Good morning then everyone, or afternoon, or evening, whichever suits you best. Welcome to the second one-day international. England were saved by the rain on Wednesday, as Pakistan were closing in on their reduced total with alarming ease and rapidity. Whether today will see them put an end to the truly dismal run of form in the short game will probably be determined by one thing: the weather. James Aston, then, is already on the money in that respect: "It's pleasantly overcast and warm in Zurich - but I doubt that will effect the match. Would you mind commenting on the weather that will effect it?"
Well, it is overcast with heavy grey clouds here in London and the rain has just started to splatter against the windows here at GU Towers. In fact it seems certain that the match will be rain-affected, but whether it will clear enough to allow a full 50 overs a side, I'm not sure. Gower is optimistic that "we will see play today", but has added the caveat that "it may not be in the immediate future".
Marcus Trescothick is reading the Sun on the balcony, leafing past the front page and into its inner depths. "Come on Andy, sharpen up, you're going to have to liven up here with some florid description of coloured umbrellas and pac-a-macs. or something. I get the feeling it's going to be a long day..." writes Tom Innes, castigating me for leaving you all alone with that "You know the drill" preamble (not my handywork by the way Tom). But you're right, it is going to be an excruciatingly long day.
I'm sorry to be moaning about the state of my body but it is kind of par for the course on GU work, and today I really am in excruciating pain. Somewhere between getting into bed last night and rising this morning I've done something truely awful to my back. Actually it hurts to breathe. Is there a doctor in the house? If you'd like to offer an impromptu diagnosis, feel free. Otherwise, bare with me folks, I've done this job with a freshly broken foot before, but it didn't compare to this in the agony stakes.
So, it looks like we've got some serious space to fill. There is steady drizzle at the ground, and it is not forecast to improve. Now, this is what I wanted to ask you: how do you like your OBOs? I wonder because this will be my last for a while - I'm off on a two-month break incorporating a holiday in the Cyclades, and then a stint as assistant editor on the Wisden Almanack. So, what I want to know is this... are you happy with the balance of banter and cricket? Would you like more information on the play or more insults, distractions, bells and whistles? A rare opportunity indeed for you people to give us some feedback.
Ok play will start at 11.15am, the groundstaff are mopping up the covers and the umpires are optimistic. But, it has to be said, the rain-clouds don't look like they're going to be too far away at any point of the day. And here is the most exciting news of the day so far: England have replaced Sajid Mahmood with Jon Lewis. It took approximately thirty seconds for Nasser Hussain to drawl: "well, it's a horses for courses selection". Which is an odd statement seeing as Sajid took 3-16 in the C&G Final at the same ground in similar conditions last week. The pessimists are letting their voices be heard: "So is anyone else slightly underawed by Dazzlers return to international ODI's? Other than his rather fun 18 the other night his bowling looked rather pedestrian, no swing, no fizz and no seam. I mean really why not just open with Collingwood and get it over with? He'd be more of a threat. I'm sure Dazzler would be much better at the death - but what are the chances of us making Pakistan go to a whole 50 overs if they bat second really?" writes Andy Bradshaw. Well, I'm with you on that one. Gough has talked his way back into the team, his record this year has done nothing to demand his inclusion in the side. He is 45th in the first-class averages, and has taken 14 wickets at 21 runs each in one-day games. More than that, in his last 16 ODIs he has taken 22 wickets at 32 each, and in his last ten limited overs games has just one wicket with a new ball. But, this is all a bit familiar, as I trotted it all out on Wednesday to fill that rain break.
If Gough does have a place in the side it is surely not with the new ball, but does Robbie Williams have a place in the music industry? Andrew Goldsby asks:"My God will someone in the music industry please get enough backbone to tell Robbie Williams to stop bloody rapping. It's bloody awful. Bowl Gough at the death but the make up of the team is moot because without Freddie there's no balance." That is true: Gough should bowl in the middle overs and at the death. Crikey though, what with you talking about "backbone" and Nasser banging on about how Lord's produces a "tingle in his spine" I'm getting really desperate for some Ibuprofen. Thanks for the help and consolation, Andy Bradshaw and Jon Storm.
