Pakistan openers hit again in first Check in reply to England’s mammoth 657

Friday on the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium stirred the minds of all however these silly sufficient to be bowlers in these components. After lunchtime prayers, the bottom stuffed up and, confronted with a mountain of runs plundered by England, Pakistan supplied a response that thrilled the locals and underlined the significance of the return of worldwide cricket.

The problem of taking 20 wickets on this pitch was additionally crystal clear by the tip. Pakistan reached 181 for no loss from 51 overs after England’s 657 all out from 101, openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique going unbeaten on 90 and 89 respectively. It was not wild luck that noticed their guests turn into the primary Check facet to go in additional than six overs in a primary innings, however nonetheless a relative cruise.

Ben Stokes suspected he might need to get artistic within the area forward of his first away Check as captain and when Harry Brook sprinkled some extra stardust within the morning, turning his in a single day century into 153 from 116 balls, the affirmation got here just like the crash of a sugar rush. Unorthodox pitches, a short-ball pitch and makes an attempt to take advantage of reverse swing – Stokes tried laborious however possibilities have been few and much between and the three chiseled out weren’t transformed.

The primary two got here by means of Ollie Pope, not an inexperienced part-time wicketkeeper but additionally not the specialist reserve wanted on this a part of the world. Ben Foakes succumbing to a virus meant they misplaced one among their trump playing cards within the subcontinent and when Jack Leach tickled Iman’s outdoors edge on 11, the ball not sticking in Pope’s gloves highlighted the absence.

Coming within the ninth over of the reply, Pope needed to wait till the thirty fourth over on the subsequent alternative and his effort couldn’t be faulted. Jimmy Anderson, who had despatched down 37,505 balls in Check cricket earlier than his first on Pakistani soil, was in his second spell and managed to stump Shafique for 54 with a brief ball that was pushed down leg.

Pope flew low to his left and appeared to have made a magnificence, so umpire Joel Wilson gave a comfortable sign as he requested the third umpire to verify. The ball appeared to the touch the grass earlier than it was gloved on one of many replays and Shafique was free to proceed as Anderson shunted away within the England huddle.

Within the subsequent over, Leach was denied but once more, a flick by Shafique this time despatched into mid off by substitute Keaton Jennings at quick leg. The type that both sticks or would not, it was once more a case of exasperated sighs for England’s fielders, Imam and Shafique bought their heads down and dominated till the lights finally gave manner.

Whereas Liam Livingstone did not bowl after hitting his knee within the area, there was a primary take a look at Will Jacks. An off-spinner with wholesome components, be it the dip from the allotted spins or the peak from which he delivers, the 24-year-old is as uncooked as a first-class common of 47 suggests. His size was inconsistent and in opposition to two batsmen introduced up on such surfaces he was straightforward to barter with good footwork.

Harry Brook celebrates reaching 150, before eventually being dismissed for 153 from just 116 balls.
Harry Brook celebrates reaching 150, earlier than finally being dismissed for 153 from simply 116 balls. Picture: Reuters

However that is the place most bowlers have been to this point – England’s final six wickets fell to bold pictures – and up within the press field Ramiz Raja was unimpressed. The Pakistan Cricket Board’s debonair chair held court docket over lunch and whereas impressed by England’s mindset and execution with the bat, this floor was to not his liking. After a sleepy draw right here in opposition to Australia earlier this 12 months, little has modified.

Regardless of the shortage of a bat-to-ball contest, the gang’s unbridled ardour stored issues attention-grabbing and there was a lot pleasure because the Barmy Military trumpeter supplied a rendition of ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’. That mentioned, nothing might match the noise as Imam and Shafique both pierced the infield or went excessive en path to what was the fifth consecutive Check century at this floor.

For the 200 or so touring supporters, it was the motion throughout the prolonged morning session – the day recalibrated for prayers – that proved most memorable. England turned their 506 for 4 in a single day into their highest ever complete in Asia, the place the 652 for seven declared that Graeme Fowler and Mike Gatting helped muster in Chennai 37 years in the past, surpassed by 5 runs – albeit in 74 fewer overs .

England hit the accelerator instantly first, Stokes dancing down the pitch to Naseem Shah and driving the second ball of the day for a complicated six. However 4 balls later, Pakistan’s most skilled bowler in Check caps (14) broke out in celebration, Stokes backpedaling to pressure a single off his stumps solely to be bowled.

Brook quickly sparkled although. The Yorkshireman was not content material to match Ian Botham’s England file of 24 runs in an over the day earlier than, hitting six, 4, 4, 4, six and at last a 3 off the beleaguered Zahid Mahmood – 27 runs in complete – to take the title outright. His 150 got here from simply 115 balls, England’s quickest in Check cricket, earlier than he finally struck out.

Brook is a right-hander who pitches orthodoxly and boasts all of the 360-degree tips of the trendy participant. The primary of these sixes in his manhandling of Zahid was a change hit that sailed over cowl, the second lifted straight over the leg-spinner’s head.

It was golden batting however, in addition to highly effective contributions from Jacks, 30, and Ollie Robinson, 37, additionally confirmed the problem forward.

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