Shan Masood’s fine century carried Pakistan to a score of 326 on a captivating day two at Old Trafford that eventually belonged to the tourists.
Pakistan attack back up the batting
Pakistan’s attack ripped through England’s top order in the evening session as Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes all fell cheaply. Mohammed Abbas and Shaheen Afridi backed up the good work of the tourists’ first innings with an unplayable new ball spell.
It was a rip roaring start with the ball for Pakistan as England were reduced to 12-3 inside six overs. Afridi trapped Burns LBW on the crease with an inswinger that straightened, before Abbas got one to nip back and pin Sibley in front for a duck. Abbas then followed that up with possibly the best ball he’ll ever bowl, getting one to seam past Stokes’s outside edge and ping the top of off stump- another duck for England. Meanwhile at the other end, Joe Root had survived two LBW shouts from Afridi- successfully overturning the first after it was given- in a nervy start from the captain. It was an exemplary, surgical examination of England’s top order and only Ollie Pope’s punchy innings brought any sort of momentum to England.
Pope joined Root at the crease with England in disarray and began to repair the innings alongside his captain. One straight drive off Afridi was a particular highlight of an innings that increased in tempo as he neared 50. As Pope played on seemingly a different pitch to the others, Root had just started to look fluent against the leg spin of Yasir Shah, with a couple of nice sweeps despite the leg spinner finding a lot of turn off the day two surface. He and Pope had just brought up a 50 partnership when Root tried to cut Yasir off the back foot, only for a fine edge to settle in the gloves of Mohammed Rizwan.
England control morning session as three wickets fall
England’s abysmal showing with the bat was in stark contrast to Pakistan and Masood in particular. His highest test score of 156 was a two-tone affair, gritting it out through a tough morning session before opening up an array of shots that explains his List A average of 50.
After a stop start first day due to rain and bad light, England came out firing in the morning session with James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowling dangerously. Babar Azam, who had coasted to a half century on day one, was nipped out by Anderson as he chased a slightly wide delivery, failing to add to his overnight score of 69.
Anderson had switched from his own end to the Brian Statham end and Broad, now bowling from the James Anderson end, benefited from the pressure the pair had built in the opening stages of the day. Just one run had been scored off the previous 28 balls before Broad found a thick edge off Asad Shafiq, who had only made seven before falling.
It was a fine demonstration of low economy bowling as the first hour saw 13 overs go for just 20 runs, with 46 runs in total that session. The rest of the day, however, would belong to Masood despite the wicket of Mohammed Rizwan falling not long before lunch. His vigil of nine off 41 was ended as Chris Woakes found a thin edge through to Jos Buttler.
Masood strikes test high score as England throw hard work away
Pakistan might have felt that their good work on day one had been undone, but Masood was joined by Shadab Khan and the pair made easy work of England’s bowling after lunch. England’s post lunch performance was the polar opposite of the morning session during a wasteful afternoon.
The run rate in the afternoon was a tick over four- a spell of spin from Root and Dom Bess opening up a floodgate of runs as England waited for the new ball. It was a decisive period of the game which Anderson and Broad- after probing spell a couple of hours before- wasted. Masood clipped and cut his way to his third consecutive test ton, untroubled by the experienced pair’s misfiring bowling. At the other end Shadab played with freedom, pinching singles and swatting fours as England’s excellent morning was almost overwritten.
Shadab eventually was out, slogging Bess to Root in the outfield but his brisk 45 had added impetus to Pakistan’s innings. It had also allowed Masood at the other end some freedom to score much quicker than his first fifty runs had come, in a partnership that had carried Pakistan from 176 to 281. After Shadab fell the opener shepherded the tail nicely to 326, including two thumping sixes off Bess, before falling LBW to Broad. Jofra Archer, who had bowled consistently without reward for much of the day, accounted for Yasir and Abbas cheaply, before Broad wrapped things up taking the glove of Naseem Shah through to Buttler.
England will resume with Pope and Buttler, who had not enjoyed a great day with the gloves; dropping Masood off Bess when he really should have taken it, after two missed opportunities to the same batsman yesterday. But he looked much more assured with the bat than with gloves, and had added 15 alongside Pope who ended the day on 46. The pair will have serious work to do to get England back in the game when they start again tomorrow on a pitch offering plenty for the Pakistan attack.