Pakistan bowled out England out for 219 but were then reduced to 137 for eight themselves and lead by 244 runs with two wickets remaining
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Pakistan lead by 244. Seven wickets for England in what turned out to be a marathon final session at Old Trafford, completing another fantastic day of Test cricket. The hosts were skittled for 219 in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 326, but they are right back in the scrap now. One way or another, this Test Match will almost certainly finish tomorrow so don’t miss a moment on the OBO. It’ll be my old mate Geoff Lemon taking you through the first half of the day. G’night!
44th over: Pakistan 137-8 (Yasir 12, Abbas 0) Because of the Shaheen wicket, that becomes England’s final over; a trade-off they will be perfectly satisfied with.
Another before the close! That was a nasty Stokes bouncer from around the wicket, Shaheen unable to get his gloves out of the way. Burns took the straightforward deflection running in from the gully. Pakistan’s lead is 244.
43rd over: Pakistan 137-7 (Yasir 12, Shaheen 2) Dom Bess is back, for what will be a two over spell before the close. Yasir is looking to take him each time but he isn’t able to beat the field, the spinner completing a maiden instead. 7:08pm is the official cut off time, Sky Cricket tells me, confirming my earlier calculation. Nice.
42nd over: Pakistan 137-7 (Yasir 12, Shaheen 2) Another Yasir boundary at the start of the over, this time taking on Broad’s bouncer and winning, the top edge rolling into the rope rather than going to hand at fine leg. Shaheen gets off the mark too, whipping a couple off his hip. These two have put on 15 in 13 balls. That’ll do!
Quite a few emails about Michael Holding’s commentary around DRS a couple of dismissals before. He’s been very consistent on this topic but he is definitely in the miniority of those who hold it. Neil Sharpon on the counterview. “Holding is making the case again that umpire’s call should be not out. I just want to say that I think that’s completely wrong and reflects the margin for error. He is basically arguing for the old ‘benefit of the doubt’ goes to the batsmen. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. I like the the interpretation.”
Maybe the reason Woakes has all the wickets is because of the pressure created by Jimmy?
41st over: Pakistan 130-7 (Yasir 7, Shaheen 0) Yasir has a pop at the first ball of Stokes’ fresh over, out over point for a cojple. Pakistan do have a long tail but it is worth noting that I was there to watch him make a Test century against Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon at Adelaide last November. And that came after he was whacked for about 0/250-odd with the ball. My point: he doesn’t give up. More runs from the next delivery, turning Stokes off his front pad for a glanced boundary - that’s a nice shot! Stokes goes to the bumper in response and it is called a no-ball by the TV umpire. Shaheen gets to the other end safely. Eight from it. Handy.
Hitting middle 4/5ths of the way up! Shadab goes, Pakistan have lost 3/23 and England are right back in this... again. The lead is 229, about four overs left today.
40th over: Pakistan 122-7 (Yasir 0)
BROAD LOVES HIS LBW SHOUT AGAINST SHADAB! Richard Illingworth doesn’t. Root reviews immediately; looked like a decent shout live. Upstairs we go.
39th over: Pakistan 120-6 (Shadab 13, Yasir 0) It should be noted that, despite Pakistan having a long tail, I was on air in Adelaide last November when Yasir smashed a magnificent century against Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon!
My OBO partner today, Tim de Lisle, has Anderson giving up the new ball to Woakes. Time will tell. Gee, it’d be galling if he ended up on 590-something.
#ENGvPAK Jimmy Anderson has now bowled 92 overs for England this summer, one more than Chris Woakes. Anderson has taken six wickets, Woakes 15. Immense as Anderson has been, it's time to give Woakes the new ball @collinsadam
Pakistan lose their other set man! Stokes does it with a little nip-backer, the DRS showing that the ball was clipping middle - enough to confirm the decision.
RIZWAN IS GIVEN LBW! Stokes gets him! He reviews but that looks pretty out.
38th over: Pakistan 118-5 (Rizwan 27, Shadab 11) Broad on for Anderson. It wasn’t Jimmy’s most potent shift but he has been unlucky today. That won’t stop some seeing 0/34 and concluding he’s finished - that’s the lot in life of a 38-year-old still earning a quid from bowling fast. Shadab tucks a single, Rizwan deals with the rest.
37th over: Pakistan 118-5 (Rizwan 27, Shadab 11) Welcome to the bowling crease, for the first time in this Test Match... Ben Stokes! I’m constitutionally obliged to note at this point that he makes things happen as Rizwan tries to pull a ball he probably should be looking at with the all-rounder new to the attack. There are singles on offer later in the over on the legside, which both players help themselves to. It’s been a tupsy-turvy old afternoon at Old Trafford but England need a wicket again.
36th over: Pakistan 116-5 (Rizwan 26, Shadab 10) Anderson is giving a few runs away in this spell but he’s beating the edge once an over, this time too good for Shadab Khan. Five off it beforehand, making the lead 218. Oh, he’s called for a front-foot no-ball by Umpire Gough after the over was called, nice and close to the line - so pleased that they are being picked up. So, a seventh ball... and it’s edged through the cordon for four! The lead instead is 223. A costly foot fault. DRINKS!
35th over: Pakistan 106-5 (Rizwan 23, Shadab 4) Bess is continuing - interesting. But I’m not going to second guess Joe Root, who has been on the money with the changes today. He does give Shadab one to tuck into to get off the mark, though, a short ball that’s given the treatment through midwicket for four. Broad, right?
A superb effort in the field from J̶o̶n̶t̶y̶ ̶R̶h̶o̶d̶e̶s̶ Dom Sibley!#ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/354wecltux
34th over: Pakistan 101-5 (Rizwan 22, Shadab 0) All the more frustrating for Pakistan is fact that Rizwan played such a delightful off-drive earlier in the over, crashing Anderson for four - probably the shot of the innings. So, just when the visitors were taking the game away again, they slide down a snake. Bad light isn’t an issue, so Joe Root’s bowlers should be able to get through another 12 overs or so.
