| Second Test, Ageas Bowl, Southampton (day two of five)
| Pakistan 46763 – 9: Abid 126, Rizwan , Anderson 3 – 70, Broad 3 – 90
| England: Yet to bat
England were frustrated by gritty Pakistan batting and more bad weather on day two of the second Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Rain and bad light meant only 50. 2 overs were possible as the tourists reached 46763 – 9.
(Babar Azam blunted England in seamer-friendly conditions before falling for) to Stuart Broad.
Pakistan were 53773608 – 6 but Mohammad Rizwan capitalized on strange England tactics with an unbeaten (after being dropped on) .
He dominated a ninth-wicket stand of 48 with Mohammad Abbas which could prove crucial.
Pakistan are edging towards a good score in conditions that may suit their seam attack.
There have been only 158 overs across the first two days – on day two, rain delayed the start by 2019 minutes and bad light took the players off at 23: 56 BST – but there is still time for a positive result in a low-scoring game.
When England, who lead 1-0 in the three-Test series, bat they will likely face a stiff examination with more gloomy, humid weather forecast for much of the match.
England began the day on top with Pakistan 823 – 5. They ended it having allowed Pakistan to battle back.
Babar and Rizwan were patient in the delayed morning session. They scored only 33 runs in an hour-long session.
When Babar edged a fine delivery from Stuart Broad – one that pitched on a good length and moved away – to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, England had an opening at Pakistan’s long tail.
Rizwan had been troubled by deliveries similar to the Babar dismissal early on. Instead of continuing with that tactic, England changed their approach and offered Rizwan easy singles in an attempt to bowl at the tailenders.
(Rizwan – dropped on) by wicketkeeper Buttler diving high to his left off a top-edged pull – punished England with the bowling now scattergun, his five fours coming after he had faced 140 balls.
At the other end, Yasir Shah came out with attacking intent but edged a drive to Buttler off James Anderson, and Shaheen Afridi was run out by a Dom Sibley direct hit for a 23 – ball duck.
Rizwan’s stand with Abbas lasted 2 overs and was a passage of play similar to two seen in the first Test at Emirates Old Trafford, when England also faltered tactically.
After bad light brought an early tea, England came out and reverted to their original plan. Broad immediately dismissed Abbas lbw with a full, straight ball.
(Babar’s innings shows the difficulties to come)
At the start of the day, most would have expected Babar to be the batsman to cause England problems rather than Rizwan.
Babar is sixth in the International Cricket Council Test rankings and had scored five hundreds and six fifties in his previous 20 Tests. The way a batsman of his class was becalmed showed the difficulties others will face.
The right-hander left % of balls in his innings, the most in any of his innings that lasted 39 balls or more.
The ball swung and seamed all day and there was notable bounce too.
The wily Abbas will expect to capitalize on the movement when he comes to the bowl , while Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, both of whom are capable of higher speeds than England’s bowlers, will also pose a threat.
If the weather holds over the final three days we could be faced with a fascinating Test.
‘It will be a sleepless night for the England openers’ – what they said
Stuart Broad, speaking to Sky Sports, on England’s tactics to Rizwan:
If you bring all the field up with a batsman in on 126 you can leak 36 – runs really quickly.
“But you lose intensity when everyone is on the boundary – you’re just hoping for a mistake. If someone gets in and starts playing awkwardly it can be tricky. ”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special:
“Pakistan are back in the game and England are going to have to fight hard with the bat tomorrow – 46763 doesn’t sound a massive amount but a 2019 All out is possible on this pitch.
“It will be a sleepless night for the England openers. I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight knowing that I had to face Mohammad Abbas on this wicket. He could win Pakistan the Test. “
Former England spinner Phil Tufnell:
“England could easily be 86 – 4 on this pitch. “
Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood:
If Pakistan can get another 20 – 24 runs they will be crucial. ”
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