CARDIFF, September 6- Pakistan got back to playing cricket on their scandal-hit tour of Britain as they were held to 126 for four in the first Twenty20 international against world champions England here on Sunday.Off-spinner Graeme Swann led England’s attack with two wickets for 14 runs in his maximum permitted four overs.
And with Michael Yardy returning figures of one for 21 it meant England’s eight overs of spin yielded three wickets for just 35 runs.
This was Pakistan’s first match since Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif were suspended by the International Cricket Council after newspaper allegations the trio were involved in a betting scam that saw no-balls deliberately bowled in last week’s fourth Test at Lord’s.
Their total would have been a lot worse had Umar Akmal, who top-scored with 35 not out, been caught on five.
Pakistan managed a mere eight boundaries after being sent in by England captain Paul Collingwood in overcast conditions and with the outfield slowed by rain which delayed the scheduled start.
But they didn’t help their cause with a batting order that saw big-hitting captain Shahid Afridi (unbeaten on 16) not come in until the 15th over while dangerous all-rounder Abdul Razzaq did not bat at all.
Tim Bresnan struck with his second ball when Kamran Akmal skied a simple catch to Yardy at mid-on.
However, Swann took his knack of taking wickets early in a Test spell into Twenty cricket with a burst of two for five in seven balls that reduced Pakistan to 56 for three inside nine overs.
He had Yousuf (26) well caught by Eoin Morgan, running in from midwicket and then beat Shazaib (21) in the flight with wicketkeeper Steven Davies completing a legside stumping.
Bresnan though reprieved Umar Akmal when he dropped a head-high catch at short midwicket off Collingwood.
This was England’s first Twenty20 fixture since they beat Australia in the World Twenty20 final in Barbados in May.
They dropped out of form batsman Kevin Pietersen and brought in Ravi Bopara with Davies replacing the injured Michael Lumb.
The second of this two-match series is also in Cardiff, on Tuesday.