WICKET! @bumblecricket called for some magic and up stepped Sibley to run out Shafiq (29) with a direct hit from point Pakistan 101-5, lead by 208 #ENGvPAK Watch live https://t.co/E1EJj1BlBB Blog https://t.co/SXGWe9n8GW
Such a good partnership building but Dom Sibley has cut it off with a direct hit! Racing in from backward point, his pick up and throw were spot on, Shafiq short by a long way racing to the danger end. Can England make this most of this now?
33rd over: Pakistan 95-4 (Shafiq 28, Rizwan 17) Bess does get another over and it doesn’t go to plan, his radar off to begin, helped by Shafiq down to fine leg for four. He’s a very good player of spin, that’s for sure. He backs his dancing feet later in the over, chipping over midwicket, getting a couple more. Pakistan now lead by 202.
32nd over: Pakistan 89-4 (Shafiq 22, Rizwan 17) Gee, for about 45 seconds there, I was going to have to mute the words “Jos Buttler” on twitter and in my inbox. No, he didn’t drop a catch of Rizwan’s inside edge - technology showed us that after the fact - it did, however, look like he might’ve! Meanwhile, have they cut to Younis Khan at any stage during this Test when he hasn’t been filling up his notebook?
31st over: Pakistan 87-4 (Shafiq 21, Rizwan 16) This partnership is 24 now after Shafiq uses the crease to slap Bess through cover for three then Rizwan does much the same the other side of point for two before finishing with three of his own, carving against the spin. Might be time to give Bess a blow after a good spell.
30th over: Pakistan 79-4 (Shafiq 18, Rizwan 11) Oh, Jimmy Jimmy. It doesn’t take Anderson long to find some zip and movement, beating Rizwan’s outside edge at a very zippy 86mph. He’ll be bordering on desperate to get into the book, ideally at least a couple of times, in this innings. He’s up to 590 Test wickets.
This Test is so good the ICC have decided England's second innings will now take place in India.
29th over: Pakistan 77-4 (Shafiq 17, Rizwan 10) Sweeping hard and sweeping well, Rizwan gets his first boundary to begin Bess’ fresh set. The call of catch goes up when he’s cutting later on, but Broad can’t race in from point quickly enough, the ball going through his legs when diving, three more added. An over worth seven runs helps quite a bit at this stage for Pakistan, their lead now 184.
“Hi Adam, hope you’re enjoying a terrific Test match.” Thank you. And I am indeed, Gareth Fitzgerald. “With all the talk of the England bowling line-up and who to drop, is it now the case that they guy who has always been easiest to drop due to his quiet professionalism (Woakes) is now bowling himself into near undroppable status?” Much as he did during this corredponding series in 2016, as it happens!
28th over: Pakistan 70-4 (Shafiq 17, Rizwan 3) Woakes has it on a string here, combining accuracy and movement with a bit of bounce - quite the handful. He’s making life tough for Shafiq especially, getting one to jump into his thigh pad then zipping past his inside edge prompting half an appeal for leg before. But the little guy is still standing, as he is so often when batting at No6 as he usually does.
“When this third innings began, I was wondering whether England were good enough to win,” observes Pete Leihy. “Now I’m wondering whether Pakistan is bad enough to lose.”
27th over: Pakistan 69-4 (Shafiq 17, Rizwan 2) Bess hasn’t got many footmarks to work with but he’s getting the ball to jump as though he does. Archer slips at cover at one point, hitting the deck hard, but he’s straight back up and fine. Rizwan keeps the strike with a compact push to mid-off. Both of these batsmen are fighters.
“Not that it’s the only thing that matters but I am sure that everyone heard the stat about Azhar Ali’s record outside Asia of late,” emails Dijvijay Yadav. “Can’t be helpful when someone like Babar is waiting in the wings to be captain. Very much latter day Ponting-Clarke vibes.” I didn’t realise Babar was this close to the armband, but I’ll take your word for it. I still think of Azhar as young. He’s 35.
26th over: Pakistan 66-4 (Shafiq 16, Rizwan 0) Dropped catch? Yep, dropped catch. Anderson is the man at backward point; it’s no more than half a chance, down low and fast, but it goes down all the same off Shafiq. Woakes is looking the goods.
Not quite panic stations for Pakistan but England have made up considerable ground in this session. #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/NMEYtwsGZL
25th over: Pakistan 64-4 (Shafiq 14, Rizwan 0) Bess does his job here, giving nothing away at the new man Rizwan, giving it a big rip throughout. Proper scrap.
“Adam.” John Ernest Michael Starbuck! “I suppose if you’d called her Winifred she’s have been known as Freddie. Mind you, she could always change it later in life, as some of my family have done.”
24th over: Pakistan 63-4 (Shafiq 13, Rizwan 0) This was always the risk for both sides this week, coming in with their XIs balanced in favour of ball over bat. It means Rizwan comes to the middle with the score almost identical to that when Buttler arrived last night. Pakistan lead by 170 but they can’t afford for this stumble to turn into a collapse. Rizwan is made of tough stuff, though. And he’s in turn, making an unbeaten ton (after an unbeaten half-century) in their first warm-up.
YESSS @chriswoakes!! Come on lads! Live Clips: https://t.co/q1IXtTZFvR#ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/wmv6tZnVQ6
Game on big time! Azhar plays across Woakes’ full one; that’s very out. No review.
23rd over: Pakistan 63-3 (Azhar 18, Shafiq 13) Shafiq grabs a couple down the ground when Bess overpitches early in the over then sweeps for four a misdirected ball to finish. His least effective set of the five he’s bowled so far. They take a drink. We still have 30 overs left today, which they won’t get in, but by my calculations, due to the brief rain delay we had before lunch, play can continue until 7:08pm.
22nd over: Pakistan 57-3 (Azhar 18, Shafiq 7) Shafiq gets one on the pads to clip away for four early in the over but it is back to regular programming for Woakes thereafter, making life difficult for the captain Azhar, moving it both ways. Of course, it was against Pakistan in 2016 that he really announced himself.
“Last night,” begins tom V d Gucht, “Vic Marks complained that Root had been “too cute” and got caught out when bowling himself and Bess after tea. Following that, I was in the middle of penning a strongly worded and stinging missive about him bringing Bess on ahead of Woakes, but managed to check the scorecard before hitting the send button.”
