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Graham Thorpe props up England's innings

By Ted Corbett

FAISALABAD, DEC. 1. Graham Thorpe, showing the application which is new to his game since he took a winter's holiday a year ago, fought almost all day to keep England from disaster in the second Test.

He even gave it a scent of victory but to achieve that most unlikely result it will have to win the battle with the Pakistan spinners all over again in the fourth innings on a pitch that is bound to be a horror by the fifth day.

England's day was spoiled when three wickets fell in five balls towards the end but it is only 34 behind with two wickets standing which means that the chances of a result in the next two days are considerable.

For most of a day of 80 overs, 190 runs and five wickets, all but the most devout cricket follower must have been bored out of his mind; and the game rarely raised the three- quarters full Iqbal Stadium to full volume.

Thorpe took on the three main spinners with the aid of two more men of Surrey whose knowledge of Saqlain Mushtaq may not be perfect but is still greater than any of their team mates.

Ian Salisbury, who had been sent in 20 minutes before the close of the second day as nightwatchman, did his duty well above and beyond expectations and it was not until mid-afternoon, when England's overnight 110 for three had been taken to 203, that he at last gave a catch to the agile Yousuf Youhana at silly point. He and Thorpe had added 97, but just as much to the point, was the manner of Salisbury's defiance.

He might have been caught by the wicket-keeper Moin Khan and there were times when the short-pitched attack from Wasim Akram and the mixture of devious spin from Saqlain, his bowling partner at the Oval, were too much for him. But Salisbury thoroughly enjoyed his 209 minutes at the crease. His response to being beaten was a broad grin; a sure way to get under the skin of your opponents.

Thorpe, who had batted for 777 minutes in this series when he was leg before to Wasim Akram with the belated new ball, was on top of Saqlain, Danish Kaneria and Ashad Khan from the start.

When he is feeling good he lopes his runs and on Friday was tapping the ball into the empty spaces and running - not very often, of course, since the focus of his five hour innings was defensive - robotically as he does in one-day Internationals.

Since he returned to the side for the third Test against West Indies his scores have been 0, 46, 40,10, 118 and 5.

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