February 8, 2023

NEWS.net.pk

Daily News Network

Pakistan in control of second Test after Abrar’s dream debut

Pakistan debutant Abrar Ahmed cast a spell over England on Friday, grabbing seven wickets as the tourists were dismissed for 281 on the opening day of the second Test in Multan.

The 24-year-old produced magic of his own to finish with 7-114 – the best bowling figures in an innings at Multan Cricket Stadium.

In reply, Pakistan were 107-2 at the close, with skipper Babar Azam unbeaten on 61 and Saud Shakeel on 32, trailing by 174 runs.

Of the 12 wickets that fell on the day, James Anderson was the only fast bowler to dismiss a batter when he found an edge off Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq, who departed without scoring.

Abdullah Shafique scored 14 before edging spinner Jack Leach to keeper Ollie Pope, but Babar and Saud saw off the day with a third-wicket unbroken stand of 56.

Babar brought up his 24th Test half-century off just 57 deliveries whereas Saud also looked in control during his undefeated 46-ball stay on the opening day.

The day belonged to the home team, and Abrar in particular. Coming into the series at the back of a defeat in the first game in Rawalpindi, Babar’s wish came true when the pitch took turn from the outset.

Abrar was introduced in just the ninth over, and the spinner repaid him by bowling Crawley with a sharp incoming delivery — only his fifth ball in Test cricket.

Abrar later trapped Duckett and Root leg-before — both given out only after Babar reviewed the on-field calls.

He made it 167-5 when Pope and Brook miscued aggressive shots and were caught.

Ben Stokes (30) and Will Jacks (31) showed some resistance after lunch with a 61-run sixth-wicket stand before Abrar bamboozled the England captain with a superb wrong’un.

Ben Duckett (63) and Pope (60) were the main scorers in an England innings that finished at the stroke of tea, after skipper Stokes won the toss and decided to bat.

Spinner Zahid Mehmood claimed the last three wickets to finish with 3-63.

Ahmed’s figures were the third-best on debut by a Pakistan bowler — behind pacer Mohammad Zahid’s 7-66 against New Zealand in Rawalpindi in 1996 and Mohammad Nazir’s 7-99 against New Zealand in Karachi in 1969.

He is the 13th Pakistan bowler to take five or more wickets in an innings on debut while he is only the second Pakistan bowler after Wahab Riaz to take five or more wickets on his first day of Test cricket.

England, on their first tour of Pakistan since 2005, lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Rawalpindi by 74 runs.

Scores in brief:

England 281 all out, 51.4 overs (Ben Duckett 63, Ollie Pope 60, Mark Wood 36 not out, Will Jacks 31, Ben Stokes 20; Abrar Ahmed 7-114, Zahid Mehmood 3-63)

Pakistan 107-2, 28 overs (Babar Azam 61 not out, Saud Shakeel 32 not out)