21st over: Pakistan 51-3 (Azhar 17, Shafiq 2) Bess is swung around, as we expected when Woakes bowled the previous over, and he’s past Shafiq’s outside edge with one that doesn’t turn. Cagey bowling, this. He gets plenty of spin and bounce from the next one, though. This could end up being an important spell in the development of this young off-breaker - he’s right on top with men around the bat.
“Better a weaning Winnie than a whining Winnie,” writes Pierre en Bretagne, “or even less fun, a whinging Winnie.” On her name, we didn’t realise until she was about two months old that the Winnie Mae was quite an important early plane.
20th over: Pakistan 48-3 (Azhar 17, Shafiq 0) England are right back in this, aren’t they? Shafiq defends the first ball he has to look at - the final delivery of the successful Woakes over. Pakistan lead by 155 with their wicketkeeper, Rizwan, the next man in. “A lot rests on Azhar Ali’s shoulders,” says Mikey. That it does.
BABAR IS GONE! Chris Woakes into the attack and strikes early! He finds the edge and Ben Stokes makes no mistake with this one.Pakistan 4⃣8⃣-3⃣, lead by 155. Watch live https://t.co/2QLQ1vFv5g Blog https://t.co/cDuzNLv6rf pic.twitter.com/yOdDPhmNpC
Root nails another bowling change! Woakes is into the attack and locates the edge of the best player in the Pakistan line-up with his fifth ball. A lovely little legcutter, doing just enough to force the error. Stokes makes no mistake this time.
19th over: Pakistan 46-2 (Azhar 17, Babar 3) Azhar pushes Archer for two through mid-on then clips another two in the same direction. He’s working into this well after taking 20 deliveries to get off the mark either side of tea. Oooh, now that I’ve said that... Archer flattens him! That was a quick bouncer, 88mph. More please!
VERY CLOSE! Azhar Ali does well to get out of the way of a fierce bouncer from Jofra Archer but gets perilously close to falling on his own stumps!Pakistan 46-2, lead by 153. Watch live https://t.co/2QLQ1vFv5g Blog https://t.co/cDuzNLv6rf pic.twitter.com/PTxaR2utBN
18th over: Pakistan 42-2 (Azhar 13, Babar 3) There’s a lot to like about the turn and bounce Bess is getting early in this spell; this is a top Test Match pitch. Perhaps on account of one that really jumps at Babar, he gets away with a subsequent full toss.
“A new one occurs to me after reading Pat McGinley’s comments in over 15,” Steve Taylor says in relation to portmanteau words. “‘Weanie’. A small person being weaned. Not to be confused with ‘wiener’. Don’t suppose it’ll catch on the way television did.” Speaking of my weaning Winnie, she just paid me a visit!
17th over: Pakistan 41-2 (Azhar 12, Babar 3) Babar is already in lovely form, watching Archer all the way onto his bat before steering him through backward point for a couple. I was on radio calling his second-innings ton at the Gabba last year after getting out in a similar way to how he did yesterday to Jimmy. I can see it.
16th over: Pakistan 39-2 (Azhar 12, Babar 1) Bess keeps the pressure on at the new man Babar, who waits until the final ball to pick out the sweeper at deep midwicket to get off the mark and keep the strike. Will we see him using his feet at the off-spinner as we did on the first afternoon when looking a million bucks? Hope so.
15th over: Pakistan 38-2 (Azhar 12, Babar 0) Archer to Azhar, edge, four! It was low, bisecting Root and Stokes. A no-ball called after the fact, in keeping with the new playing condition, so even if it carried to Stokes’ left hand it wouldn’t have been out. The new system is working really well. And thanks to those of you who picked up my unfortunate typo in the wicket description last over. All fixed!
Pat McGinley, the floor is yours. “I am *so* glad that you published Geoff Wignall’s point about comparative dropped catches this summer, but the aspect that makes me simmer is that I think Sky replayed Rahkeem Cornwall’s drop 712 times, but Stokes’?? Cheers, and continued good wishes for weaning Winnie.”
Root rewarded for some aggressive captaincy! Bess is into the attack early and into the book in his first over, tempting Abid Ali into a slog sweep, the top edge landing in the safe hands of Chris Woakes at deep midwicket. Poor shot. But I wonder the extent to which the previous delivery, which really turned and bounced at ht right-hander, informed the miscue? Well bowled Dom Bess and well done Joe Root.
14th over: Pakistan 33-2 (Azhar 8)
13th over: Pakistan 33-1 (Abid 20, Azhar 8) Abid into the the 20s with a punch off the balls of his feet to keep the board ticking, enjoying that extra bit of pace from Archer. From that stage on, Azhar is is happy enough watching. His top speed, the TV tells me, was 85mph over those first two overs. I spy myself a talking point.
England have pitched up much more in this second innings. On Day 1, they bowled 33% full deliveries in the first 10 overs; today, that's increased to 41%. Their average length has been 35cm fuller so far. #ENGvPAK
12th over: Pakistan 32-1 (Abid 19, Azhar 8) Abid is on the drive in the direction of Anderson at mid-off but it goes through his legs. Nobody will be happy with that. On the front foot again, Abid keeps the strike with a push to mid-on. Nice batting.
11th over: Pakistan 29-1 (Abid 16, Azhar 8) Jofra Archer is into the attack for the first time straight after tea from the Anderson End, replacing Jimmy. He’s easing into it here Abid Ali handling him easily enough in defence before cutting one to point. With a couple to look at to finish the over, Azhar defends then leaves. Between overs, the ground staff are on the field fixing up the turf where Broad lands.
1oth over: Pakistan 28-1 (Abid 15, Azhar 8) There it is! Azhar is off the mark from the second ball of the session, pushing safely down the ground, timing it well enough to get a boundary. And he enjoys this scoring caper so much, he makes it back to back fours! This is a full-blooded square drive, racing out to the point rope. Towards the end of the over, Sky pans to the dozen reporters permitted to cover this series at the ground, the camera settling on one of our old OBOers, Will Macpherson!