How's the ice-cream retail business in Dubai? Graham Iceberg doen't let on but otherwise wants to know this: "Please can anyone tell me when the World Cup takes place next year, and how i can get tickets ? I fancy England to surprise a lot of people, in the same way Blyth Spartans went to the FA cup 6th round in the 1990's. Both teams being crap, and therefore using that to their advantage." Really? Blyth Spartans? Are you making this up?
So, Pakistan have won the toss and chosen to field. Which is surely the right decision: the ball will nip about under the cloud cover, and England are terrible at setting totals. Meanwhile we are having some technical issues and I'm told that this is linking to the last ODI, this will be resolved as soon as someone, somewhere, pulls a finger out. Well, unlike the English, Pakistani fans have every reason to be happy with their side: "It's a real shame that the one day series has been blighted by bad weather, as this Pakistan team would have provided fantastic entertainment in their build up to the World Cup. I just wish the likes of Afridi and Razzaq get a long enough match to show why they are considered the most electrifying cricketers in the world!!" writes Azeem Choudhary. I'm with you on that Azeem, Afridi's innings in the Twenty20 (28 off 10 balls) was one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen: not so much brute power as tremendous wrist speed when hitting the ball.
Even as Mohammed Asif was measuring out his run the rain started up again and the covers are back on, giving the techies vital time to try and fix the gremilins that have invaded our OBO.It is looking almost certain now that the game will be reduced overs, and once more we are all reminded of the futility of trying to play too much cricket in England in September.
Bah! Not one of my colleagues here at GU Sport is answering their phone. It's half past eleven! How much beauty sleep do Glendenning et al need? Well it means that the only technical support I'm getting is a laconic voice at the distant end of the telephone telling me that "It's not my problem, sorry mate". Really? But this is IT support isn't it? Yes. But you can't help fix our IT problem? No. Great, thanks guys. Top work down there in the bunker. So basically, until Glendenning rises from his golden slumbers this problem isn't going anywhere.
Right, 10 minutes till the start of play. Tom Innes has returned to my ibox with this: "I wouldn't agree that you can't schedule cricket on September 2nd, it's often nice enough well into the month. But there should perhaps be a reserve day, or better still the umpires should have the power to "take a view." They should be allowed to reduce the overs, to, say, 25 each. It's the final day of the season for lots of league cricketers today, including my club's teams. Lots of clubs will be pressing ahead with games in spite of the weather in a bid to resolve promotion/relegation/championship issues." Fair point I suppose Tom, but this is the second time this week that I've sat here writing about the rain, and I'm not going to be convinced that this is a good time for cricket.
England's team: ME Trescothick, AJ Strauss, IR Bell, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, JWM Dalrymple, R Clarke, CMW Read, J Lewis, D Gough, SCJ Broad.
Pakistan's team: Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Naved-ul-Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif.
The match has been reduced to 46 overs a side and play is about to start.
WICKET!!!! Strauss 0 c Akmal b Akhtar: First over: England 1-1 (Trescothick 1 Bell 0) The pitch is only marginally less green than Pakistan's pyjamas. Shoaib, hair tied back in a neat ponytail, finds some swing from his first ball, and is already up at just under 90mph. There is a steady drizzle and Lord's looks less than three-quarters full. Trescothick touches an edge that drops short of Akmal, and steals a single. Strauss has less luck as Shoaib finds his edge with a neat leg-cutter and the ball pops into Akmal's gloves. An awful start to what looks sure to be a low-scoring game.
Second over: England 3-1 (Trescothick 2 Bell 0) Mohammed Asif is seaming the ball around corners off the pitch, and Trescothick guides one of his bananas through vacant third slip and doubles England's score. Statistically switched on Andy Stout offers this "September's as good a time as any in the London summer to play cricket, with 43mm average rainfall, the same as August and marginally less than the rest of the season's months. It's only in October that things turn in Thames Water's favour and 73mm falls. It is a bit parkier mind." But Andy, it is the type of rain, not the quantity that matters. Summer showers are one thing but September drizzle quite another.
