Fifth day: England drew with Pakistan
After four days of crackling cricket, the first Test match fizzled out into a draw with neither side prepared to risk defeat going for victory. Put another way, neither side deserved to win; England because they batted on for 40 minutes in which they scored 38 runs from eight overs to set Pakistan an impossible-looking target of 380 off 80 overs.
In so doing, they denied themselves a second new ball even though captain Andrew Strauss had said Steve Harmison might use it to exploit variable bounce off widening cracks.
Pakistan, equally undeserving, conceded 824 runs in the match and England declared twice. It was almost as though the first four days sparkled with positive cricket in spite of, and not because of, each side's approach which they would defend because key players were missing. Many ex-cricketers spouted about England's ultra-cautious declaration tactics but it was ever thus in their day.
The number of declarations that have cost the declarer the match can be numbered on one hand, and Strauss knew he had a fragile four-man attack.
The plus side of his delayed declaration was, knowing Pakistan could not possibly win, he could post a posse of close catchers throughout the 80 overs because runs were irrelevant.
Monty Panesar bowled well, getting extravagant turn and bounce from the Nursery end with the right-to-left slope helping his finger spin. In fact, he beat the bat several times by such a wide margin that Strauss switched him to the Pavilion end for the reverse slope to reduce his spin.
He didn't turn one so Strauss switched him back again and it paid off in his first over when he had the great Mohammad Yousuf lbw to a lovely ball that pitched middle and leg and would have hit middle.
As it happened, other than a wicket eight overs later, that was to be his last success although he all but forced Inzamam-ul-Haq to play on just before tea.
Panesar ran into an unusual problem when he switched to over the wicket, because the first step of his follow through took him directly in front of umpire Steve Bucknor who warned him he could not adjudicate on any appeal. But still Monty crossed over and, sure enough, a decent lbw appeal was negated with Bucknor saying: "I couldn't see it".
Liam Plunkett swung the bat at the start of play and hit four fours in a career-best unbeaten 28 before Strauss declared.
Seldom does a Test innings start with a first-ball wicket but Matthew Hoggard did the trick with an inswinger to left-hander Salman Butt. As the opener often does, he planted his front foot straight down the pitch and made it impossible to get bat to ball.
The Yorkshireman fully exploited Pakistan's top-order frailty when Imran Farhat played an irresponsible stroke to one bowled across him and Paul Collingwood clung on.
A lunchtime score of 43 for two was promising for England who knew that, as the ball got older and softer, the pitch would offer fewer problems from the pace bowlers.
The first hour of the afternoon session brought the introduction of Panesar and the complexion changed. He spun and bounced the ball past the outside edge half a dozen times and Pakistan knew they were in for a struggle when Yousuf went, having looked to be just as much in charge as he had been first time around.
Few batsmen play spin as well as Inzaman does on a turning pitch and he was still in single figures when he could do no more than fend off one from Panesar that turned and bounced. The sharpest of chances flew between Marcus Trescothick and Strauss at first and second slip.
It would have been a remarkable catch - on such quarter chances are matches won and lost. That was England's last sniff of victory. Abdul Razzaq, a natural strokemaker, blocked ball after ball for the next 100 minutes before Strauss called it a day with eight of the last 15 scheduled overs still to be bowled.
At Old Trafford in nine days' time Andrew Flintoff returns, as will Younis Khan. They don't quite cancel out but Younis, Yousuf and Inzamam represent the strongest middle order in world cricket.