[Christopher Walken] The players. Are back. On the field. [/Christopher Walken] Broad to Azhar Ali, who remains on that pair. A marathon session awaits. PLAY!
Jimmy Anderson was cross before tea; Jim Evans is cross now. “So, another defeat in an opening Test looms for England. Each loss has its own peculiarities – in this instance Buttler’s errors and Pakistan’s excellence have been major factors – but a common thread has been poor selections based on preconceived notions and incorrect strategy. So against West Indies we had the obsession with raw pace leading to Broad’s omission, plus a belief that the pitch would deteriorate leading to the dubious decision to bat first under leaden skies. And now we have the insistence on fielding a pace quartet even though everything pointed towards a turning pitch, no left-arm bowlers to provide some variety even though the Pakistan batting order is predominantly right-handed, and a keeper who’s picked for his batting (potential) despite an evident weakness when standing up to the stumps. The players will take a kicking if (when) we lose, but the selectors and coaches are far more culpable in my view.” Well argued.
Ian Forth has been playing in Statsguru again... “I expect you’re wondering how many times England have scored between 200 and 225, conceded a 100 run lead and gone on to win. No? You surprise me. I’ve spent half an hour working out the answer on statsguru. It’s happened just once before, against New Zealand in 2008 when they conceded a 179 run first innings lead and won by 6 wickets, courtesy of a Strauss century and a Panesar 6 for. That was rather overshadowed by Australia’s concession of 161 runs on first innings in Galle in 2004, a match they then went on to win by 197 runs, thanks to centuries from Langer and Martin - and 10 wickets in the match from S K Warne.”
9th over: Pakistan 20-1 (Abid 15, Azhar 0) Shot. Anderson to Abid, the latter getting deep enough in the crease to play through the gap at cover for four. That won’t worry Anderson too much, though. Ooh, he beats his outside edge again. But for all the dangerous deliveries, and the missed slip chance, this pair have made it to tea.
8th over: Pakistan 16-1 (Abid 11, Azhar 0) Broad is givng Azhar absolutely no chance to get off the mark before tea. He’s now faced 18 balls on a pair. Not fun, at all.
“A Most Collo Morning,” is the subject of Jesse Galdston’ email. I’m interested, do continue. “Greetings from Baltimore, Adam! I am having a most Adam Collins morning, having followed the OBO on my phone while I tromped around the house with my 9 month old, alternately tossing plastic cups every which way and semi-successfully getting him excited about slapping/grabbing a slightly deflated VFL game-used Sherrin. Now, he’s down for his nap and I’m just about to head out for a run while listening to last weekend’s Encore episode of The Final Word (I listen a week behind so as to never be stuck with no episodes to listen to in case of an extremely boring emergency). Did the ICC happen to give a reasoning for postponing the Women’s World Cup? Either way, I can’t wait for this coming week’s rant on the pod! I’ll be strapped into the OBO for the rest of the day’s play as I’ve got my mother-in-law to take the baby care duties for the afternoon. Let’s hope for a cracking finish to the day.”
7th over: Pakistan 16-1 (Abid 11, Azhar 0) Edge, four! It wasn’t a great delivery from Anderson, a fraction short, Abid playing with the horizontal bat through gully. As Athers notes, they don’t use a gully too often these days. DROPPED CATCH! Much better from Jimmy, finding Abid’s edge off the front foot, put down by Stokes right in front of Root at first slip! That was going straight down the throat of the captain at first slip; Stokes didn’t need to go. A salt-in-the-wounds moment to finish, Abid getting a second boundary through backward point. Jimmy will be very cross.
“Come from the old saw ‘give a man enough rope,’” says Niall Morrissey. “Bowl some awful junk at him and that can happen.The phrase ‘rope bowling’ is an extension of the metaphor.” That’s not a bad start. Anyone else?
6th over: Pakistan 8-1 (Abid 3, Azhar 0) Oooh, a snorter from Broad to Azhar - who is still on that pair - thumping into the turf on a length, seaming beyond the outside edge. And again! Albeit this time with one that just left him. There’s nothing easy about this mini-session for the Pakistan skipper with the pitch giving the English seamers plenty. “You’ve just got to hand in there for dear life,” says Athers.
“Hi Adam.” Hi, Damian Clarke. “Perhaps a portmanteau of ‘strange angle’ Portmanteau, blimey I love that word, right up there with ‘gusset’ and ‘Gower’. I’m on holiday now for a week, cue thunderstorms, and have started the well earned break snifters early. All is currently wonderful in my world.” So it seems! Go well.
5th over: Pakistan 8-1 (Abid 3, Azhar 0) Ooh, Anderson with the old trick, bringing one in then taking one away, beating Abid’s edge with the second of those. By the end of the over, Abid is back to leaving outside the off stump. A better strategy.
“Broad is averaging 102 with the bat and 11.55 with the ball since his recall,” reports Tom Bowell. “Steady.” All of a sudden, he’s having quite the golden summer.
4th over: Pakistan 8-1 (Abid 3, Azhar 0) Broad at the Pakistan captain, Azhar Ali, who is on a pair. Ooh, the first ball nearly slips past his inside edge, too! And now he finds the outside edge, on the bounce into the cordon. He settles himself by the end of the probing set, defending well then leaving confidently.
“Hi Adam.” Hi, Romeo. “How’s Winnie?” She’s going wonderfully, thanks mate. To update the most enjoyable conversation we had about weaning on day one: we had a go with some peas this morning, and some water. “Do you know who invented the expression ‘strangle’ for a poorly executed leg glance? I’ve always thought it was a bit of a silly expression.” Good question. Anyone know the answer?
3rd over: Pakistan 8-1 (Abid 3, Azhar 0) Before the wicket to end the previous over, Abid was off the mark second ball with a clip for one. There was also a front-foot no-ball called upstairs later in the over, the 11th of the Test according to Ian Ward on telly. “It makes you wonder,” he said, “just how many have been bowled but not called over the years?” Michael Holding replied: “Lots.” Too right. I’ll spare you my usual rant about the history of all this because it is a complete triumph that we have the new system in place for the first time in a Test Match here this week. Jimmy’s turn again and Abid he gets the full face of his bat to a ball on middle stump, away for a couple. He pulls his length back a touch trying to tempt the right-hander but isn’t successful in getting him to drive at anything wide of the off-stump.
