Amir on song despite Cook's warnings
The sub-plot of the England cricket summer, as Pakistan turn the screw on Somerset on the second day of their first practice match of the tour on Monday, is how Mohammad Amir will fare and be received upon his return to the country where he served a jail term in 2010.
The young left-arm pacer's exciting career came to a shuddering halt at Lord's in 2010 when he was caught bowling no-balls to order on the instructions of captain Salman Butt as part of a a tabloid newspaper sting operation.
Amir has served a five-year ban from cricket and served three months in an English young offenders institute.
England Test skipper Alastair Cook weighed in on the issue yesterday, saying Amir will face a tough reception from fans should he return to Test cricket at Lord's later this month.
"I'm sure there will be a reaction and that is right," said Cook at a sponsor's event.
"That is part and parcel, that when you do something like that there are more consequences than just the punishment -- that is something for him to cope with, whatever comes his way."
Cook also said that if it was up to him, he would have preferred a life ban for the offender.
But at Taunton, after Pakistan had made 359 for eight declared on the second morning of three, Amir took the new ball and there was nothing but polite applause when his name was announced on the public address system.
He made an immediate impact on the game with two wickets in quick succession, including that of former England opener Marcus Trescothick to mark his maiden senior wicket on English soil for six years.
Trescothick blocked his first ball and took two fours off Amir's opening over, a push through cover-point and another down to third man. But Amir struck with his 14th ball as left-hander Trescothick, on eight, could only edge a superb outswinger that moved late and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed held an excellent diving catch.
Amir struck again when a full-length inswinger bowled first-class debutant Adam Hose (10).
He added the wicket of Peter Trego, bowling the right-hander after Lunch before Pakistan bowled out the home side for a paltry 128. Amir finished with three for 36 in 11 overs, while Sohail Khan also picked up three and Rahat Ali and Yasir Shay picked up two each.