Third over: England 7-1 (Trescothick 2 Bell 4) This is torrid, horrid stuff for England, and as tough a test of batsmanship as anything a player can face in an English season. Shoaib has found his line and spits one viciously off a length at Bell, who drops his hands and his jaw in shock and awe. Again, Shoaib fizzes one past his outside edge. Bell battles back with a nice cover drive for four off a wide outswinger, but Pakistan will be happy to see him driving. Colum Farrelly offers kind advice for me, if not for England: "Doctors are little use to you when you have back pain (writes a doctor with back pain). Keep as mobile as you can is the standard advice - so may I suggest you swap places with a fielder at third man? No fancy Collingwood-type catches, though. That might counter productive. And Shoaib impersonations are out."
Fourth over: England 7-1 (Trescothick 2 Bell 4) The umpires meet for a talk about the rain, but decide to stay on. Pakistan are persisting with two slips, which is causing Athers and Bumble considerable consternation in Sky's commentary box. There are some concerned looks on England's balcony, not leats from Andrew Strauss, who is busy picking his nose - perhaps a nostril blockage distracted him at the crucial moment? Asif has fired down five balls of a maiden, when the umpires call the players off the field because of the rain, so play has stopped.
Well really I'm beginning to wish I'd stayed in bed because my back spasms aren't getting any better (every fifth breath involves a sharp stabbing pain in my back) and there seems to be just no way that this match is going to be played to a finish. By way of consolation Sky are showing some old footage of a pair of my favourite England one-day bowlers: Andy Caddick and Alan Mullally. Blimey, the forgotten man of English cricket, Ali Brown, is sitting on the bench.
So much for England's tried and tested one-day opening combination. Not that I have a problem with Strauss opening the innings, but England certainly need more batsmen who can take advantage of teh power-play periods. They are an innovation which the team have failed to come to grips with. Can they really accommodate Collingwood, Bell, Strauss and Dalrymple in the top six I wonder? The four of them combined offer less of a boundary-scoring threat than Shahid Afridi on his own. I suppose the return of Ian Blackwell and Andy Flintoff will do a lot to ease that issue, but in terms of back-up batsmen the cupboard is looking fairly empty. Odd that, given the abundance of Test talent available, which I guess takes us back to that hoary old cricket problem about one-day and Test specialists.
My day is bad but so is Andy Bradshaw's: I"'ve just had to fight through ASDA on a saturday morning with hundreds of gormless idiots almost as clueless than Englands batsmen (Ian the god Bell excluded)." Saturday supermarkets are indeed among the circles of modern hell Andy. I sympathise. Colum 'Mr Motivator' Farrelly offers this as a means for me to fill time and space: "No play again. We could try some communal physiotherapy for back pain. All together, now. Stand Up. Oh I see. Well, try anyway. Now, bend forward as if to touch your toes."
Now that was a great England one-day attack: Ealham, Mullally, Caddick and Gough. There was a time when all four of them were ranked among the top ten one-day bowlers in the world. Ealham, in fact, is still performing wonders on the county circuit, and, if the selectors had a sense humour and suitably-sized cojones he would be in the team going to the Twenty20 World Cup. But they don't and he won't. I'd happily back a team of Twenty20 specialists from the county circuit to stuff England in a Twenty20 match. The rump of the side would be: Mal Loye, Ali Brown, Stuart Law, Mark Ealham, Darren Maddy, Dominic Cork, Jeremy Snape and Paul Nixon.
The umbrellas are down and the rain has stopped so the covers are coming off and play should soon resume, with the match scaled down to 40 overs each. Hywel Davis has rightly taken me to task for my shoddy typing skills. Much like shooting fish in a barrel that one Hywel, but thanks anyway. I blame the education policies of the Thatcher government, and my own lazy inability to pick up a dictionary after I write every line.