“Afternoon Adam.” G’day, Kim Thonger. “What’s the situation on asking for the extra hour tonight to finish it off, assuming we knock Pakistan over for less than 50 before 5pm, and Broad opens the batting after taking 8fer very little?”
Strangled! After batting for so many hours in the first innings, Shan is caught down the legside off the face of his bat, taken easily by Buttler. A terrible way to go. England really needed that early breakthrough, Broad the man to deliver it.
2nd over: Pakistan 6-1 (Abid 1)
1st over: Pakistan 0-0 (Masood 0, Abid 0) Anderson into his special corridor within of two deliveries, beating Masood with one that cut across him. A tidy maiden.
The players are back on the field. Jimmy Anderson, over to you. “He doesn’t look like a happy man having to bowl again after his team only batted for 70.3 overs,” says Michael Holding on the telly. Shan Masood, who faced 319 balls the fitrst time around for 156, is preparing to face the first delivery for Pakistan. PLAY!
Stokes warming up. Interesting, the England all-rounder, who didn’t bowl in the first innings, is turning his arm over before they walk out to field for a second time.
Breaking news, as flagged. The ICC board have met today and have decided to give the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup to India, shifting Australia to 2022. Okay, we knew there was a chance of that, but what does this mean for the local organising committee staff? The ground contracts? Worse still: the Women’s World Cup for February/March 2021 has been delayed by 12 months. That was set to be hosted in New Zealand, a country that has all-but eradicated Covid. Just galling.
Anderson’s review was purely in hope, missing his reverse sweep with Shadab coming around the wicket - that’s very out. Pakistan’s lead is 107.
ANDERSON GIVEN LBW! He challenges. Stand by.
70th over: England 217-9 (Broad 29, Anderson 5) Good afternoon! Thanks, Tim. An eventful start to my stint today, Broad smacking Yasir over midwicket for SIX! He tries to let the good times roll and goes again but via a fat top edge this time... and it’s DROPPPED by Shadab on the rope at long leg. Oh dear. He has a brilliant pair of hands too, as we saw this morning with his snaffle off Pope’s blade. By comparison, the rest of the over is positively tame. Send me an email. There’s news breaking at ICC HQ, which I’ll tell you more about shortly. I’m furious.
If you ever needed proof of everything you ever knew to be true about how world cricket works, here it is. https://t.co/mLGnjXvjhN
70th over: England 217-9 (Broad 29, Anderson 5) Broad swings Yasir to leg, high, wide and just handsome enough, as it just eludes the man at deep square and goes for six. When he tries it again, he gives Shadab a very catchable catch – and he drops it, and it dribbles for four. Peter Moores’s remodelling of Broad’s batting is working a treat. But England are still 109 behind. And it’s time for me to hand over to Adam Collins. Thanks for your views on Buttler, ice-cream and everything else.
69th over: England 204-9 (Broad 16, Anderson 5) Before that, there was another run-out scare as Broad looks for two into the covers and Anderson dives to beat a fine throw. The world has gone mad.
Umpire’s call! The bowler was Shadab, the ball was a beautiful googly – pitching on middle, bamboozling the left-handed Broad, clipping the bail.
This looks rather adjacent...
68th over: England 202-9 (Broad 14, Anderson 5) Jimmy pulls out the reverse sweep! And gets four for it, to bring up the 200. “The Burnley Lara,” says Michael Holding, with just the right amount of irony.
67th over: England 198-9 (Broad 14, Anderson 1) So England are down to the old firm. Entering into the spirit of the afternoon, they nearly conjure a run-out as Anderson sees a chance to get off the mark with a cover push and Broad is slow to respond.
And another... Shadab joins in the fun, which he himself started about 24 hours ago, with his running between the wickets. A wicked leg-break brushes the glove, Rizwan snaffles it and Archer doesn’t bother to review.
66th over: England 195-8 (Archer 15, Broad 13) It’s all happening: hell, we’ve even had two leg byes.
“You’re right,” says Rob Wilson, “to endorse any Shane Warne remarks about the mechanics of legspin, but it should always be accompanied by a proviso about its generic reliability. Warne was an inveterate and magnificent spoofer. Forget the annual arrival of his new (entirely fictional) Mystery Ball, he would routinely misidentify shooters, sliders and non-spinning spinners. All in a Butlin’s Magic Act effort to obscure or disguise the greatest straight ball in the history of cricket. A monument of bullshit meant to befuddle and bewilder. There is simply no way he wouldn’t provide that meretricious assistance to a leggie who had taken his fancy. He cannot be believed. It is not in his nature. Nor any other legspinner in that magnificent Brotherhood of Piffle and Palaver.” Nicely put – but there’s no reason for him to bullshit now, is there? Hence the straight answer (55th over) to Ebony Rainford-Brent’s crisp question.
That one isn’t even worth an exclamation mark.
Yasir thinks he’s got a tickle but there’s fresh air, surely...
65th over: England 192-8 (Archer 14, Broad 13) Much better from Archer, who sends a cover drive rasping to the rope, then leathers a straight drive, which is deflected on to the stumps by Shadab. There’s an appeal but Broad is smiling, knowing he hasn’t left his ground.
64th over: England 187-8 (Archer 9, Broad 13) Archer’s doing his best to maintain his dismal average, first dawdling between the wickets, then having a mow and only just eluding the man at cover. And here comes Shadab, so it’s leg spin at both ends. Only from Pakistan.
63rd over: England 184-8 (Archer 7, Broad 12) In Azhar’s shoes, I’d be tempted to have leg-spin from both ends, but he goes back to Shaheen Afridi, who is clipped for four by the renascent Stuart Broad. And then inside-edged for four more. And then walloped over extra cover. England’s only hope now is a bit of mayhem from Broad.
62nd over: England 171-8 (Archer 6, Broad 0) In this spell, Yasir has three for five – and his other wicket was the crucial one of Joe Root. England may be wondering whether to send for Adil Rashid.
