A beast is spotted on the Bristol Moors by Abdul Habib 28th August 2006 Today is Monday 28th August 2006. Has it really only been 8 days since the Oval test? This last week felt like an eternity! The constant shifting of goalposts and the relentless bombardment of announcements has stretched this fiasco out in such a way that it seems like we’ve been following it for months. Today felt different. It was great to see the Pakistani team on the field playing cricket, the shadow of Hair still pervaded the occasion but there was also the very real sense that things were getting back to normal. Besides which as soon as Pakistan fans saw the trio of Rana, Asif and Akhtar warming up it blew away all non-cricketing thoughts. Finally the Pakistan fans were going to see some good old-fashioned Pakistani fast bowling. The debuts of Yardy and the milky bar kid Stuart Broad helped to catch the interest of the English fans too. England won the toss and opted to bat, hoping to post a score of 180+ and take the game away from Pakistan. They began cautiously against the searing pace of Akhtar and the deadly accuracy of Asif. But they slowly built up some momentum and were eventually sitting pretty at 39-0 off 4.5 overs; they seemed to be in a good position to accelerate when needed. Well that was the case until Pakistan took 3 wickets for 1 run in the space of 5 balls leaving them at 40-3. The biggest blow was the golden duck dealt to Pieterson from Mohammad Asif. This is now the 3rd time in 4 innings that Asif has removed Pieterson for a golden duck! Asif took two wickets in that over and finished with a maiden, which set a new record. Asif is now the first bowler to bowl a maiden in International 20/20 cricket and the first bowler to bowl a double wicket maiden too! Shortly after that Rana removed Collingwood to reduced England to 50-4, Dalrymple and Trescothick put on a 47 run partnership to steady the ship with Trescothick registering a 50 before falling to Razzaq. By the 20th over Pakistan had taken 7 wickets and restricted England to a meagre 144. The Pakistani innings were kicked of by Malik and Hafeez which looks likely to be the first stable and persisted with opening partnership for Pakistan since the days of Sohail and Anwar. It’s early days yet but Malik has the support of the team plus has the grit needed to succeed and Hafeez is in sublime touch so it will take a lot to oust these two. Their first outing wasn’t spectacular though and Malik fell (rather unluckily) to Broad in the 4th over. Stuart Broad’s international debut was very impressive, he bowled tightly and economically. He used the pressure he was building up from his end to snare both Malik and Younis in two consecutive balls earning him a hat-trick ball. Whilst there are many batsmen you would like to be bowling your hat-trick ball to, I’d wager Afridi isn’t high on the list of many bowlers around the world. He showed the typical Afridi disdain for playing according to the script, eschewing a boring defensive stroke for an attempted six straight down the ground. He mistimed the shot but nevertheless he managed to make two runs from it. If Stuart thought missing his hat-trick was the worst thing he had to endure today then he was in for a surprise. Afridi went into his berserker mode and for the first time during this tour ‘The Beast’ was released. He bludgeoned his way to 28 runs off 9 balls before a spectacular catch from Yardy denied him his attempt on the fastest fifty in International 20/20 cricket. Yousaf came and went but not before treating us all to a beautifully crafted six, Yousaf’s departure brought Inzamam to the crease. Meanwhile in the background Hafeez had been holding the innings together and batting away almost unnoticed. Hafeez was soon on 46 runs off 39 balls edging closer to a well crafted fifty when he forgot something. Actually he’d been forgetting it ever since Inzamam came to the crease, he forgot who he was batting with and went for one too many failed attempts at a quick single getting himself run out in the process. Razzaq was the next man in and he seemed to be in a rush. He finished the game off with a flurry of fours leaving us with the impression that he had to get back to his hotel room to catch an episode of Popeye! This was the first Pakistani victory of this tour and the emphatic way in which it was completed was a strong signal that this Pakistani team isn’t finished yet!