by Rex Clementine
England could emulate Clive Lloyd’s West Indies of 1980s or Steve Waugh’s Aussies of 2000s as they are showing signs of competing well in all conditions and on their ranks they have some formidable match winners, ingredients that will make them an invincible side. In Rawalpindi, despite the pitch offering little assistance to bowlers England managed to get 20 wickets and draw first blood in the series. In Multan where the track has enough assistance for slow bowlers Jack Leach has been quite handful while England’s batters have fought it out magnificently to gain advantage of the game.
England had reached 202 for five at stumps on day two and are ahead by 281 runs having taken a first innings lead of 79 runs.
England were disciplined in their bowing. They needed a breakthrough to get back into the game and Ollie Robinson produced a beauty to dismiss Babar Azam. The Pakistan skipper doesn’t too often misjudge the length of the ball but on this occasion he attempted to drive a ball that wasn’t good enough to be driven and was bowled through the gate. The ball did nip back a little bit but it was the length that did Babar. Robinson hadn’t bowled on day one as the pitch was suiting spin and light was fading, but when called up, he was on the money dismissing the dangerman with his second ball. That ended a 91 run stand for the third wicket with Saud Shakeel.
Leach then removed the other overnight batsman Shakeel. The left-arm spinner actually owed it to James Anderson, who pulled off a stunning catch running from deep mid-on and sliding making people wonder whether he is actually 40.
The floodgates were opened from thereon with Pakistan losing their last eight wickets for 81 runs to give England a from grip in the game.
Leggie Abrar Ahmed continued to impress. He had taken seven wickets in the first innings and took three more in the second essay to become only the second Pakistani bowler to claim ten wickets on debut. England kept aside their aggressive approach for a while and played the waiting game and rightly so with a series at stake. Ben Duckett completed the second half-century in the Test while Harrie Brook continued to impress. He finished on 74 as bad light ended play early and he’s looking good to get another big one.