And another! Yasir is having so much fun that he deliberately bowls a fast long-hop, which skids under Woakes’s pull and smacks into the top of middle stump. Yasir has four and England are in a whole heap of trouble.
61st over: England 170-7 (Woakes 19, Archer 6) The only way this early afternoon could get worse for England would be if they had a run-out. Archer and Woakes do their best with a horrible mix-up, but it’s matched by some comical fielding. The upshot is that Woakes has a nasty graze on his elbow. His personal stylist will be horrified.
“I do think we are using the word collapse in the wrong context here,” says Kim Thonger. “For something to collapse it surely must be deemed to have been built in the first place? This seems to me like subsidence, ‘the gradual caving in or sinking of’ something. The definition of subsidence is not restricted by the rate, magnitude, or area involved in the downward movement. This is Kim Thonger, being irritating, live from the county of Semanticshire, at the heart of the region of England known as Pedantry.” Ha. I think I may have grown up there.
60th over: England 167-7 (Woakes 18, Archer 4) Jofra Archer owes England a few runs – his Cricinfo profile page calls him an allrounder, yet he has a Test average of 8. He manages to survive another few balls from Yasir.
59th over: England 166-7 (Woakes 17, Archer 4) A couple of singles off Naseem. Yasir is suddenly bowling so well that both batsmen would rather be facing an 89mph wonder-kid.
“For what it’s worth,” says Guy Hornsby, “I don’t want Buttler out, I want him to succeed, such is his monstrous talent. It’d be a curate’s egg if batting obduracy got him there. But you can’t just attack, especially with the scores he finds himself coming in at. He is learning on the job.”
58th over: England 164-7 (Woakes 16, Archer 3) Jofra Archer, greeted by a googly, jabs down on it and gets two off a thick edge. We need to know what Yasir had for lunch.
Another one! Yasir’s on fire now, finding bounce and turn. Bess can only pop this up in the air and Asad Shafiq covers a lot of ground from slip to grab it somewhere near backward point. The collapse is on.
57th over: England 161-6 (Woakes 16, Bess 1) Bess gets a straight one from Naseem and seizes the chance to get off the mark, shifting his weight so that his defensive push goes into the gap at midwicket.
56th over: England 160-6 (Woakes 16, Bess 0) England’s plan against Yasir – attack, attack – has run aground on the rocks of events, dear boy, events. That’s another maiden.
55th over: England 160-6 (Woakes 16, Bess 0) A run from the bat! Woakes clips Naseem past mid-on.
Shane Warne, who knows a bit about leg spin, has been examining Jos Buttler’s dismissal. “That one was a hardly spun leg-break that just went straight on,” he says. “Nobody did anything wrong. Natural variation, one of your best weapons as a spinner.” So how many wickets did you get with natural variation, asks Ebony Rainford-Brent. “Plenty! And I never admitted it.” That’s great commentary, from both of them.
It was going down the leg side - Naseem’s youthful exuberance getting the better of him, for once.
Not given, looks like umpire’s call at best.
54th over: England 159-6 (Woakes 15, Bess 0) Dom Bess gets some solid blocks in, but then Yasir drags his length back and beats him with a classic leg-break. So Yasir defies the doubters who said he couldn’t bowl in England outside London, and the curse of the live-blogger does for Buttler.
Yasir’s top-spinner goes straight through the gate! That’s a big, big moment. England are down to the bowlers now, and Pakistan can already smell victory.
53rd over: England 159-5 (Buttler 38, Woakes 15) It’s Naseem Shah, who produced the moment of the morning. A sucker for alliteration, he now persuades Woakes to waft at a wide one. Another one gets past the bat later in the over, to make a strong start after lunch.
“Most people seem to have already dropped Buttler for the next Test,” says Ben Mimmack, “but do you think he can still save himself with the bat? Surely a big ton here that drags England to a first innings lead would be enough? Yep - I’m the one over here counting all these brown ovoids as fully fledged chickens.”
A small ton would be enough. Actually, a battling 67 might well be enough. On this pitch, it’s not easy to reach 20 – only five men have managed it, which makes Shan Masood’s achievement all the greater. Buttler, in Tests, has become a battler: he has stuck around for 106 balls in this innings and 390 this summer, which is more than Ollie Pope (325) and much the same as Joe Root and Joe Denly combined (383). It would be surprising if all that were to be outweighed by one bad day with the gloves.
“Is sunny on the Wirral,” writes Ian Copestake, my meteorologist of choice. “So there is weather-based hope at least.”
England’s white-ball tour of India, scheduled for next month, has been postponed “until early 2021”. No great surprise there as the Indian Premier League, itself postponed by a few months, is now expected to start in mid-September (in the UAE). In a statement, the ECB said: “BCCI and ECB are in consultation with a view to confirming the 2021 schedules for an all-formats England men’s tour to India to run from late January to late March and for India’s Test tour to England due in the summer of 2021.”
Shaheen tries to tempt Buttler outside off and fails. That’s luncheon, with honours even again in the second hour – Pakistan got rid of Pope, sensationally, but England were undaunted and Jos Buttler survives, much to the chagrin of half the people in my inbox. So far today England have added 67 for one off 24 overs, which is a lot better than 92 for four – but Pakistan are still running the show.
51st over: England 158-5 (Buttler 38, Woakes 15) A couple more singles off Yasir.
“As this England innings disintegrates,” says Dale Pyatt, a little prematurely, “my mind turns to happier times and our recent holiday here in a sweltering Denmark. Because my phone had given up the ghost, my girlfriend’s mobile was pressed into action so that we (well, I) could follow the OBO coverage of the Windies series.It turned out that the default settings on the phone meant that all Guardian articles were automatically translated into Danish, including the OBO.” Superb. “I found myself gripped by the Danish versions of cricketing expressions. There were several gems, but my favourite had the Pope playing with an angled bat, as in an echolocating insect-botherer (‘flagermus’ in Danish). We persevered with this version as the images it conjured up, while having little to do with an actual cricket game, were truly surreal.”
