Birmingham: Pakistan bowled England out for 251 on day two of the second Test on Saturday, restricting the host to a first-innings lead of 179 after Pakistan was all out for 72 on Friday.
Saeed Ajmal took 5-82, including a spell of 4-2 as England’s last seven wickets fell for 46 runs, but Umar Gul tore a hamstring and will not bowl again in the match.
The record books will show Kevin Pietersen made England’s top score with 80 from 147 balls and 12 fours, but this was arguably the luckiest innings of his career.
Having twice been put down on Friday and seen another shot fly through the slips, Pietersen was dropped for a third time in the morning session and caught off a dead ball, before he was finally caught and bowled by Ajmal.
Jonathan Trott was England’s next highest scorer with 55, from 125 balls with seven fours.
England began the day on 112-2, after the start was delayed by 40 minutes due to rain.
Pietersen was spilled again in the third over of the day, when an inside edge off the bowling of Mohammad Aamer was dropped by Amin, who seemed preoccupied with appealing for an lbw decision.
In the next over, the 38th, Pietersen survived a review after Pakistan disputed a decision not to give him out lbw to Mohammad Asif, before the next delivery produced an even more bizarre incident.
As Asif was about to release the ball, Pietersen moved away from the crease, apparently because he was distracted by movement behind the bowler’s arm.
Yet instead of shouldering arms, Pietersen hit the ball, lofting a catch to Pakistan captain Salman Butt at mid-off and he was reprieved only because umpire Marais Erasmus called a dead ball, to Pakistan’s visible annoyance.
After just 38 balls in the morning session the rain returned and an early lunch was called. Pietersen edged the first ball after the break through the vacant fourth slip area for four and he finally produced a stylish clip through square leg to bring up his 50, from 97 balls, in the 43rd over.
Trott reached his 50, from 105 balls with a drive through long on for four, six overs later.
Pakistan’s task became harder still when Gul pulled up with a torn hamstring in the 53rd over and was unable to continue bowling.
The tourists’ luck finally turned when Amin, having replaced Gul, broke a partnership of 133 for the third wicket when he had Trott caught at gully by substitute fielder Yasir Hameed.
Pietersen, however, was still living a charmed life, inside-edging Ajmal into wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider’s pads and completely missing a delivery from the same bowler that turned sharply and fractionally missed his off stump.
A heavy shower sent the players scurrying from the field midway through the session and an early tea was then called.