24-year-old spinner continued tormenting the England batsmen with shrewd variations on a wearing fifth-day pitch which offered turn and bounce.

 

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq pressed Kaneria into the attack early in the morning session and the spinner struck soon.

 

Kaneria jolted England when he broke a 57-run stand for the second wicket, having Bell caught behind. Three balls later, he had Strauss caught by Hasan Raza in the slips.

 

It soon became a pressure game as Kaneria and Sami made England struggle for each run during their disciplined opening spells.

 

One-day specialist Collingwood continued to struggle in Test cricket. He had no clue to a fuller-length delivery from Sami and was given out leg-before for three following his first-innings 10.

 

England's hopes depended on Ashes heroes Flintoff and Pietersen but the hard-hitting batsmen failed to pull them out of trouble this time.

 

The roof fell on England when Flintoff and Pietersen departed in the space of eight runs to leave their team wobbling at 101-6.

 

Flintoff paid the price of playing one shot too many early in his innings, sweeping Kaneria straight to Younis at deep mid-wicket.

 

Pietersen fell to a poor stroke, caught behind while attempting to drive an awaygoing delivery from Sami.

 

It soon became 117-7 when Akhtar bowled Ashley Giles (14) with a yorker, leaving just one stump standing.

 

Jones and Udal defied the Pakistani attack for more than an hour before the hosts struck in the second session.

 

Akhtar broke the partnership when he bowled Jones and then Kaneria claimed his fourth victim when he dismissed Udal with a googly. Akhtar finished the match with the wicket of Harmison.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)

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