50th over: England 156-5 (Buttler 37, Woakes 14) Buttler is finally finding his mojo. He sees a half-volley from Shaheen and just caresses it past cover. That’s the shot of the morning. Shaheen responds well, with a near-toe ball in the Waqar Younis tradition, but Buttler is seeing it well enough to glance for two.
49th over: England 150-5 (Buttler 31, Woakes 14) Now it is time for spin, as Naseem gives way to Yasir Shah. He has a peculiar record in England – lethal in London, cannon-fodder in the country – and Pope got after him last night, although Yasir fought back with the wicket of Root. These two, looking to score off him, have to settle for singles as Azhar protects him with a defensive field.
48th over: England 147-5 (Buttler 29, Woakes 13) It seems the Manchester weather was just toying with us. And Woakes carries on where he left off, thick-edging the first ball for two, crashing the third through the covers, and blocking the straight ones. He already has more runs than Burns, Sibley and Stokes put together.
Here’s Billy Mills, joining the ice-cream fray. “Regarding Guy Hornsby’s Hope flavour,” he says, “can I caution against it? It has been known to be fatal, even in small doses.” Classy.
Before you can say “taking an early lunch”.
In most of Britain, today is so hot that the Daily Star has christened it Furnace Friday. But this match is in Manchester, which can conjure up a shower from nothing. And they’re off. But not before Woakes survives an lbw appeal from Shaheen (too high, and probably too wide to boot) and hits a straight drive for four. He’s looking very up for it for a man who has just been clonked on the side of the head.
47th over: England 137-5 (Buttler 29, Woakes 3) Facing Naseem, Woakes flirts with danger outside off but then plays a lovely controlled cover drive for three, which quadruples his Test tally for the season. Buttler joins in with a drive that is looser but destined for the boundary at backward point. So England are being more positive, but the deficit is still 189.
46th over: England 130-5 (Buttler 25, Woakes 0) After a bit of faffing to find Woakes a new helmet, as per the rules, Mo Abbas finally gets his breather. His replacement is not Yasir Shah, as Nasser was expecting, but Shaheen Afridi. Buttler plays a nice check-drive for two, down the ground, but Shaheen beats him later in the over. It will be fascinating to see if Buttler, who has gritted his teeth for 85 balls, changes gear now.
45th over: England 127-5 (Buttler 23, Woakes 0) This match keeps giving us a session of two halves. England, so tongue-tied in the first hour, started expressing themselves straight after drinks, with Pope adding a square drive for four to make it 16 off the first 13 balls since the break. And then Naseem struck back. Top-class Test cricket, laid on for our delectation by a bowler of 17 (or thereabouts) and a batsman of 22.
And now Chris Woakes is hit on the side of the helmet, ducking into an 89mph bouncer. True to form, when he takes off the helmet, he still looks immaculate.
That is a hell of a delivery. Naseem Shah makes the ball roar off a length and Pope can only fend it to gully. He goes off shaking his head in disbelief.
44th over: England 123-4 (Pope 58, Buttler 23) Azhar keeps Abbas on – and pays the price, as he concedes two singles. Turns out, the first of them came off a no-ball. And then Pope slams a drive past cover, before pinching another single. Abbas has gone to pieces.
43rd over: England 115-4 (Pope 52, Buttler 22) After a drink, will the real Jos Buttler stand up? He will! Naseem overpitches and Buttler plays a cover drive that is him at his regal best. I believe that’s the first four of the morning not scored by byes.
“Longtime listener, first time caller,” says Joe. Welcome! “I’ve loved your work over the years - and very jealous of your occupation - so thanks!” It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta help Rob Smyth do it. “I’ve seen a number of folks on the OBO slating Buttler this morning, particularly the scathing comments from Adam Giles (29th over) comparing his place with Compton, Vince and Jennings. I disagree with the notion of over-indulgence in that Jos doesn’t have any obvious technical flaw which necessitates some time away from the test arena (cf. those other batsmen - plus Bairstow).
42nd over: England 111-4 (Pope 52, Buttler 18) The keeper, Mohammad Rizwan, has come up to the stumps for Abbas, to stop Ollie Pope standing outside his crease. He thinks he’s got him caught with a lovely take, but it was a play-and-miss, not a nick. And that is drinks, with honours even in that hour – Abbas (7-6-1-0) has been magisterial, but Pope and Buttler have survived. And probably seen him off.
41st over: England 111-4 (Pope 52, Buttler 18) Another single from Pope, a glance off Naseem Shah; some more dots from Buttler, whose innings is turning into a penance for those bloopers.
40th over: England 110-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 18) Buttler is back at the wrong end facing Abbas, who has now bowled six overs this morning for one run. But he does concede a few byes, and there are four more as his inswinger goes booming through a vacant leg slip.
Never mind the cricket, back to the ice cream (36th over). “Surely,” says Charles Sheldrick, “any Tres-related ice cream would have to be banger flavour, not mint.”
39th over: England 106-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 18) Pope is beaten again, by Naseem, who goes wide on the crease and gets his outswinger curling like a bracket. “Dig in Ollie Pope,” says Nasser, paternally. “Survive this burst. There will be boundaries later.”
38th over: England 106-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 18) Buttler’s turn to play at thin air, twice, as Abbas does what Abbas does. “This really is a spell,” says Nasser Hussain. I’m not sure we need all these bowling coaches: just tell all the young seamers to search for “Mohammad Abbas YouTube”.
37th over: England 106-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 18) Azhar Ali makes a change, bringing on Naseem Shah, and it almost does the trick as Buttler plays his first loose shot, wafting and edging, just short of slip. Buttler pulls himself together with a lovely crisp cover drive for three. Then Pope plays and misses for the first time this morning, going for a cover drive of his own.
“Crikey,” says Mike Daniels, “if we dropped every keeper who missed a catch/stumping chance then there’s a lot of ‘keepers who had stellar careers who would never have had the chance to do so. Knott would have been binned, Evans, Ames, Marsh, Gilchrist, etc, etc. I think Buttler is being unfairly criticised for the 1st day ‘misses’ as they were both extremely difficult due to the extra bounce, which beat the batsman and the keeper.”
36th over: England 103-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 15) After facing 17 balls from Abbas, Buttler has not a single run. Now it is Pope’s turn to face Medium-Paced Mo, and he too reels off the dots.
