by Rex Clementine
Pakistan put up a much better display in the second Test in Multan on day three, but England have things under control as they reduced the hosts to 198 for four chasing a target of 355 on Sunday. Pakistan require a further 157 runs to square the three game series. Ben Stokes’ side had won the first Test in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan did well in the morning to take the remaining five England wickets for 73 runs.
Mohammad Rizwan opened up for Pakistan as Imam-UL-Haq was nursing a hamstring niggle. The wicketkeeper added some intensity helping Pakistan to reach 66 for no loss at lunch. But it all changed quickly after lunch thanks to some inspirational bowing by James Anderson and Ollie Robinson.
Anderson set up Rizwan superbly. The batsman was defending at a delivery that was coming into him but straightened just a fraction to beat the outside edge and went onto knock top of off stump. Rizwan was perplexed unable to believe what had just happened. He was running away with things as he is known to do and it required a special delivery from a special player to dismiss him.
Soon Robinson joined the party. He had knocked off Babar Azam with peach of a delivery in the first innings and sent down another unplayable ball to claim the opposition’s biggest wicket. Babar was shouldering arms and not many could have found fault with him for that. But the ball nipped back, knocked his stumps and England knew it was a vital moment in the game.
Mark Wood then bowled Abdullah Shafique, who had looked solid during his knock of 45. But against this England team it only takes one mistake.
Imam walked in at number five and together with Saud Shakeel provided some resilience adding 108 runs for the fourth wicket with both batters posting half-centuries.
The partnership was broken when Jack Leach invited Imam for a drive and the batsman went after it hard but only managed to edge it to Joe Root at first slip. Pakistan were kicking themselves as they were in a nice groove and the wicket fell with stumps around the corner