Yasir Shah helped Pakistan wipe out England's middle-lower order

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Day 3, Pakistan capitulate as England fight back

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An inspiring display from the England bowlers and a very familiar Pakistan batting capitulation saw the game come right back in the balance at the end of day 3, as Pakistan, having dominated the Test match for the last day and a half, hang on to a slender lead of 244.

 

Ollie Pope brought up his half-century earlier today, after having played so well the evening before. The two batsmen then somehow survived the first hour against a very disciplined Pakistan fast bowling trio, who were immaculate with their line and length, very rarely offering any looseners.

Naseem Shah, who was bowling at great pace since being introduced into the attack, beating Ollie Pope’s bat several times in the process, finally got his reward. He pitched in the perfect length delivery, just outside off stump, and extracted some additional bounce to get rid of Pope, who could only manage to get a thick edge to third slip, who took a low catch.

Chris Woakes was the next man in, and he was greeted by Naseem with a painful blow to the helmet. After clearing the concussion tests and donning a new helmet, he seemed to have lost a bit of confidence momentarily, which was evident from his feet movement against Naseem next over. Soon enough, he began playing his shots. He and his partner, Jos Buttler took England through to lunch amidst a minimal rain delay, having settled in with some delightful strokes.

Azhar Ali decided to turn towards his spinners for an immediate breakthrough after lunch, a move which paid dividends instantly. A well-crafted slider from Yasir Shah deceived Buttler, making him play down the wrong line as the ball crashed into the stumps. Four quiet overs later, Yasir Shah struck again, removing Dom Bess with a delivery that turned and bounced, caught the outside edge, and Shafiq at first slip took a great reflex catch.

Exactly four more overs later, Yasir took his fourth with yet another slider that cleaned up Woakes as he attempted to pull. Azhar Ali decided to employ spin from both ends after having witnessed Yasir’s success over the last few overs, and Stuart Broad hammering Shaheen Afridi for three cracking fours. Shadab Khan, brought into the attack, broke through in his second over, finding a thick outside edge off Jofra Archer’s bat, which was brilliantly held by Rizwan behind the sticks.

After a couple of instances of tailender-like running between the wickets from Broad and Anderson, and a dropped catch of Broad off Yasir Shah which denied him a five-for, Shadab Khan, who was guilty of the spill, finished off the England innings by trapping Anderson leg before after the England number 11 missed the reverse sweep.

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Cricket is a great leveller, and Shan Masood found that out the hard way. Having played over 300 balls to score an excellent 156 yesterday, he managed to face only 11 this time, nicking off to Buttler off Broad for a duck having being strangled down the leg side.

Captain Azhar Ali joined his namesake Abid, as the duo negotiated the England bowler until tea. Abid was given a life in the seventh over from Anderson when he was put down by Ben Stokes, who moved from second slip to snatch it in front of his skipper at first slip to take the catch. Abid rubbed some salt into the wound after that by hitting Anderson to the fence twice before the break.

Azhar Ali leant into two consecutive overpitched deliveries from Broad first over after tea, which got him off the pair. The pair seemed to be in control of the situation, helping Pakistan in inflating an already commendable lead, when the tide started to turn.

For the second time in the 3rd day, the introduction of spin worked instantly for the bowling team. Abid Ali, needlessly trying to sweep the newly introduced Dom Bess, unable to control the extra bounce, ended up top-edging him towards deep square leg, where he was pouched by Chris Woakes.

Woakes made a larger impact later on, this time with the ball, first inducing an outside edge off Babar Azam by seaming it away from a good length, and Stokes at second slip did not make any mistake this time.

Azhar Ali followed soon afterwards, yet again trapped in front, yet again to Woakes, with the 170 run-lead suddenly started to look inadequate for his team.

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A momentum-arresting partnership followed between Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Rizwan. The duo, aided by a dropped catch from Anderson, took the lead past the 200 run mark. The annoyance was starting to creep in the England players, until Shafiq, who was batting so well since his arrival to the crease, needlessly ran himself out after a hint of hesitation as he hurtled towards the striker’s end to complete a single, but a good pickup and underarm throw from Dom Sibley from cover point caught him yards short.

Ben Stokes, despite a quad injury, came on to bowl later in the day. In typical Ben Stokes fashion, he made his mark, almost immediately, trapping a well set Rizwan in front in his second over. Broad then removed Shadab Khan in the same manner, having pushed him back with short and back of length deliveries prior to slipping in a fuller length delivery that nipped back in a hit him on the front leg. Although umpire Richard Illingworth was not convinced initially, his decision was overturned after a successful review from England.

Yasir Shah and Shaheen Afridi looked to see off the day for Pakistan, but the latter could not keep out a short delivery from Stokes in the last over of the day, fending it off his glove to Rory Burns at gully. Abbas somehow negotiated the three remaining deliveries before the bails were knocked off to indicate the end to the day’s play.

 

Brief scores:

Close of play, day 3

Pakistan 1st Innings 326 all out (109.3 Overs)

Masood 156, Babar 69, Broad 3/54

England 1st Innings 219 all out (70.3 Overs)

Pope 62, Buttler 38, Yasir 4/66

Pakistan 2nd Innings 137/8 (44 Overs)

Shafiq 29, Rizwan 27, Woakes 2/11

Pakistan lead by 244 runs