Fifth over: England 10-1 (Trescothick 2 Bell 7) Trescothick survives another edge that drops short of the slips off the last ball of Asif's unfinished over. Bell dabs Akhtar to the off for a quick two. England are batting with a bit more oompah after the break, as though acknowledging that it is only a matter of time before they a jaffa comes down. "Surely Mal Loye and Stuart Law should be in the ODI side anyway" ever chirpy Andy Bradshaw pipes up once more "Anyone else think that Buchanan's grasping at straws? Trying desperately to prove that he is as clever and as good at "thinking outside the box" as Fletcher has been. Surely ensuring that McGrath is fit and that their backup bowlers arent tosh should be more of a priority than messing about in the outback beasting the team. What's next? P-Company (Parachute Regiment selection course) for the England ODI side? Although a firing squad might be more useful."
Sixth over: England 15-1 (Trescothick 6 Bell 8) Asif skins Bell's bat twice, seaming the ball away down the slope. A single off a straight one puts Trescothick on strike, and he clumps a four through mid-wicket as Asif's line strays onto his pads. Asif follows through next ball and gives Tresco a mean word and a meaner stare. Seventh over: England 17-1 (Trescothick 6 Bell 8) Ok, we're going to attempt some technical jiggery-pokery so stand by while we have a slight pause. But before we do that, I'll tell you that Kamran Akmal has dropped another chance, but the umpire gave Bell's initial shot as leg-byes anyway, which Beefy Botham is very unhappy about. Rightly so too, because it was off the bat.
WICKET!!! Trescothick 6 c Khan b Asif: Eighth over England 18-2 (Bell 8 Pietersen 0) Right everything is going belly up both here and at Lord's, the computers have seized up and England are crashing down. Trescothick is out trying to play an on-drive, the edge flies to second slip and he is out.
WICKET!!! Bell 9 c Inzamam b Akhtar: Ninth over England 18-3 (Pietersen 0 Collingwood 0) And now Bell slahes at a wide one outside off but is beaten for pace, the ball takes the edge and os pouched by Inzamam. England have disappeared up the creek, and Paul Collingwood does not have a paddle. He is beaten repeatedly by the bounce, pace and movement in the remainder of the over.
Tenth over England 21-3 (Pietersen 1 Collingwood 0) Ok, so now we're up to speed. Honestly, of all the times for gremlins to strike! KP finds a single off the last ball.
11th over England 24-3 (Pietersen 2 Collingwood 1) Ten overs gone and England are 21-3. Could this be going any worse? Shoaib and Asif have been brilliant, verging on the unplayable. Shoaib tries a yorker that just eludes leg-stump. Gary Naylor is busy asking the kind of questions that are troubling all of England: "They could schedule two Twenty20s today instead of watching Ian Bell grind out another 70 odd at a strike rate of 60. Even if it rained, we'd get one match in and five overs of Afridi has to be better than 100 0vers of this tosh. ODIs are being kept alive by the World Cup. They are nowhere near as compelling as Test Cricket nor as spectacular as Twenty20, so why bother?" Quite. Only Ian Bell ground out just nine this time. England have never appeared more clueless on a cricket pitch, but then, even Tendulkar would struggle to get this bowling off the square.
12th over England 25-3 (Pietersen 3 Collingwood 1) This is Asif's sixth over and he has taken one for nine. Crikey, Nasser has just pointed out that the best seam-bowler of the bunch, Rana Naved, is still to come. If he gets it right he'll be deadly. Mind you he might not be needed: Colingwood dances down the pitch and tries to smash the ball but totally misses and narrowly avoids being bowled.
13th over England 32-3 (Pietersen 6 Collingwood 5) And here is Naved, replacing Shoaib (six overs, 2 for 13). KP brushes the second ball off his hip for two runs, Naved is extracting less movement at first than I'd expected. Glory be! Collingwood tucks a half-volley off his legs and away for four, England's third boundary of the day.
