Pakistan somehow found a way to lose the first Test by 74 runs on a dead pitch in Rawalpindi. Was it the pitch or “Bazzball” that finally did them in? We now look to Multan on Friday and the hosts will look for the ground staff to pitch in to level the 3-Test series. Here’s more…
The result will have PCB Chief Rameez Raja fuming after he let rip at the pitch conditions even before the results came in.
Well, neither we nor he would have guessed a dead pitch like this one would throw up a result on Day 5. A game Ben Stokes hailed as “one of England’s greatest away wins.”
Probably because England went into the game on the back foot as illness in their camp before the start of threatened abandonment with the visitors not even sure of stitching together a playing 11. That’s water under the bridge after attacking cricket brought a dull contest on a lifeless pitch to life.
The Rawalpindi pitch gave us the third-highest aggregate in history of 1768 runs but it was England’s bold declaration at tea on the penultimate day that threw the game wide open. With four sessions to go and Pakistan set a target of 343 to win, it was the ultimate game of ball and bat which England managed to pull off by getting 10 wickets in fading light in the dying moments of Day 5.
Brief scores: 657 (Brook 153, Crawley 122, Pope 108, Duckett 107) and 264 for 7 dec (Brook 87, Root 73, Crawley 50) beat Pakistan 579 (Babar 136, Imam 121, Shafique 114, Jacks 6-161) and 268 (Shakeel 76, Anderson 4-36, Robinson 4-50) by 74 runs
We now look to Multan on Friday and the hosts will look for the ground staff to pitch in with skipper Babar Azam, who scored a century in the first innings in Rawalpindi, saying he wanted something more lively.
Regardless of the pitch dished out, England skipper Ben Stokes has promised more of “Bazball” again, the brand of aggressive cricket coined from the nickname of head coach Brendon McCullum that has rejuvenated the English approach to the game in recent times.
The weather could play a big role though with the Met department issuing a fog alert for the next few days.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Saud Shakeel, Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed, Shan Masood
England: Ben Stokes (Captain), James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood, Rehan Ahmed
Friday, December 09, 2022 at the Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan
Pakistan: Haris Rauf, who attained a grade-II strain in the right quad on the first day of 1st Test has been ruled out of the rest of the series
England: Liam Livingstone has been ruled out of the series due to an injury sustained in the 1st Test
Probable Playing XI
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c)Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood
England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes/Keaton Jennings, Will Jacks, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson