Stand and deliver!

Having manoeuvered themselves into a winning position over the opening four days of the first Test against Pakistan in Multan, England’s batsmen proceeded to throw the match away. The last innings saw the middle order of Collingwood, Pietersen and Flintoff collapse for a paltry 33, the final total of 175 all out falling 22 runs short of the required target. The bowlers cannot be blamed, ‘Freddy’ Flintoff weighing in with eight wickets for 156 runs, but, Trescothick’s 193 apart, the Ashes heroes need to start performing with the bat. Strauss and Pietersen, in particular, are capable of hitting far greater ‘heights’ than their modest contributions have so far suggested.

This week’s second Test in Faisalabad sees the return of injured captain Michael Vaughan, who should not only provide a steadying influence at number three, but also some much needed runs. Trescothick, whose father-in-law was admitted to hospital back in England, has decided to remain with the tour, providing the additional boost that can see England to victory, thus leveling the series at one a piece.

At the time of going to press, at the close of play on day three of the test England were 391-7 chasing Pakistan’s first innings total of 462.