14th over England 33-3 (Pietersen 7 Collingwood 5) KP miscues an attempted pull, which brings no run but does prompt Inzi to pull out second slip and send him to deep backward square-leg. The two batsmen are taking every opportunity to steal quick singles, which seems sound policy, as both are good runners. "The handful of MCC members who have bothered to pitch up to watch their national team look like each of them was stood up by Scarlett Johansson last night. Is that because they don't like cricket, or this format, or this team? In any case, fewer international matches at Lords might help. And, whisper it... do even MCC members prefer Twenty20?" Having a face like a slapped bum is mandatory for entry into the MCC, but even I am scowling watching this trouncing. But then, patriotism aside, it is also very engrossing.
15th over England 44-3 (Pietersen 16 Collingwood 6) KP, KP, KP what a player. He smashes a four through covers off the back foot, so Naved changes his line and then KP pulls him brutally to the fence for another boundary. "Such fine hands" remarks Nasser, as though KP was advertising Nutrogena cream or somesuch thing. A pair of quick singles and this over, as the computerisde Richie Benaud says on my EA Cricket 2005: 'this over has eased the pressure on the batting side somewhat'.
WICKET!!! Pietersen 17 c Naved b Asif 16th over England 44-4 (Collingwood 6 Dalrymple 0) Pietersen is the hero no more, change the headlines quick, he essays a dreadful hoick that flies into the air, Rana Naved runs in from third man to take a brilliant catch. Asif has his man again, and lets KP know it with a verbal volley as he leaves the pitch, head bowed. KP was trying to take advantage of the final power-play over I suppose. Asif's spell has come to an end, and a phenomenal one it was too: two for ten off eight overs, and a wicket maiden to finish.
16th over England 50-4 (Collingwood 10 Dalrymple 0) Abdur Razzaq comes on and Collingwood plays a pull which coughs up a top-edge over the keeper's for four, though Colly had no idea where the ball had gone. Who can save England now? Dalrymple is playing as though it were a timeless Test match, and he has to bat for the next five days. I mean safe and steady is one thing, but he has played seven forward defensive strokes in a row. It has to be said that no6 is far to high in the order for him.
17th over England 56-4 (Collingwood 15 Dalrymple 0) Collingwood clips another fine four away to square-leg and adds a scrambled single. Mr G Naylor, seemingly the only man inclined to share his views with us all has put in a plea for Hoggard: "Hoggy can't get a game in the poorest England One Day team I can remember despite over 200 Test wickets mostly with the new ball. Too predictable, can't mix it up, so Nasser and the gang say. So what of Mohammad Asif? Landed every ball on a sixpence and delivered 8 overs 2 for 10?". A good point, though Hoggard doesn't get as much movement off the pitch as Asif does.
18th over England 58-4 (Collingwood 17 Dalrymple 1) Dalrymple has mustered no runs from 13 balls, he is a fiercely pragmatic cricketer. Oh! and there he goes, struggling down the pitch for a sharp single, he narrowly avoids being run-out as Mohammed Yousuf's throw just misses the stumps.
19th over England 67-4 (Collingwood 21 Dalrymple 6) Incredibly, Dalrymple hits a four up the hill. Rana Naved is slightly off the mark here, when the conditions really should be perfect for him. Collingwood chips a drive into the air over mid-off's head and they run two.
20th over England 76-4 (Collingwood 25 Dalrymple 10) What with the heavy weather at Lord's, has the term pathetic fallacy ever been so appropriate for England's cricket? The pressure has eased though, with the change bowler's not managing to replicate the form of the openers. Dalrymple even managaes another four with an ugly pull that pops up in the air but finds a gap on the leg side.
21st over England 78-4 (Collingwood 25 Dalrymple 13) Ben 'the man with no surmane' thinks this, and I kind of agree with him: "KP has let his ego get the better of him and he's let the team down. If he'd just played out that last Asif over he could have carried on his assault on Naved and co. But that would have felt like admitting that Asif is too good for him. He's brilliant but he's an idiot. Instead of watching KP hit Afridi we'll now have to watch Colly and co fail to get him off the square." KP always used to take a long time to get going didn't he? He used to actually block and scamper his way through the first twenty runs and then explode when he was settled. But he seems to have abandoned that tactic, and it is costing England.
