Akmal returns for Pakistan for crunch third Test as Haider out


Kamran Akmal is to return behind the Pakistan stumps for the third Test against England at The Oval as Zulqarnain Haider has been ruled out with a broken finger.

Akmal was dropped for the second Test at Edgbaston after disappointing in the series opener at Trent Bridge, putting down numerous catches and failing to trouble the scorers in either innings.

However, 24-year-old replacement wicketkeeper Haider has suffered a hairline fracture and is facing three weeks on the sidelines, potentially ruling him out of the rest of the series.

The injury will be a blow for Pakistan captain Salman Butt, after Haider showed some batting talent during the last match.

He was out for a golden duck on his Test debut, but was influential in Pakistan’s resilient second innings by top scoring with 88.

Meanwhile, it is rumoured that England seam bowler Stuart Broad may have caused the injury when throwing the ball at the keeper in an incident which later resulted in him being fined half of his match fee.

Pakistan will also be without seamer Umar Gul as he has been sent home to recover from a hamstring problem, but Mohammad Yousuf is in line to feature despite having only played a few local club matches recently.

They are 6/1 to win the Test and keep alive their hopes of drawing the four-match series, with serious improvements to their batting needed to pile the pressure on England.

Pakistan have only made 640 runs in their four innings in the series to date, with Haider’s 88 making him their top individual scorer.

Yousuf has the talent to add some resolve to Pakistan’s middle order and is 5/1 to end the series as the team’s top series runscorer, despite this being his first Test.

Mohammad Asif has taken eight wickets for Pakistan in the first two Tests and is evens to finish as their top series wicket taker.