The B-Factor saves England's blushes
On a glorious sunny day, the full house at Lord’s was treated to a fantastic day’s Test cricket. The ebb and flow on display keeping everyone on the edge of their seats.
England lead Pakistan by 56 runs with 4 wickets remaining
In the post-lunch session, England’s top order had been blown away by Pakistan bowlers, thus creating a possibility of a three-day finish. It all looked desperate, ironically in the best batting conditions of the match, before a Somerset pair dug in to defy Pakistan surge, to wrap up the contest. An undefeated 7th wicket stand of 125 between, Jos Buttler (66), returning to Test cricket and the debutant Dominic Bess (55), has given the opposition plenty to think overnight. With no scars of the hammering taken in the winter by England, the pair showed an admirable skill level under pressure and resume their fight on the 4th day.
Mohammad Amir, having had Dawid Malan snapped up behind via a low diving catch to his left by Sarfraz Ahmed, two balls later produced ‘the ball of the match’ in accounting for Jonny Bairstow. Bowling over the wicket to a right-hander, there was just enough reverse swing for the ball to get through bat and pad, triggering a great roar from Pakistan supporters. Despite the 18- hour-long fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan, there was, as one expected, a fair share of green shirts among the weekend crowd. Soon it turned to 110-6 as England hopes of survival were fast fading.
Amongst the crowd one spotted, Dr. Haroon Mohammad, a diehard cricket fan and an ever present face in the Test matches in London, be it at Lord’s or The Oval, since 1984. His medical advice has been of tremendous help to Pakistan players over the years, ever since he was introduced to the dressing room by Haseeb Ahsan, manager of the triumphant 1987 team, led by the great Imran Khan. An MCC member since 2002, besides his Surrey CC membership he acquired in 1985, the diminutive Dr. Haroon, continues to welcome everyone with a smile, just like he did in his GP surgery in South London. Today he enjoyed the company of Nasim-ul-Ghani, former all-rounder and the first Pakistani to score a Test hundred at Lord’s, achieved back in 1962 against Fred Trueman.
© Cricket World 2018