Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel’s knocks in-vain as England win the three-match Test series by 2-0
Despite Pakistan’s relative success in the morning session, the major milestone had belonged to Brook, who changed his overnight 74 to his second hundred in four innings on this trip while 157 runs for Pakistan to draw level at 1-1 with their second-highest successful Test run chase of 355.
Despite Pakistan’s relative success in the morning session, the major milestone had belonged to Harry Brook, who changed his overnight 74 to his second hundred in four innings on this trip.
When he holed out to deep square leg for 108, Brook had piled up 14 fours and a six in his 149-ball stay, loaded with powerful strokeplay and great judgement of length, especially against the spin of Abrar, who was once again Pakistan’s most threatening bowler, as he finished with 4 for 120, and an 11-wicket match haul on debut.
Abrar came in for some heavy blows in the first hour, however, with Brook holding onto a series of drags to the leg-side, and Stokes launching the same bowler over the straight boundary for six, to draw him level with his coach Brendon McCullum on 107 Test sixes, the most by any player.
Before he could change over that start much else significant, however, Stokes got under a hurl to a leg, where Ali on the midwicket boundary ran round for a well-judged catch.
Robinson then, at that point, missed a slog to leg as Abrar slid a googly through his gate for his 11th wicket, before Wood poked a fast leg break from Zahid Mahmood to slip and Anderson missed a reverse sweep to wrap up the innings. At that stage, and again after lunch, England was perfectly content with their match situation.
It had been another grasping day of ebb-and-flow Test cricket, with Pakistan’s evening alliance mirroring their free-flowing opening stand of 64 in 15 overs before lunch, in which Mohammad Rizwan was promoted to open after Imam was sent for a scan on a harmed hamstring and Abdullah Shafique saw off the new ball at a lively rhythm of 4.27 an over.
Anderson’s first four deliveries of the session were haggled secured enough, but the fifth was simply unplayable – a full-length seaming delivery that angled in at Rizwan then jagged wickedly around his outside edge to hit the top of off.
Rizwan looked stunned as he turned to survey the destruction, but he had to go for 30 from 43 balls, and England had their opening at 66 for 1.
Leach had been getting ready to share the midday praises, but Stokes immediately signalled for Ollie Robinson to make it an all-seam attack. In his second over of the session, he also created a miracle ball.
With a hint of uneven bounce forcing Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, to play watchfully against the straight ball, Robinson instead hit the seam a full foot outside off, and Babar, seemingly grateful to be able to leave one, could only look on dismayed at the ball dashed back to hit the top of off too.
Shafique all but surrendered to a near-identical delivery in Robinson’s next over, but he wouldn’t get by anymore.
Stokes rang the changes once more, recalling his fastest bowler, Mark Wood, in the final over before drinks, and with his very first ball, he burst another off-stump rattler through Shafique’s defences, again from wide of the crease, but keeping low as it slipped on with extra oomph.
For the most awesome aspect of 32 overs, Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel foiled an England attack that had been floated by a trio of superb deliveries in the first hour after lunch, to bring a stiff Pakistan to chase down to a possibly grasping fourth-day climax, and keep England’s expectation of a famous series win on ice for another day … and potentially another Test.
Six more wickets for England to take a 2-0 series lead with Karachi still to come, or 157 runs for Pakistan to draw level at 1-1 with their second-highest successful Test run chase of 355.