WICKET!!! Dalrymple 13 lbw Razzaq: 22nd over England 81-5 (Collingwood 25 Clarke 1) Razzaq bowls a beauty to Dalrymple and traps him lbw. The ball drifts in towards middle from the off and hits the pad as Dalrymple plays down the wrong line. Rikki Clarke has come in, and it is time for him to turn up and play well: unlike Dalrymple, Clarke is a highly capable batsman - both in attack and defense. A bit of application, aggression and intent would be very welcome right now: and he starts well, with a driven single to mid-off.
23rd over England 84-5 (Collingwood 28 Clarke 2) At the risk of turning this into Gary Naylor's personal pulpit: "Ben's right about KP's poor judgement against Asif today, but the other ten batters owe KP a bad trot (and it's his first in his international career). Who is going to average 40+ at a strike rate of 80+ in this team other than KP? And if you can't do this, you shouldn't get a place in the top seven of a one day team." He adds a litany of designated "matchwinners" who should be in the side, but printing that would be like running an extract from the phone directory: I'll save it for the rain break, because the umbrellas are going up again. Naved tightens his line and gives up just three runs from the over.
24th over England 92-5 (Collingwood 29 Clarke 8) Shahid Afridi enters the attack. Clarke and Collingwood both resort to battering him through the leg-side where Inzamam has left a huge gap in the field. As Afridi over corrects his line, Clarke plays a cultured late cut that runs away for four.
25th over England 97-5 (Collingwood 33 Clarke 11) Mohammed Hafeez comes on to plug up the other end with more spin. Sky keep bangng on about how the score of 173 proved enough to win the C&G for Sussex, forgetting that Pakistan have one of the best batting line-ups in the world. Clarke continues to look comfortable, displaying a range of dabs and prods to colect some singles.
26th over England 100-5 (Collingwood 34 Clarke 12) Two runs to leg and a scrambled single are the sole return from Afridi's over. Meanwhile Kevin Wilson is beginning a long rant: "What kind of balance does the one day side need? Currently we have all rounders from 5-7, none of whom play in their rightful positions and none really perform well enough in both disciplines. And then we have a keeper at 8, which no one day side should boast."
27th over England 106-5 (Collingwood 34 Clarke 15) Poor fielding at third man gifts Clarke three runs. The man Wilson continues most eloquently: "It's been said that England don't score quickly enough at the start of the innings. The answer? A pinch hitting keeper. And I don't mean Jones or Read batting too highly up the order. I mean a keeper who can genuinely open. I never understand why Prior wasn't handed the gloves when he opened. I know he never scored enough to warrant his place as a batsman alone, but as a keeper/batsman at the top of the order, he'd perform well enough."
WICKET!!! Collingwood 35 lbw Afridi 28th over England 110-6 (Clarke 15 Read 0) Collingwood is done in exactly the same fashion as he was on Wednesday, as Afridi drifts a straight ball onto middle stump and it spits straight on to leave Collingwood out lbw with his bat in totally the wrong place. Perhaps Chris Read has a chance to prove his doubters (that's you in the last over Kevin) wrong with a quirky thirty down the order.
29th over England 112-6 (Clarke 18 Read 3) "Did anyone see KP's Q and A in the Guardian mag this morning? Was he taking the mickey or he is the dullest man alive?" asks Phillip Harrison. I didn't Phillip, but I can still tell you that it will be the first of those rather than the second. Perhaps you could send an extract to illuminate me.
