Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Bad weather halts Pakistan's progress in fourth Test match

AP , COLOMBO

Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq hits a four off Steve Harmison before rain stopped play at The Oval during the fourth Test against England yesterday in London.

PHOTO: AFP

Agencies, LONDON

Pakistan moved on to 348 for three, giving them a first-innings lead of 175, before rain interrupted the third morning of the fourth and final Test against England yesterday.

Mohammad Yousuf added two runs to his overnight score to reach 117 not out at The Oval, with his captain Inzamam-ul-Haq on 11 at the other end, before rain began to fall after just five overs.

The touring side added 12 runs in the 20 minutes available, with Inzamam contributing two sumptuous back-foot boundaries, the first off Matthew Hoggard and the second off the struggling Steve Harmison.

They were bowled out for 173 on the first day.

On Friday, Mohammad Yousuf's third century of the series left Pakistan in command.

Pakistan, when bad light forced an early close on the second day, were 336 for three, a first innings lead of 163, with Yousuf 115 not out.

Yousuf's century followed his 202 in the drawn first Test at Lord's and 192 in England's series-clinching 167-run third Test triumph at Headingley. It was his fourth hundred in five Tests against England.

The right-hander also became the leading run scorer in Test cricket this year with 1,110 runs.

Together with Mohammad Hafeez, who made 95, he put on 177 for the third wicket after Yousuf, dropped twice early on, had shared a stand of 78 with Imran Farhat (91).

England's attack, as it had been on Thursday, was lackluster with fast bowler Steve Harmison way below his best with figures of none for 78 in 15 overs.

"It was as bad it looked," England seamer Matthew Hoggard admitted. "We were below par bowling, below par fielding and we were below par batting yesterday [Thursday]. But we've got three days to put that right."

The one consolation for England was that at 2-0 up they'd already won the series.

But Hoggard insisted: "We spoke at length before the game saying we didn't want to lose in a dead rubber. We want to go 3-0 up."

The opening match of the three-game limited-overs series between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned yesterday due to a wet outfield, underscoring the problem of scheduling games during the monsoon season.

One morning shower, lasting 30 minutes, dashed the chances of resuming Friday's interrupted game at the Sinhalese Sports Club that saw just 22 balls being bowled -- despite the provision of a reserve day.

The sun was shining and there was no sign of rain when umpires Billy Bowden and Asoka de Silva had to call off the game as the time available would not permit for the match to be completed.

Cricket fans saw just 3.4 overs bowled on Friday, allowing India to score 11 for no loss after winning the toss.

A scheduled tri-series was reduced to a Sri Lanka-India contest after South Africa pulled out last week citing security concerns.

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