x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

England and Pietersen drive forward against Pakistan

England reach 191 for three at tea in a rain-interrupted day two of the second Test at Edgbaston.

Kevin Pietersen survived 'dead-ball' controversy among his many scrapes in pursuit of his first Test century in 23 innings today. Pakistan had missed five chances ­? of varying difficulty ? to dismiss Pietersen by the time he reached 78 out of England's 191 for three in mid-afternoon on day two of the second Test at Edgbaston. The strangest incident of the lot, and certainly the one which seemed to most annoy tourists already so badly off the pace after their 72 all out yesterday, came in a short passage of play between rain interruptions this morning. Pietersen had made 41 when he was reprieved in a bizarre episode which had observers reaching for their Wisdens to check the Laws of Cricket.

He pulled away to the leg-side just as Mohammad Asif reached his delivery stride, after being distracted by movement behind the bowler's arm. But unfortunately, he decided to play a shot after all ? and chipped an easy catch to Salman Butt at mid-off. Umpire Marais Erasmus signalled dead ball by the time the catch had been taken. Butt was nonetheless convinced Pietersen should have been out ? and although Law 23.3 fell well short of appropriate clarification, it suggested at least that the Pakistan captain had a point. The law of cricket states an umpire "can call dead ball if for an adequate reason the striker is not ready for the delivery.... and if the ball is delivered, makes no attempt to play it". There was nonetheless no doubt that hapless Pakistan were making most of their own problems, as they continued to blunder their way through the match. An exasperated Butt estimated last night that they had already blown five clear chances to take wickets. He could add another glaring miss to his tally within 10 minutes of this morning's resumption, Pietersen escaping again without addition to his overnight 36 in a stand with Jonathan Trott (55), which was eventually to total 133 runs. This time, he got an inside edge on to his pad on a Mohammad Aamer inswinger ? and while Pakistan were busy appealing for lbw, Umar Amin somehow contrived to put down a simple catch in the gully. Pietersen had to wait until after lunch to reach his 50, with his eighth four ? and by far his most convincing shot so far ? when he drove Aamer wide of mid-on from the 97th ball he faced. Trott continued to slip under the radar on his way to an undemonstrative half-century which eventually arrived off 105 balls when he straight-drove Umar Gul for his seventh four. Soon afterwards, Pakistan's problems increased when Gul limped off after aborting his run-up at the start of an over ? and the tourists had to bring on their second substitute fielder, with Shoaib Malik already out of the equation because of a bruised finger. Gul was replaced at the old pavilion end by Amin, and the medium-pacer quickly enhanced his reputation as a partnership breaker when a disbelieving Trott hit a full-blooded cut low but straight into the hands of sub Yasir Hameed at gully ? shortly before a heavy shower stopped play. *PA