England vs Pakistan – Prior century makes Pakistan pay
Matt Prior’s century saw England remain on course for a comfortable victory after the third day of the first npower Test at Trent Bridge, despite a fine individual display from Umar Gul.
Prior (102no) produced a well-paced knock to pick up his third Test century and help England recover from 120 for six in their second innings to eventually declare on 262 for nine, setting Pakistan a world record chase of 435 to win.
Stuart Broad then struck twice in his second over to remove captain Salman Butt (eight) and Azhar Ali (nought), before James Anderson got rid of Umar Amin (one) to leave Pakistan 15 for three at the close.
England are now a near-certain 1/500 to win the Test, with Pakistan a massive 33/1 chance.
Indeed Pakistan are odds on (5/6) to get fewer than 155.5 runs – leaving England with a healthy winning margin.
Earlier in the day Pakistan bowler Gul, who entered the match with a Test batting average of just nine, had played some excellent shots to score 65 not out off just 46 balls and help the tourists avoid the follow-on.
He hit eight fours and four sixes to see Pakistan score 27 boundaries, and the tourists could be taken at 6/5 to get more than 19.5 boundaries again.
Pakistan had resumed on 147 for nine, but thanks to Gul’s heroics they were eventually dismissed for 182.
The 26-year-old then starred with the ball as he took three wickets for seven runs in just 21 balls as England were reduced to 120 for six.
Much-maligned Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal had produced a stunning catch to dismiss Kevin Pietersen for 22 after Gul had found an inside edge, but dropped new man Paul Collingwood next ball as he went for a much more straightforward catch he could have left for first slip Imran Farhat.
But Collingwood did not last much longer, falling lbw to Gul for one, and it took an excellent innings from Prior to help England recover.
The wicketkeeper was helped by contributions of 28 and 24 respectively from Graham Swann and Broad as England reached 262 for nine before declaring.
Imran Farhat and the second nightwatchman Mohammad Aamer are at the crease on six and naught respectively, and it’s little surprise that the 18-year-old bowler is 8/15 to be the next man out.
England are 2/1 to skittle out Pakistan before lunch, but given there are still seven wickets to go, that may be foolhardy to take up. A better bet would be to take the 5/6 on another Pakistan wicket to fall before they reach 30.5 runs.