30th over England 120-6 (Clarke 20 Read 10) "I think you're being a bit harsh on Dalrymple - yes, he's probably a number 7 rather than a number 6, but he's not that bad a batsman and does in fact have a very decent ODI strikerate (82.27 before this match). He can't really be blamed for recent failings of the top order which have led to him coming in very dodgy positions when not getting out has to take priority over scoring runs (KP take note)." writes Simon Blainey, and as Chris Read smashes a four through the covers I have to say I disagree with you.
30th over England 122-6 (Clarke 21 Read 11) Because both these two are better batsmen than Dalrymple, who is a fiercely pragmatic but ultimately stymied player who will never contribute quickly enough or sizeably enough to justify a place in the top six. No8, perhaps, but then he'd have to be a better bowler.
31st over England 127-6 (Clarke 23 Read 13) Read trips over his own feet as he dances down the track and Akmal misses a stumping, to the undisguised disgust of his teammates.
32nd over England 134-6 (Clarke 28 Read 15) Rikki Clarke further proves the point by biffing a four through mid-wicket. "Kevin Wilson shouldn't worry about balance - it's only teams bereft of talent that concern themselves with balance in the one day game. Are Pakistan balanced if Afridi comes in at 8 or 5? Doesn't matter, because the talent is there through the side. Substitute Dhoni or Hussey or Pollock for other countries and the point holds." writes Gary Naylor... care to respond Kevin? A quick skingle draws an overthrow and England take eight from the over. 34th over England 139-6 (Clarke 29 Read 17) Abdur Razzaq returns, as does Phillip Harrison with an extract from the aforementioned KP interview: "Perfect happiness? - relaxing on a beach with Jess Most treasured possesion? -Jess Where would you like to live?- Dubai What is your guiltiest pleasure? - Going on holiday with Jess. Our favourite destination is Dubai" Yup, fair point Phillip, that is the dullest thing I've ever seen committed to the page. No wonder Caprice dumped him (or something). It sounds like a phone interview conducted during a bathroom break.
35th over England 145-6 (Clarke 36 Read 17) Now Rana Naved has returned, he is once again gun-barrel straight. Clarke attempts a single off a ball dropped to his feet, but Naved beats him to the ball and picks it up, Clark turns tail and runs back to his crease, but clearly blocks Naved's sight of the stumps. He could have been out obstructing the field there. He makes amends with a fine swept four next ball.
36th over England 157-6 (Clarke 37 Read 29) Read dispatches Shoaib Akhtar's loosener for a mighty six that goes six rows back into the cowd. A brilliant swivel-pull that infuriates teh bowler. After a single Shoaib serves up a toe-crunching yorker to Clarke but he digs it out and saves his digits from harm. Read the demonstrates his lightening-quick wrists (honed from years of hockey playing) by dropping onto one knee and smacking a four with a slog through mid-wicket.
WICKET!!! Read 30 b Razzaq: 37th over England 162-7 (Clarke 39 Gough 1) The two swap singles, before Read's innings comes to a close as he attempts another hoick over mid-wicket to a ball that stayed straight and low to clean out his middle stump. His run-a-ball 30 has been a fine contribution though. Darren Gough comes in, and he immediately returns the strike to Rikki Clarke.
WICKET!!! Clarke b Akhtar 39: WICKET!!! Gough b Akhtar 1: 38th over England 166-9 (Lewis 2 Broad 1) Shoaib rips out Clarke's middle stump with a fine off-cutter that is just too quick for the batsman's attempted heave to leg. That is Clarke's best score in ODIs, and a very good knock in the circumstance, it is just a shame he and Read have been bowled trying to slog at the death. Lewis plays a full toss away for one but that just exposes Gough to an unplayable yorker that tears middle stump from the ground in spectacular fashion. That was a lesson in real death bowling for Goughie. Lewis and Broad somehow manage to keep their castles intact, throwing the bat towards their feet as Shoiab attempt to break either their toes or their timbers.
WICKET!!! Lewis 2 run-out Younis Khan. 39th over England 166-9 (Broad 1) Younis produces a stunning throw from mid-on to run-out Jon Lewis by a mile and end England's innings. There is only a ten minute break so I have to hustle, back shortly all.