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Sports

England nose ahead in Multan despite Abrar brilliance

Published December 10, 2022
<p>England’s captain Ben Stokes (R) and teammate Harry Brook walk back to the pavilion at the end of the second day of the second cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan on December 10, 2022. PHOTO: AFP</p>

England’s captain Ben Stokes (R) and teammate Harry Brook walk back to the pavilion at the end of the second day of the second cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan on December 10, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

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MULTAN: Pakistan spinner Abrar Ahmed continued his fairytale debut but England stretched their overall lead to 281 to put themselves in a commanding position in the second Test in Multan on Saturday.

Having claimed handy first innings lead of 79 in the low-scoring contest, England cemented their position by finishing day two on 202-5 riding fifties by Ben Duckett and Harry Brook.

Abrar, who claimed seven wickets in the first innings, returned 3-81 in the second to prevent England from running away with the game.

Brook was batting on 74 when bad light stopped play with England captain Ben Stokes on 16 at the other end.

“We batted so well there, it’s great to watch,” England spinner Jack Leach told Sky Sports as he heaped praises on Brook and Duckett for how they dealt with spin.

“I know as a spinner how difficult it is when someone’s sweeping, and reverse-sweeping. Setting a field is really difficult.

“They played really well, and it’s put us in a good position.

“I think it is a really good day for us.”

Earlier, England claimed Pakistan’s remaining eight wickets for 95 runs in an extended morning session after the hosts had resumed on 107-2.

Ollie Robinson made an immediate impact with the ball in the spin-dominated contest to trigger a batting collapse.

England spinner Leach completes 100 Test wickets

Robinson generated reverse swing to bowl Pakistan captain Babar Azam (75) through the gate.

Leach then took over.

The left-arm spinner lured Saud Shakeel (63) into going after him and James Anderson took a smart catch running backward to give Leach his 100th Test wicket.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve got 100 wickets in Test matches just because of how difficult I’ve found it at times,” Leach said.

“I definitely feel I’m getting better and better as I play more, so that’s pleasing,” added Leach who finished with figures of 4-98.

Joe Root’s part-time off spin also came in handy as he claimed two wickets in an over to hasten Pakistan’s collapse for 202.

Abrar had lit up his debut Test with his bag of tricks on Friday and the bespectacled 24-year-old was in the thick of things again after England began their second innings.

While waiting to be introduced into the attack, Pakistan’s man with the golden arm ran out Zak Crawley for three with an underarm flick from mid-on.

When pressed into service, Abrar struck in his first over.

A promoted Will Jacks (four) tried to play a slog-sweep against the spinner and ended up having his timbers rearranged.

Root (21) fell to Abrar for the second time but Duckett (79) smashed his second fifty of the match as England’s lead swelled.

Duckett got a life when Babar Azam dropped a sitter at midwicket off Abrar.

The spinner returned to knock back the opener’s off-stump for his 10th wicket in his debut test.

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