Kaneria, Akhtar help Pak defeat England

Multan, November 16:

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

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

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 (4-62) was brilliantly supported by Mohammad Sami (2-31) and Akhtar (3-49). 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.

Pakistan were a different team after Kaneria removed Bell and Strauss in his third over. Kaneria continued tormenting England batsmen with shrewd variations on a wearing fifth-day pitch which offered turn and bounce.