Farhat to miss 3rd Test as Pakistan rejig line-up

Published: Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Leeds:Pakistan batsman Imran Farhat is set to miss the third Test after sustaining a finger injury during England's 120-run win in the second match of the series at Old Trafford.

Opening batsman Farhat broke his right ring finger taking a catch to dismiss Kevin Pietersen and Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer played down his chances of appearing in the third Test, which starts at Headingley here Friday.

"Imran Farhat is struggling to field and he is unlikely to come into contention for selection," Woolmer told reporters on Wednesday.

At Old Trafford, wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal was promoted to open but managed just four in each innings as England went 1-0 up in the four-Test series with a crushing victory inside three days.

Pakistan could now recall Salman Butt, dropped at Old Trafford while fellow opener Taufeeq Umar, a late addition to the squad, is also in contention.

"We will consider the opening partnership. We've just got to play better than we did last time," Woolmer added.

And the former England all-rounder admitted he was also looking at changing the composition of Pakistan's attack.

In Manchester the tourists went in with two leg-spinners in Shahid Afridi and Danish Kaneria.

But for a match at Headingley, where in the last 10 years only one frontline England spinner has taken a Test wicket (left-armer Ashley Giles dismissing India's Rahul Dravid in 2002), Woolmer said Pakistan were contemplating playing four quicks and just one spinner.

"Kamran's done it before (open the innings) and it allowed us to play both Afridi and Kaneria on that pitch. If we batted anything like they would have been very useful.

"We would probably go in here with four seamers I should think or close to that.

"It looks a much better surface than I've ever seen at Leeds," added Woolmer.

"It's quite dry now. I suspect there won't be the sort of bounce we saw at Old Trafford but we'll have to deal with any surface we get."

But asked if Pakistan were likely to drop Kaneria, who returned disappointing figures of one for 106 at Old Trafford, Woolmer said: "I wouldn't say that was a possibility, no.

"I suppose in modern cricket you are looking for seven batsmen and four top-line bowlers. Whether we can do that at the moment, it's not easy.

"But we might have to and tell the players to take responsibility and get on with it.

"We've got to be upbeat. If we want to win this series we've got to win the next two games. We have to come out positive, forget Old Trafford and put it right behind us."

Pakistan, as they were in both the drawn first Test at Lord's and in Manchester, will be without their three leading quicks (Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan) at Headingley because of injury.

Akhtar, who has been sidelined by an ankle problem is due to take part in a club match this weekend and Woolmer said: "He should be playing in the Birmingham League for Berkswell. He's just got to bowl eight overs at pretty much full speed, so good luck to the blokes playing against him."

Asif has returned to Pakistan for treatment on his elbow injury and Woolmer added: "He's started bowling again, just gently off a few paces, and he's pain free so he could come into contention for the fourth and last Test match (at The Oval starting August 17)."

Meanwhile Woolmer said recent history showed Pakistan could come back from 1-0 down in a Test series.

"We've had many situations like this - India at Bangalore (where Pakistan won by 168 runs in March last year to square the series at 1-1) and in Jamaica against the West Indies (a 136-run victory seeing Pakistan draw level at 1-1 in June 2005).

"But at the moment we have a lot of hard work to do.

"We had a very good team meeting two days after the Test match and the boys are very determined to bring it back.

"You have to accept at this level that you can lose. The good thing, funnily enough, was that we lost in three days because it gave us time in which to recover. There's a good energy in the team now, a good vibe and hopefully they'll fight back."

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