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LAHORE: England finished day two of the Multan Test with a lead of 281 runs as Pakistan took five wickets in the second innings. It was yet another day of Abrar Ahmed entering the record books as he picked up his maiden ten-wicket haul in Test Cricket.

Earlier, in the first session Pakistan lost eight wickets while notching the total of 202 runs.

Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel resumed Pakistan’s innings on the second day with the overnight score of 107 for the loss of two wickets. Saud soon raced to his second Test fifty off 66 balls. Ollie Robinson who did not get to bowl in the evening session on the opening day finally had the ball in hand as he struck on his second ball of the day. He bagged the prized scalp of Babar by getting through his defence. The partnership between Babar and Saud lasted for 91 runs off 126 balls as Babar departed for 75 runs.

Mohammad Rizwan joined Saud on the crease as the scoring rate slowed down. Rizwan took 29 balls to get off the mark as he played a cracking drive through covers against Mark Wood. Saud survived an LBW scare as England challenged a Marais Erasmus decision but couldn’t get the decision overturned. Rizwan and Saud’s partnership-building effort soon came to a halt as Saud holed a Jack Leach ball to mid-on where he was taken by James Anderson. Leach also reached the milestone of 100 Test wickets with this scalp, as well.

Pakistan started losing wickets in a flurry as Rizwan went back to a perfectly pitched Leach ball that turned just enough to crash into his stumps. Leach just didn’t stop there; he came back again in his next over to remove Mohammad Nawaz who was caught at mid-off by Robinson. Joe Root was introduced to the bowling attack as Pakistan were losing track of their batting innings and he too chipped in to bag two scalps. Salman Ali Agha lobbed an easy catch to Ben Stokes at short mid-on while Mohammad Ali was dismissed for a four-ball duck.

Faheem Ashraf tried forging a partnership with the tail-enders Zahid Mehmood and Abrar Ahmed. With Zahid, he managed to score 10 off 20 balls but Zahid did not disturb the scorers in his eight-ball stay on the wicket. Abrar and Faheem Ashraf added 23 vital runs off 40 balls before being caught on the deep backward square leg boundary.

English openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett walked into bat in the second session of the day with a lead of 79 runs. Abrar did not take long enough to get his name back on the scorecard as he ran Crawley out with a direct hit as he ran in from mid-on. Will Jacks was promoted up the order, but his stay at the wicket was short. He immediately made an impact in his first over yet again as Jacks tried an ill-fated heave over midwicket only to have his furniture disturbed. England had a lead of 104 when Root joined Ben Duckett in the middle and put on a substantial third-wicket partnership of 54 runs from 80 balls.

As has been the story of Pakistan’s bowling so far, Abrar struck again to remove well-set Root (21) courtesy a brilliant grab by Abdullah Shafique at short leg. As other bowlers failed to find breakthroughs, Abrar made sure English wickets keep on falling at regular intervals but Duckett and Harry Brook stalled the fall of wickets with a partnership of 68 runs from 90 balls. It was again Abrar who deceived Duckett with a ball that stayed low and went onto hit his stumps. Duckett fell 21 runs short and departed for 79 runs off 98 balls, becoming Abrar’s 10th scalp in the game. Abrar, with that wicket, became only the second Pakistani and 18th overall debutant to pick a ten-wicket haul in his first Test. The last wicket to fall in the second day’s play was of Ollie Pope who lost his wicket via a run out. With less than an hour to go in the day, Stokes joined Brook in the middle and forged an unbeaten partnership of 47 runs from 68 balls.

As the teams walked back to the pavilion, England had a lead of 281 runs with Brook and Stokes in middle batting at 74 and 16, respectively.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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