Flintoff strikes ray of hope for England

Faisalabad, November 23:

Andrew Flintoff bowled his heart out on a placid pitch to sustain England’s hopes of forcing a win in the second Test against Pakistan. He dismissed Mohammad Yousuf and Shahid Afridi off successive deliveries and Pakistan were wavering at 183-6 —199 ahead — in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day.

England must dismiss in-form Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq early on Thursday to boost their chances of squaring the series. Inzamam, who scored a century in the first innings, was on a solid 41 when bad light stopped play with 16 overs remaining.

Flintoff breathed fresh life into the match in his fourth over after the tea, just when it seemed Inzamam and Yousuf would ensure a comfortable score for Pakistan. He first dismissed Yousuf, who played on after scoring 20 in a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain. With the next ball Flintoff uprooted Shahid Afridi’s off-stump.

The pressure mounted on Pakistan when Steve Harmison had Kamran Akmal (9) caught behind. Pakistan were strongly placed at 104-1 before losing five wickets against an inspired England attack, led by Flintoff (3-46).

The hosts owed early advantage to Salman Butt (50), who added 54 for the opening wicket with Shoaib Malik (26) and 50 for the second with Younis Khan (27). Earlier, Pakistani bowlers found the going tough as they struggled for nearly an hour to capture the last three wickets.

England, resuming on 391-7, were finally bowled out for 446 in reply to Pakistan’s 462. Afridi had threatened to make short work of the tail when he bowled Ashley Giles (26) and Hoggard (two).

But Pakistan faced resistance from Udal (33 not out) and Harmison (16), who added 47 for the last wicket.