Ted Corbett

Host 214 ahead with four sessions still remaining to decide the result

  • Strauss became the third England batsman to score hundreds in successive matches
  • Billy Doctrove failed to give an obvious lbw decision to Kaneria against Strauss
  • Akmal dropped two easy chances, both off Trescothick

    LEEDS: Captain Andrew Strauss became the third England batsman to score hundreds in successive matches after Alastair Cook and Ian Bell as the third Test swung slowly Pakistan's way on the fourth day at Headingley.

    He needed plenty of luck on a faultless pitch as he hit his tenth century after only two years and 30 Tests but none of the other nine have been more valuable.

    He reached three figures in almost four hours out of 220 for three.

    At tea England was 237 for four but with four sessions still to decide the result but with Strauss out from the last ball Pakistan was in the driving seat.

    The Kaneria factor

    The bookmakers believed that Pakistan was 6-1 to win but the whisper in the Pakistan dressing room was that there was enough spite in the pitch to allow Danish Kaneria to bowl England out with his leg breaks.

    England took advantage as Pakistan had a distressing morning in which Kamran Akmal dropped two easy chances to add to the five he has spilled already in this series.

    By lunch England had 121 without loss, not quite out of trouble but with some chance of making the score 2-0.

    Bad day for Akmal

    Akmal has always looked such a good wicket-keeper that his inept glove work on Monday was a shock. First, he tried to take a high catch off a leg glance with one hand, then he dropped a straightforward chance; both off Trescothick, both simple by club standards. He looked distracted as if he had something else on his mind. Perhaps he had lost faith in the umpires who might have given him three catches in the first innings if they had not been wearing earpieces which blocked out the noise.

    Trescothick and Strauss soon realised it was their day particularly after umpire Billy Doctrove failed to give an obvious lbw decision to Kaneria against Strauss and went for their attacking shots. They scored run for run so that they had 54 apiece at lunch; thereafter Strauss received all the bad balls and was soon 78 to Trescothick's 56.

    Inzamam cleared

    Meanwhile, Inzamam had gone for an X-ray to his chest; injured, alongside his pride, as he fell on his stumps on Sunday. It proved that there was nothing wrong a good night's sleep would not repair.

    Half an hour of quiet concentration into the afternoon session with 158 on the board in 39 overs Trescothick edged Gul to second slip where Salman Butt picked up a low catch.

    It was Trescothick's highest score of the series in which Pakistan have used four different openers and only Strauss can claim to be a success, even if he has played a number of short, brisk innings and left the heavy scoring to the middle order men.

    For the next three quarters of an hour Alastair Cook and Strauss had little trouble but at 190 Cook pushed forward and nudged the ball straight to short leg, England was only 167 ahead when Pietersen strode to the wicket but with Strauss closing in on his century the forecast that "you will have to play badly to get out on this pitch" seemed to ensure a draw.

    Pietersen departs

    Pietersen immediately unsheathed his sweeping scimitar to whip the ball to the square leg boundary twice in successive overs.

    But at 16 soon after passing 1,500 runs in his 17th Test Pietersen was bowled defending against Kaneria and it seemed that there was a lot of merit in Inzamam's forecast.

    Strauss edged the last ball to the keeper and the prospect of England relying on its long tail had pushed the game in Pakistan's direction.

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