Cook and Collingwood make Pakistan pay for dropped catches
by AFP

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:Umar Gul, Abdul Razzaq, PD Collingwood, AN Cook, ME Trescothick, AJ Strauss, KP Pietersen, Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 13th July 2006


Pakistan paid a high price for a series of dropped catches as unbeaten hundreds from Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood put England in a strong position on the first day of the first Test at Lord's here Thursday.


At stumps England were 309 for three after Cook, dropped three times, and Collingwood, missed once, both scored their second Test centuries and first at home after they had each reached three figures against India in Nagpur in March.


Left-hander Cook finished on 101 not out and Collingwood 109 not out, their stand worth 221 in 71 overs after England had been 88 for three.


At tea, Cook had been 68 not out and Collingwood 77 not out.


Pakistan, who had already missed two chances to catch Cook, then gave Collingwood a reprieve after he had added just two runs to his score when wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal dropped a straightforward catch off Umar Gul.


Akmal, who had injured his left index finger during Pakistan's final warm-up match against England A at Canterbury, immediately threw off his glove and the only recognised keeper in Pakistan's squad seemed in pain.


Then Imran Farhat, who had dropped Cook on nought, again missed him in the slips when the Essex batsman, on 81, edged an intended drive off fast bowler Mohammad Sami.


Collingwood then went to 99 when he lofted leg-spinner Danish Kaneria high over long-off, a shot that also saw England to a new record fourth-wicket partnership against Pakistan, breaking the 188 of Ted Dexter and Peter Parfitt at Karachi in 1961/62.


And next ball a single off Kaneria took Collingwood to a hundred in 157 balls with 12 fours.


Cook spent a nervous eight balls on 99 before a quick single off Shahid Afridi saw him through to a hundred in 259 balls with nine fours.


But it could easily have been a different story.


Cook, 21, had yet to score when he edged paceman Umar Gul, only for Farhat, diving across from second slip, to drop a catch heading straight to first slip and Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.


At that stage England, whose stand-in captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and batted, had slumped to 60 for two after losing two quick wickets.


After lunch Pakistan saw Cook, on 45, check a drive against Kaneria only for the batsman's Essex team-mate to drop a straightforward caught and bowled chance with England 196 for three.


Durham star Collingwood, 12 not out at lunch, then went to a 65-ball fifty with his seventh four - a punched backfoot drive through the offside against Sami.


Pakistan had performed creditably in the morning given they were without several injured quicks in Shoaib Akhtar (ankle), Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (groin) and Mohammad Asif (elbow).


And they also had to omit unfit batsmen Shoaib Malik (elbow) and vice-captain Younis Khan (knee).


After openers Marcus Trescothick and Strauss put on 50 at nearly a run-a-ball, England lost both left-handers with the total on 60.


Trescothick (16) went first, edging Gul to Akmal. Then Strauss, in his first Test as England captain with regular skipper Michael Vaughan (knee) and first-choice stand-in Andrew Flintoff (ankle) both injured, was lbw for 30 to former Middlesex colleague Abdul Razzaq.


Kevin Pietersen looked in good touch before on 21 he was lbw to Razzaq on the backfoot, not playing a shot, to leave England wobbling at 88 for three.


Pakistan, who beat England 2-0 at home in a three-match Test series late last year, have not lost a Test series in England since 1982 and recently leapfrogged England into second place in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.


But England received some good news before play when Ashes-winning seamer Matthew Hoggard was included despite an injury to his right, bowling, hand during England A's match against Pakistan last week.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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