SPORT

England faces a big challenge

Ted Corbett

FAISALABAD: Danish Kaneria, the leg-spinner who played a crucial role in beating England in the first Test, has promised their batsmen more torture when the second Test begins on Monday. "The best is yet to come," said Kaneria who has clearly learnt something about challenging remarks as well as combative bowling in Essex where he played last summer.

Kaneria began his Test career against England at Faisalabad five years ago and says he has "fond memories" of the stadium. He failed to take a wicket in that match but now he has shown that he can walk in the same footprints as Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed, two of the greatest wrist-spinners of all time.

Among his best

Kaneria certainly had the upper hand against England whose middle-order could not pick the googly however hard they watched the hand. They were just as inept in trying to play him off the pitch and the lower middle order batsman Shaun Udal was so flummoxed by a googly and bowled with his bat far from the line that Kaneria rates his wicket among his best of all time.

He also took the wickets of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell early in his spell, both decisive blows as England seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory during their second wicket stand of 57.

"I owe a lot to my captain Inzamam-ul-Haq," said Kaneria, one of only two Hindus to play for Pakistan. "He gave me a lot of encouragement and told me at the beginning of my spell that he wanted me to get two early wickets. When I was able to accomplish that feat I was very happy even when England seemed to be getting on top later on. When Geraint Jones and Udal were batting together I guessed we needed only one more wicket to win the match and so my ball to Udal was important. Now I hope I can repeat my good bowling in the second Test."

Biggest decision

Michael Vaughan, the captain, jogged freely in the vast police gardens near their hotel this morning — security considerations mean that young policemen are forced to run with the players and, naturally find themselves outpaced by the professional athletes — before deciding he would play. It could be the biggest decision of the tour.

"It is a worthwhile risk," he says but it will be a terrible blow if he breaks down half way through the match. His knee strain is an old injury and it is difficult to believe it is completely cured when only a week ago there was talk of an operation and a long spell out of cricket. If he plays, Paul Collingwood, the best England fielder, a good middle order batsman and useful bowler, is favourite to drop out. England will miss his dedication.

Vaughan, says he is sure England can do well in the two remaining Tests but if it dies, it will be because he makes runs against Kaneria and finds a way to cramp the style of Salmon Butt and Inzamam, the two most impressive batsmen in the first Test. England should also have got home in the first Test and winning from behind in this country on pitches that defy even a Kaneria to break though is a big challenge.

The teams (from):

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt.), Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Salmon Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Hasan Raza, Kaman Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif.

England: Michael Vaughan (capt.), Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Shaun Udal, Steve Harmison.

Umpires: Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel (both Australia). TV umpire: Nadeem Ghauri. Match referee: Roshan Mohanama.