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Flashpoints: England v Pakistan, first Test, day 2

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Here’s everything you need to know about the second day’s play of the first Test between Pakistan and England at Lord’s on Friday May 25, 2018.

Half-centuries from four Pakistan batsmen – Azhar Ali (50), Asad Shafiq (59), Shadab Khan (52) and Babar Azam, who retired hurt on 68 – took Pakistan to 350/8, 166 runs ahead of England in the first innings.

England did not do themselves any favour by dropping several chances in the slips even as Ben Stokes and James Anderson picked up three wickets each to restore a degree of parity to the contest.

Ebbs & Flows: How day 1 unfolded

  • Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail carried forward the Pakistan innings and added 75 runs for the second wicket before Mark Wood found Sohail’s outside edge when the latter was on 39 to give England their first wicket of the day.
  • Azhar batted on, though, and registered his 28th Test half-century. His stay was cut short by Anderson, who trapped him leg before wicket just before lunch as honours were shared in the first session with Pakistan 136/3.
  • Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam did not let England have much of a sighter after the break, as they got together and added 50 runs in just 85 balls.
  • England thought they had their man in the second session, when in the 61st over, Shafiq, trying to leave a delivery, got an elbow on it and the ball carried through to the keeper, Jonny Bairstow. England appealed and went for the review when the umpire did not give it out, but were soon disappointed to see the ball had taken the batsman’s elbow and nothing but.
  • Shafiq brought up his half-century shortly after that, scored off 81 balls with 6 fours and a six. Shafiq and Azam took Pakistan past England’s 184 and the 200-run mark as well.
  • England staged a mini comeback after the drinks break in the afternoon session as Stokes, continuously bowling short-pitched stuff, first created a chance and then got Shafiq caught in the slips. An outside edge flew past a diving Jos Buttler at gully, who could not latch on to it. But on the very next ball, another edge off another short ball found Dawid Malan’s safe hands at second slip.
  • Shafiq’s departure brought the Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed at the crease, but England made sure that the opposition captain did not trouble the scorers much as they got him caught hooking to a short ball right at the stroke of tea to leave Pakistan at 227/5.
  • Pakistan were dealt a blow shortly after tea when Babar was hit on the left hand while trying to duck against a Stokes delivery and had to retire hurt for 68. That brought Ashraf out in the middle and he, together with Khan, played confidently against Anderson, Broad and Stokes, who had the second new ball after the 80th over, and added 72 runs in 15.2 overs.
  • Anderson and Stokes brought England back late in the day, with Anderson rearranging Ashraf’s stumps and Stokes getting Khan caught down the leg side, but not before Khan had reached his second Test half-century. Anderson struck again, getting Hasan Ali caught in the slips, but Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas kept the English bowlers at bay in the final few overs and took Pakistan to 350/8 at stumps.
  • England did not help themselves by dropping several catches and failing to latch on to difficult chances, the most prominent of which came in the third session when Alastair Cook dropped Khan at first slip after having failed to latch on to a similar but difficult chance at same position in the previous over.

Moment of the day

Azhar Ali gets 28th Test half-century. Azhar batted with Sohail to add 75 runs for the second wicket and then a further 32 with Shafiq for the fourth to lay a solid foundation for the Pakistan middle-order to capitalise on.

Man of the hour

Babar Azam top-scores for Pakistan with 68 before retiring hurt after being hit by a Stokes delivery. This was Babar’s sixth Test half-century as he looks to establish himself as a Test batsman after his successful limited-overs exploits.

Day to forget

Dominic Bess, playing his first Test match, might have come to terms with the rigours of the longest format of the game on day two when he went wicketless and conceded close to 3.5 runs per over – the most expensive of all England bowlers.

Tomorrow’s prospects

Pakistan put their foot down on day two and made sure they were in commanding position at stumps, despite having lost five wickets and Babar to injury. The partnership between Faheem and Shadab was worth 72 runs in just under 16 overs and they scored at nearly five to the over in the third session, thereby quelling England’s hopes of bowling Pakistan out.

England will look to wrap this innings as soon as possible on the third morning and then try and make amends to the first-innings batting display in their second essay. Pakistan, on the other hand, will look to stretch this lead as much as possible.

Final thoughts

After a good first day, Pakistan have made the second day even better. Half-centuries from Azhar Ali, Shafiq, Babar and Shadab have made sure that Pakistan have a sizeable lead. They will be delighted with this batting effort and will hope the bowlers can repeat the performance of the first innings.

For England, Stokes was the best bowler on the day, picking up two wickets before tea and one after, all the while troubling Pakistan with short-pitched stuff. Anderson got three wickets as well but was taken for boundaries off over-pitched balls, while Wood returned with one wicket. England may have to bat out of their skins to win this Test match from this position.


Pakistan: 8/10

Four Pakistani batsmen got half-centuries on day two, including one lower-order batsmen, and at one point in the game, the No.7 and No.8 were going at nearly five runs to the over against Anderson and Broad, who had the second new ball. That is how good Pakistan’s day was.

England: 4/10

Although England managed seven wickets on the day, they conceded 300 runs and dropped several chances in the slips. Barring Stokes, who picked up three wickets with intense short-pitched bowling, the other England bowlers blew hot and cold, and consequently, they are staring at a big first-innings deficit.

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