England batsmen Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen posted centuries on the third day of the second cricket test.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
Faisalabad:England batsmen Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen took advantage of some sloppy Pakistani fielding to post centuries, as the visitors fought back hard on the third day of the second cricket test. Bell (115) was dropped twice while Pietersen (100) also got a life on 64 when Danish Kaneria spilled an easy catch and England finished the day at 391 for seven. Geraint Jones (55) also made a useful contribution and England now trails by 71 runs to Pakistan's healthy first innings score of 462. Ashley Giles was batting on 23 while Shaun Udal was not out on 6 when bad light brought an early closure with 12 overs still remaining to be bowled. Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar (2-76) briefly rocked England with the second new ball after the home team failed to get a breakthrough in the first session. Akhtar removed Pietersen and uprooted dangerman Andrew Flintoff's (1) middle stump in his successive overs with the second new ball but England avoided follow-on and progressed to 353 for six at tea Shahid Afridi (2-74), who was banned for one test and two test matches for damaging the pitch, ended Bell's (115) six-hour knock when he found the big edge of Warwickshire batsman's bat to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. Bell hit seven fours and faced 272 balls in his innings. Afridi later trapped Jones' leg before wicket after England's wicketkeeper batsman hit eight fours in his 86-ball half century. Pietersen reached his century when he pulled Akhtar for a big six over mid wicket off the first delivery the paceman bowled with second new ball. However, he mistimed a similar shot off the next ball and spooned a simple catch to Mohammad Yousuf at mid-on. Pietersen, who had scored just 16 runs in the two warm-up games and made only 5 and 19 in the first test at Multan last week, hit six fours and three sixes in his 136-ball second century in test cricket. He combined with Bell in a fruitful 154-run fourth wicket partnership in three hours 22 minutes and denied Pakistan success until Akhtar got the double breakthrough after the new ball was taken at the end of 80th over. (AP)