England vs Pakistan – England wobble after Gul’s fireworks

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England hit immediate trouble as they lost two wickets before lunch after Umar Gul had spectacularly avoided the follow-on for Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

England still led by 221, however, and in the wider context of the match, the hosts remain well placed at 1/25 to win the first Test.

Kevin Pietersen, in desperate need of runs, and Jonathan Trott steadied the innings with 18 runs apiece to guide England to 49 for two at lunch.

Gul (65no) had earlier produced a clutch of blistering shots which belied his number nine billing, and he carried Pakistan from an overnight 147 for nine to 182 all out.

Gul, averaging only nine before this innings, not only near single-handedly took his team past the follow-on mark but soon passed his previous career-best with the first of three brilliant pulled sixes off Steve Finn.

Starting their second innings with a lead of 172, England lost their captain to a bizarre caught-behind from the fourth ball of Mohammad Aamer’s opening over.

Strauss edged to second slip, where Umar Akmal was unable to take the chance at the first attempt, but somehow parried the ball over first slip for his wicketkeeper brother Kamran to dive to his left and intercept, leaving a disbelieving Strauss to troop off for no score.

Kamran, so fallible in the first innings, showed again he is back on his game with a catch down the leg-side to see off Alastair Cook and give Mohammad Asif his 100th Test wicket.

Has Gul played Pakistan back into contention? They are 16/1 to win. See the full England vs Pakistan Match Betting Odds market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.