England win toss and bat against Pakistan

Published: Thursday, July 13, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:England stand-in captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bat in the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's.

His side had a boost before play when Matthew Hoggard was passed fit after sustaining a freak hand injury.

The swing specialist, ever-present in England's last 32 Tests, sustained a bizarre injury to his right, bowling, hand when it was trodden on by Yorkshire colleague Tim Bresnan while the pair were warming-up on Saturday during the A team's draw against Pakistan at Canterbury.

But Hoggard, who had stitches inserted into his hand, bowled with a cricket ball during practice at Lord's on Wednesday and the Ashes-winning 29-year-old has now been cleared to play in what is the first match of a four Test series.

England omitted Jon Lewis and Sajid Mahmood from their 13-man squad after the injury-hit hosts were without the Ashes-winning quartet of captain Michael Vaughan (knee), all-rounder Andrew Flintoff (ankle), fast bowler Simon Jones (knee) and left-arm spinner Ashley Giles (hip).

Strauss, who led the side in their 5-0 one-day series defeat, beacame England's 77th Test captain and fourth in a year after Vaughan, Trescothick and Flintoff (who England hope will be fit to captain the team in the second Test), with the opening batsman skippering the side on his Middlesex home ground.

Pakistan had even more severe injury problems than their hosts.

Opening batsman Shoaib Malik and fast bowler Mohammad Asif (both elbow) were ruled out as was top-order batsman Younis Khan (knee).

Batsmen Salman Butt and Faisal Iqbal and fast bowler Umar Gul came in for the injured trio.

But wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal was fit after sustaining a finger injury against England A.

The tourists were already without spearhead quick Shoaib Akhtar (ankle), now not expected to play until the fourth Test at The Oval in August, while fellow quick Rana Naved-ul-Hasan had been ruled out of the whole tour with a groin problem.

Pakistan, who beat England 2-0 at home in a three-match Test series late last year, have not lost a Test series in England since 1982 and recently leapfrogged England into second place in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.


England: Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Geraint Jones (wkt), Liam Plunkett, Matthew Hoggard, Stephen Harmison, Monty Panesar

Pakistan: Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wkt), Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria

Umpires: Steve Bucknor (WIS), Simon Taufel (AUS), TV umpire: Peter Hartley (ENG)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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