England’s tailenders withstood a barrage from Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar to force a dramatic draw on the fifth and final day of the second cricket Test.
England – which needed 285 runs in a minimum 64 overs to level the three-match series – was 164 for six in 48 overs when Geraint Jones (30) and Ashley Giles (13) thankfully accepted the umpires’ offer of bad light.
Pakistan leads the three-match series 1-0 after its 22-run win in the first Test at Multan last week. The third Test begins in Lahore from November 29.
“We are happy to get a draw and if we get a chance in Lahore we will use it to level the series,” England captain Michael Vaughan said.
Fast bowlers Rana Naved (3-30) and Akhtar (3-61) had pushed England to the ropes within the first six overs on the last afternoon when they claimed four wickets for only 20 runs.
Kevin Pietersen (42) and top scorer Andrew Flintoff (56) added 80 runs before Naved struck in his second spell. Substitute fielder Asim Kamal brilliantly snapped a diving catch at short mid-on as the ball looped in the air after taking an inside edge of Pietersen’s bat and hitting the pads.
“Pakistan put us under a lot of pressure and we had to fight out and make sure we didn’t lose,” Vaughan said.
Akhtar gave Pakistan hope of victory in the last session when Flintoff tried to pull a short delivery. However, the ball flew to another substitute fielder Hasan Raza after clipping the gloves of the Lancashire allrounder as England slipped to 138 for six.
“Shoaib is working very hard and has given more than 100 per cent in both test matches,” Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq said.
Jones and Giles then faced the hostile spell of Akhtar for three more overs before bad light gave England some reprieve.
Earlier, Inzamam (100 not out) hit a record-breaking second century of the match and declared the second innings at 268-9 just before lunch.
Pakistan took a slender 16-run lead after England made 446 in reply to the home team’s first innings score of 462.
“The boys are working hard and they are determined to do well. They have performed in critical times and I am happy that we are playing good cricket at the moment,” Inzamam said.
Akhtar dented England’s chances on either side of the lunch break when he claimed two crucial wickets. Marcus Trecothick (0) tried to leave Akhtar’s third delivery that nipped back and knocked the left-handed opener’s off stump and Ian Bell edged a short pitched delivery to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
Naved also struck in the first over after the break when Andrew Strauss could not keep the ball away from the stumps after it hit the bottom edge of his bat. Vaughan (9) left his side tottering at 20-4 when Naved had him trapped LBW.