Pakistan vs England, 2nd Test Day3: Exciting finish in prospect as Pakistan fight back
On a pitch that is still holding together, with a hint of spin but more threat from the pace attack, Pakistan asked to get 355 to win have managed to reach 198-4 by the close on the third day at Multan Cricket Stadium. It is a big ask for a side prone to suddenly losing the plot, even on flat batting tracks, it is to be said.
Pakistan vs England, 2nd Test, England tour of Pakistan
Pakistan 202/10 (62.5 ov) & *198/4 (64 ov)
England 281/10 (51.4 ov) & 275/10 (64.5 ov)
Day Break : Day 3 Pakistan need 157 runs to win
In claiming five wickets for 19 runs, Pakistan were able to wrap up England’s second innings and restrict it to 275. But the home dressing room would know fully well, it still left them with a mountain to climb in search of a series leveller. The two overnight England batsmen – Harry Brook and Ben Stokes – showed positive intent from the word go and soon their sixth wicket stand crossed the hundred mark. Both were caught near the boundary with Brook reaching his second Test hundred and dismissed for 108 off just 149 balls with 14 fours and a six and Stokes after contributing 41. Of the twenty English wickets, 18 have been claimed by the spinners, featuring Abrar Ahmed’s match figures of 11-234 on his debut and the other two being run out.
The Sunday crowd in Multan did not expect to be witnessing a fourth innings run chase on the third morning. Although 30 wickets have been claimed, largely by the slow men on either side, the Multan pitch is a credit to PCB curators, headed by Agha Zahid, former Pakistan Test opener. The two Pakistan openers – Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan – provided the foundation with 64-0 off 15 overs, going into the lunch break. Their stand was built on common sense than anything else, particularly their assertiveness against Jack Leach’s spin, who again took the new ball. Fifty mark was reached in quick time, without high risk and Shafique had two sixes to his name, the second one was a top edge over fine-leg in the last over of the session against Wood. It was by far the best session of the series for Pakistan, effectively advancing both with the ball and bat.
Straight After the interval, England’s 40-year old paceman Jimmy Anderson, produced a ball of the series so far that left Rizwan, shell shocked. It was simply an unplayable delivery from a highly skilful bowler, who seems happier to come on fresh with a semi-new ball in these part of the world. Babar Azam’s error of judgement lifted England further for Pakistan captain had not offered a stroke to a delivery that jagged back to hit the off stump. For the second time in as many days, the biggest scalp had been picked by Ollie Robinson and that without conceding a run to the world’s premier batsman.
Abdullah Shafique, after a watchful 45 was the third Pakistan batsman to have his off stump rattled when Mark Wood got through his defences with raw pace and inward movement. After losing three top order wickets in the space of 12.2 overs and runs completely dried up in this passage of period and later on to have the first boundary hit in 78 balls, it was not looking rosy at all for the batting side in their own backyard. The third day wicket, without much alarm, could have possibly seen yet another Pakistan batting collapse to the huge disappointment of the crowd. Thankfully that was not the case.
Imam-ul-Haq, unable to open in the second innings, due to tightness in his right hamstring for which he was rushed for an MRI scan, walked in at No.5, with England all over the opposition. Stokes’ extraordinarily inventive and unorthodox field-positioning and rotation of the bowlers continue to bemuse all, except the opposition who have found it pretty unsettling. Imam was clearly mindful to make amends for his second-ball duck on the first evening, in his home town. His skipping down the track, both in attack and defence, was reassuring to the Pakistan management. In company of fellow left-handed, Saud Shakeel, he took the score to 132-3 at tea, to steady the nerves of the whole nation.
Stokes led out England in the last session of the day, without three of his pacemen, who perhaps were given extra break to have their feet up. Imam was the first one to reach fifty off 80 balls with six fours and that milestone had been reached in a stand that has shown Pakistan’s resilience under considerable pressure, following the fall of three wickets after lunch. The 100-run stand arrived with Imam’s scorching cover drive off Wood, following a missed opportunity by England to review a leg-side tickle to the wicket-keeper. Pakistan now required another 172 runs to claim an unlikely win, for they are hoping to score the highest total of the match, in the fourth innings.
Shakeel, for the fourth innings in a row in the present series, has shown sound understanding of the demands of a middle order batsman in red-ball cricket. Without his steady contribution, Pakistan would have been facing great embarrassment.He has been most impressive and reached a fully-deserved fifty off 115 balls with a push to mid-on but off the very next ball saw Imam out for 60, to a sharp catch at slip. A crucial breakthrough for England and a huge blow to Pakistan’s prospect of a win. To lose a well set batsman, just before the close, has tilted the balance back in the fielding side’s favour.
England Fall of wickets 1st Innings: 1-38 (Zak Crawley - 8.5 ov), 2-117 (Ben Duckett - 18.6 ov), 3-145 (Joe Root - 24.1 ov), 4-164 (Ollie Pope - 28.4 ov), 5-167 (Harry Brook - 30.5 ov), 6-228 (Ben Stokes - 42.3 ov), 7-231 (Will Jacks - 44.5 ov), 8-245 (Ollie Robinson - 47.3 ov), 9-245 (Jack Leach - 47.4 ov), 10-281 (James Anderson - 51.4 ov)
Pakistan Fall of wickets 1st Innings: 1-5 (Imam ul Haq - 2.2 ov), 2-51 (Abdullah Shafique - 13.3 ov), 3-142 (Babar Azam - 34.2 ov), 4-158 (Saud Shakeel - 45.5 ov), 5-165 (Mohammad Rizwan - 49.5 ov), 6-169 (Mohammad Nawaz - 51.6 ov), 7-169 (Agha Salman - 52.1 ov), 8-169 (Mohammad Ali-II - 52.5 ov), 9-179 (Zahid Mahmood - 56.1 ov), 10-202 (Faheem Ashraf - 62.5 ov)
England Fall of wickets 2nd Innings: 1-11 (Zak Crawley - 3.5 ov), 2-25 (Will Jacks - 6.6 ov), 3-79 (Joe Root - 20.2 ov), 4-147 (Ben Duckett - 35.2 ov), 5-155 (Ollie Pope - 37.5 ov), 6-256 (Ben Stokes - 58.2 ov), 7-259 (Ollie Robinson - 59.1 ov), 8-270 (Mark Wood - 62.5 ov), 9-271 (Harry Brook - 64.2 ov), 10-275 (James Anderson - 64.5 ov)
Pakistan Fall of wickets 2nd Innings: 1-66 (Mohammad Rizwan - 15.5 ov), 2-67 (Babar Azam - 18.5 ov), 3-83 (Abdullah Shafique - 28.1 ov), 4-191 (Imam ul Haq - 60.3 ov)
Pakistan: Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (C), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zahid Mahmood, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali-II
England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (WK), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (C), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson
Date: Friday, December 9, 2022 05:00
Venue: Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan
Toss: England won the toss & elected to bat
Officials: Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) Marais Erasmus (South Africa) Joel Wilson (West Indies TV)
Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
© Cricket World 2022