Shafique, Imam steady in Pakistan’s befitting response on day-2

By our correspondent

RAWALPINDI: Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq were more steady as Pakistan responded befittingly with the bat after England piled-up a huge first innings total on the second day of the first Test of the three Test match series here at the Pindi Stadium Rawalpindi on Friday.

When the second day came to 17 overs early close on Friday, both Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique (89 not out) and Imam-ul-Haq (90 not out) were nearing their hundreds with a total being 181-0.

Barring a couple of close calls, both the openers played attacking cricket to enthrall near to a capacity crowd. Abdullah struck 10 fours and two sixes during his 158-ball unbeaten stay at the wicket while Imam who looked more compact smashed 13 fours and one six. His 148-ball chanceless unbeaten knock saw him coming out of the wickets to smash straight and cover drives with ease.

James Anderson (0-16) could have his first wicket in Pakistan had the third umpire ruled Abdullah out. Though the on-field umpires’ soft signal was out, third umpire believed the English wicketkeeper did not have a clean pick.

Pakistan opener reached their fifties just before tea and looked comfortable at the wicket that had nothing for seam or spin. Earlier on the second day morning, England lost their last six wickets adding 151 to the overnight total. The 657 runs first innings total England managed against Pakistan beat the previous best 589 for seven they scored seven years back. England started the second day where they left off Thursday. Ben Stokes (41) after hitting a six in the very first over got bowled by a slower delivery. Naseem Shah also accounted for debutant Liam Livingstone (9).

Harry Brooks (153) used a long handle even when the wickets started falling from the other end, striking 19 fours and five sixes before holding on Saud Shakeel off Naseem Shah (3-140).

“It was exciting to get a hundred and give my Test career a real impetus. Watching England setting so many records was something very encouraging for us at the outset of the tour,” Brooks said while talking to the media.

He hoped to get Pakistan out today (Saturday). “Though there is nothing in the wicket, we hope to take ten wickets on Saturday and restrict the home side to a low total.” He said. Following 125 minutes and 26 overs of play during the extended first session play, England lost all their remaining six wickets.

Leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood (4-235) set an unceremonious record of conceding the highest number of runs on debut. “We have to bowl at all sorts of wickets and in all conditions. The wicket here was not conducive to spin or pace. I tried my best to keep a good line and length and make the best of the opportunity coming my way,” Zahid said during media interaction.

The leg-spinner hoped to get some purchase out of the wicket on the fourth and fifth days. “I hope that wicket would take a spin on the fourth and fifth day. Though there was nothing on the surface on the first two days.”

Pakistan further requires 277 runs to avoid the follow-on. “I never have played on such a pitch before. I don’t think there is reverse swing nor we are getting any support from the wicket,” Naseem Shah, who also spoke to the media, said.

England won the toss

England 1st Innings

Zak b Haris 122

Duckett lbw b Mahmood 107

Pope †lbw b Ali 108

Root lbw b Mahmood 23

Brook not out 101

Stokes (c) not out 34

Brook c Shakeel b Naseem 153

Stokes (c)b Naseem 41

Livingstone c Saud b Naseem 9

Jacks c Naseem b Ali 30

Robinson lbw b Mahmood 37

Leach not out 6

Anderson c Imam b Mahmood 6

Extras: (b 2, lb 10, nb 2, w 1) 15 Total:101 Ov 657

Fall of wickets: 1-233, 2-235, 3-286, 4-462, 5-515, 6-539, 7-576, 8-641, 9-649, 10-657

Bowling: Naseem 24-0-140-3, Ali 24-1-124-2, Rauf 13-1-78-1, Mahmood 33-1-235-4, Salman 5-0-38-0, Shakeel 2-0-30-0

Pakistan 1st Innings

Shafique not out 89

Imam-ul-Haq not out 90

Extras:(b 2) 2

Total:51 Ov 181

Did not bat: Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan †, Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood

Bowling: Anderson 8-2-16-0, Robinson 5-0-21-0, Leach 19-4-68-0, Jacks 12-2-50-0, Root 4-1-9-0, Stokes 3-0-15-0

Umpires: Ahsan Raza, Joel Wilson

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