Here’s Kim Thonger. “The recent warm weather has caused me to splash out on an ice-cream making machine. I’m becoming obsessed with possible flavour combinations, and am about to deploy my ‘sliced tinned peaches with cooking brandy and crushed ginger nuts flavour’ but should I consider specifically cricket related ones. “Willow and linseed oil flavour? Leather and Close? (for ageing Yorkshire and Somerset fans) Murray Mint? Inspired by Marcus Trescothick. A mystery house blend, Corridor of Uncertainty? Warm beer and crisps? Egg and cress sandwich? Victoria sponge? Bakewell tart?
35th over: England 103-4 (Pope 51, Buttler 15) Pope gets away with a third inside edge against the same bowler, Shaheen, who is moving it back in, just enough to elude the middle of the bat. Mike Atherton feels Pope needs to play a touch straighter, between mid-off and the bowler, rather than getting too square. The great thing with Pope is that he doesn’t stew in his struggles, because he steals a single to get up the other end. And these two have got through that vital first half-hour.
34th over: England 102-4 (Pope 50, Buttler 15) Abbas swings one away to take the edge of the bat, but Buttler keeps it down with nice soft hands. Then he swings another one away so lavishly that it goes for four byes, to bring up England’s hundred. They should avoid the follow-on now.
“On that note,” says Arthur Graves, “about certain players being indulged for too long, I am in broad (no pun) agreement. What’s wrong with demanding a certain standard of attainment? If they perform highly, they keep their jobs. If not, it’s time to go. Make it a series, or a summer, but keep being brutal about it. This is international sport for which the players are handsomely rewarded - while many millions of others have just seen their jobs and possibly careers flushed away.
33rd over: England 98-4 (Pope 50, Buttler 15) Pope almost plays on as he jabs down on a back-of-a-length ball from Shaheen that he might have left. Supremely unconcerned, he clips the next ball for two to reach a beautiful fifty off only 81 balls. The youngest player in the team has batted with the captain and the ex-vice-captain and looked like the senior partner. No sooner have I written that than he almost plays on again, though it’s another no-ball.
32nd over: England 95-4 (Pope 48, Buttler 15) Another sharp single from Pope. Buttler is less bothered about keeping the scoreboard moving, just concentrating on playing straight. When Abbas wobbles one away, there’s the first play-and-miss of the morning, but so far, all is quiet, which suits England.
31st over: England 94-4 (Pope 47, Buttler 15) The first run from the bat comes as Pope pushes to mid-off and takes a single so tight that it should be in Shane Warne’s wardrobe. He gets there with a dive. I hope his positivity inspires the England hierarchy to bring in some more youth, starting with Ollie Robinson. Ollies are the way to go.
30th over: England 93-4 (Pope 46, Buttler 15) At the other end it’s Mohammad Abbas, the Terry Alderman of the 21st century. Buttler, suitably watchful, plays out a maiden.
“It’s been a great Test,” says Tom van der Gucht, “in terms of ebbs and flows of who’s in the ascendancy. With three days left, all three results are still (just about) on the table - although Pakistan are well in the driving seat. But a bad session for them when they bat again, some rain, a batting masterclass from Broad boshing out a double century off 90 balls and the game’s wide open.”
29th over: England 93-4 (Pope 46, Buttler 15) It’s Shaheen Afridi, the man with the bouffant hair, bowling to Ollie Pope, the man with the golden touch. Shaheen is on it right away, probing in the channel. Pope is on it too, getting well forward. The only run is a no-ball, spotted by the third umpire, Michael Gough.
“Worst thing that could happen to England today,” says Adam Giles, “is Buttler getting a score.” What?! “It’s getting to a point where I’d genuinely rather watch England lose a test in a pathetic fashion than see the selectors continue to ignore logic, stats and form in favour of what appears to be sheer sentimentality. Denly had far too long, Vince had far too long, Compton had far too long, Jennings had far too long, and now Buttler is dangling from a diamond thread. Feeling rather Victor Meldrew about the whole affair.” Sounding more like Alec Bedser to me: two Tests and they’re out.
“Andrew emailing from Leeds here,” says Andrew B. “I am a recent convert from another, well-known text commentary service. Keep up the good work.” Thanks. There’s another well-known one?
“Yesterday I had a familiar feeling of the opposition’s bowlers seeming a lot more dangerous, and possibly even more up for it than England’s bowlers. Jimmy and Broad’s records speak for themselves but I’m often left feeling opposition bowlers (Pakistan yesterday, Gabriel for the Windies, Philander in the winter and certainly the Aussies last summer) look like they have had a few more Weetabix for breakfast and always look more likely to take a wicket. Is this a case of underappreciating what we have or maybe ties in to the opposition always stepping it up against England perhaps?”
The number-crunchers at Sporting Index reckon England will make 260. The number-crunchers at CricViz give England a 24pc chance of winning the match, and Pakistan 66pc (the draw gets 10pc). Both these guesses, educated as they are, seem to err on the side of generosity. And not to Pakistan.
Next man in is Chris Woakes. The optimists may be thinking that’s OK, he has a Test century, and anyway, he’s Mr Impeccable. The pessimists might retort that, in two Test innings this summer, he has a grand total of one run.
On Wednesday, under some classic Manchester clouds, Test cricket was cast in a bad light. Yesterday, it could hardly have looked better. We had a pulsating, fluctuating, palpitating day – England taking control in the morning, Pakistan breaking free after lunch when Shadab Khan ran riot, England fighting back as Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad wrapped up the tail. A first innings of 326 was just right: could be a winning score, could be a loser. And then came the coup de théâtre. Six overs of carnage, England 12 for three, their worst start in a home Test innings for 20 years.
Pakistan had done three things spectacularly well: opening the batting (Shan Masood’s 156 was 13 times as many as England’s openers managed between them), opening the bowling (pace at one end, guile at the other, intent at both), and making some noise. In an empty ground, where others have settled for eerie silence, the Pakistanis worked out that the role of the crowd could be played by their players. It doesn’t take 20,000 people to fill the air with feeling.Continue reading...