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England in Ascendency - 2nd Test Day Two - England v Pakistan

On a surface that not even a Yorkshireman could predict with confidence of its behaviour, both England and Pakistan, battled hard on the 2nd day of the Headingley Test. At close of play, the home team with a handsome lead of 128 runs and three wickets still in hand, represented a much happier dressing room than the tourists.

Light showers denied any play before lunch and finally when it did resume at 2.45pm, under overcast conditions, the frustrated crowd could look forward to two sessions of play. The Saturday crowd, full of wigs and fancy dresses, got their money’s worth in the end as England took command of the match. On the other hand Pakistan supporters, some proudly wearing the 1992 World Cup winning shirts, saw their side, give their best in the field, to stay in the game.

Pakistan bowlers despite their best effort failed to induce mistakes from the England batsmen. We all knew it would require a Herculean effort from their pace attack to keep the lead below 50 runs. To their credit they all bowled reasonably well and claimed 5 wickets in a shortened day’s play, with Mohammad Amir, continuing to impress with his commitment to the side, the best. Faheem Ashraf was making the ball to swing in its 82nd over.

Today one could not fault skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s field placing or the rotation of bowlers. Surprisingly Mohammad Abbas, the hero of the Lord’s Test, thus far, has not posed enough threat on this wicket. England batsmen to their credit, have successfully countered his swing by standing outside their crease. A ploy one felt should have been discussed by the Pakistan team management, prior to the last session, as the word got around through media,

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s spell of 17 overs was an impressive effort, without getting too excited with his variety. He continued to air the ball and did not go on the defensive. With some uneven bounce on offer he plugged in well and after dismissing Don Bess, the night-watchman, one short of his fifty, had Joss Buttler put down at mid-wicket by Hasan Ali, who apparently did not pick the ball.

Talk about the strange pattern at Headingley. All nine of their batsmen have got in but not got on to play a substantial innings. England’s first innings total of 302-7 does not contain a fifty and all of their batsmen have been out caught, either by the wicket-keeper or the first slip. The Headingly wicket continues to give both batsmen and bowlers, a chance to shine. A good Test match wicket.

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