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Shan Masood brought up his maiden Test hundred on English soil

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Day 2 – Pakistan quicks fire up after Shan Masood hits maiden 150

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After Shan Masood was rewarded for his persistence against tough spells from the English bowlers with a big hundred, the Pakistan bowlers backed up his gargantuan efforts by running through the England top order with a wonderful display of seam bowling to keep their side well and truly on top at the end of the second day’s play.

The 2nd day started with Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq both falling to Anderson and Broad early on, trying to play at deliveries pitched at a good length on the corridor of uncertainty, and subsequently presenting catches to the slip cordon. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan never really looked comfortable in the middle, cluelessly surviving for 40 deliveries before Chris Woakes swung one away from him that found the outside edge, and Buttler finally got a dismissal to his name.

Shan Masood, aided by all-rounder Shadab Khan, decided to increase the scoring rate after lunch. Helped by some ordinary bowling and mediocre captaincy from Joe Root, who, for the sake of quickly taking the new ball, bowled himself and off-spinner Dom Bess for a spell of 5 overs. In those 5 overs, Pakistan scored more runs than they did in the entire first session, as the duo rotated the strike frequently and punished the stray deliveries for four.

With the pressure released to an extent due to those 5 overs, the two batsmen were not troubled too much by the new ball either. There were a few minor hiccups in the running between the wickets, but there was no harm done. Masood brought up his fourth Test hundred in the 86th over, emitting loud cheers and applause from the Pakistani dressing room with a clip to square leg for two. This was his third consecutive hundred in Test Cricket, the previous two coming against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

 

The duo kept the scoring rate ticking with frequent singles and doubles in almost every delivery after that, with Masood starting to show signs of aggression with a punch off the back foot for four off Anderson. A maiden 93rd over from Woakes, the first after 22 overs, was followed by a 9 run Dom Bess over, studded with two cracking hits to the fence from Masood.

England finally managed to break the 105-run stand between Masood and Shadab, when the latter fell just 5 short of his fifty, trying to hoist Bess’ off-break into the stands, but only managing to find Root at deep mid-wicket. A quiet passage of play was followed by Yasir Shah’s dismissal, trapped in front by Jofra Archer. He was followed by Mohammad Abbas next ball, who poked at a delivery just outside off stump off the same bowler, presenting the England skipper with a simple catch.

 

The two consecutive wickets and the exposure of the tail enforced Masood to take on Dom Bess in the next over. A slog sweep, followed by a hit through the line over long-off resulted in two towering sixes. He finished the over with another aerial hit which fell just short of the long-on boundary.

Having brought up his 150 just before tea, being the first visiting opener to do so in England since Chris Rogers in the 2015 Ashes, Masood was caught on the crease as he looked to play across the line to Broad after the break, which ended in him being trapped in front, bringing an end to a marathon innings. Shaheen Afridi then punished two bad balls from Archer for four before the innings ended with last man Naseem Shah nicking behind to Buttler off Broad.

 

ALSO READ: Babar Azam, Masood help Pakistan dominate Bangladesh in 1st Test

 

With 326 hard-fought runs on the board, and the clouds once again starting to converge, it was time for the Pakistani pacers to rise to the occasion, and they did exactly that. Burns’ lack of feet movement to an inswinging fuller length delivery from Shaheen resulted in his downfall, as he was adjudged leg before after the Pakistanis reviewed a not out decision from Richard Kettleborough.

Kettleborough had to alter yet another decision two overs later, this time in favour of England, after adjudging Joe Root LBW. There was a third review from Dominic Sibley in the next over after Abbas nipped one back in and trapped him right in front of middle, but Richard Illingworth, the umpire at the other end, got this one correct.

Abbas produced yet another corker next over, cleaning up Ben Stokes with a delivery that straightened after pitching, beat Stokes’ bat, and clipped the off stump, a dream delivery for any seamer.

Ollie Pope and his skipper Joe Root then did a good job of seeing out the immediate threat, in the process being beaten several times. Naseem and Yasir Shah’s introduction to the bowling crease saw a slight increase in the run rate, with the duo finding the fence on a few occasions.

Yasir Shah broke through right after the 50-run partnership was completed. Root, looking to cut a delivery well on the line of the stumps, nicked it behind to Mohammad Rizwan, who took a sharp catch, showing his English counterpart how it is done.

Ollie Pope was looking in great touch at the other end, as he played some delightful shots close to the end of the day’s play. Buttler, too found the fence on a couple of occasions, as the two of them managed to take England through to stumps.

Brief scores:

Close of play, day 2

Pakistan 1st Innings 326 all out (109.3 Overs)

Masood 156, Babar 69, Shadab 45, Broad 3/54

England 1st Innings 92/4 (28 Overs)

Pope 46*, Abbas 2/24, Shaheen 1/12

England trail by 234 runs