Pakistan v England: Hosts’ collapse gives tourists control of second Test in Multan

England bowler Ollie Robinson reacts after bowling Pakistan captain Babar Azam
Ollie Robinson bowled Pakistan captain Babar Azam for England’s first wicket of the day
Second Test, Multan (day two of five)
England 281 (Duckett 63, Pope 60; Abrar 7-114) & 202-5 (Duckett 79, Brook 74*; Abrar 3-81)
Pakistan 202 (Babar 75, Shakeel 63; Leach 4-98)
England lead by 281 runs

England took control of the match and series thanks to a dramatic Pakistan collapse on day two of the second Test in Multan.

The home side lost eight wickets for 60 runs, at one stage including three for no runs, to slide to 202 all out.

After Babar Azam was bowled by Ollie Robinson for 75, Jack Leach took three wickets for an overall 4-98, while Joe Root and Mark Wood nipped in with two each.

When Leach had Saud Shakeel superbly caught by James Anderson for 63, it marked the left-arm spinner’s 100th wicket in Test cricket.

England’s growth of a first-innings lead of 79 was led by opener Ben Duckett, who was on course for a second century in as many matches before being bowled by Abrar Ahmed for 79.

That was leg-spinner Abrar’s third of the innings and 10th of the match, the first Pakistan debutant to achieve such a feat for 16 years.

England sloppily lost Ollie Pope to a run out before the close, but Harry Brook remains on 74, the tourists 202-5.

With a lead of 281 on a pitch offering so much to the spinners, England probably already have enough. It would take a huge effort for Pakistan to win from here.

Decisive day in match and series

England were made to work so hard for their thrilling first-Test win, yet here have been gifted a dominant position by the Pakistan implosion.

As a result, this is likely to be the decisive day in the match and the series, with England closing in on a first triumph over Pakistan outside the UK for 22 years.

That is not to say England do not deserve their advantage. Intelligent, defensive field placements aided Leach and selecting three specialist pace bowlers on a pitch favouring the spinners was vindicated by the wickets taken by Robinson and Wood.

It was expected that England would build on their lead by blazing away in the afternoon, but instead built steadily at their slowest scoring rate of the series so far.

Abrar, who took seven wickets in the first innings, once again carried the fight, having a hand in all five wickets to fall.

As well as the three of his own, Abrar ran out Zak Crawley and was the bowler when Pope was dismissed. His spectacular effort on debut is set to count for nothing.

Duckett denied

Duckett was recalled for the first time in six years for the first Test and already seems to have made the opener’s spot his own.

A hundred in Rawalpindi was followed by 63 in the first innings here. This time he helped himself with trademark sweeps and pulls.

After Crawley was run out for three by Abrar’s direct hit from mid-on and Will Jacks, promoted to give Pope rest after keeping wicket, was bowled, Duckett and Root added 54 for the third wicket.

A sweeping Root was brilliantly held by Abdullah Shafique at short leg, but Duckett seemed destined for a century, especially when Babar dropped the simplest catch at mid-wicket with the opener on 69.

The left-hander was only bowled by one that Abrar got to scuttle low. It gave Abrar his 10th, ended a partnership of 68 with Brook and, more importantly, showed how difficult it will be for Pakistan to chase a target on the deteriorating surface.

As the light faded, Pope was run out in a mix-up with Brook, who himself eased past 50 for the third time this series and will return on Sunday in the company of captain Ben Stokes.

The run map shows Ben Duckett scored 79 with 6 fours, 4 threes, 6 twos, and 31 singles for England

Pakistan collapse hands control to England

When Pakistan moved from their overnight 107-2 to 142-2, the game hung in the balance. Babar and Shakeel were set and England’s first-innings 281 was being closed down.

But Robinson, who did not bowl on day one, needed only two deliveries to make a telling intervention. In the seventh over of the day, Robinson produced a beauty that jagged back to bowl Babar between bat and pad.

Leach was struggling to make an impact until Shakeel attempted a loft down the ground. Anderson, running back from mid-on took a fine catch, made harder by the fact there was danger of a collision with Jacks, to give Leach his 100th wicket.

And, after Leach produced a ripping delivery to bowl Mohammed Rizwan – pitching on leg and hitting middle and off – Pakistan folded in meek fashion.

Mohammad Nawaz poked Leach to mid-off, then Salman Agha patted to mid-wicket and Mohammad Ali was caught at slip, both in the same Root over.

Wood, bowling at high pace, pinned Zahid Mahmood in front and had Faheem Ashraf clip to deep square leg for his first Test wickets since March.

‘I am getting better and better in Test cricket’ – reaction

England spinner Jack Leach to Test Match Special on reaching 100 Test wickets: “It is a nice little milestone but I just really want to keep winning games with England and let the rest take care of itself. I feel I am getting better and better in Test cricket. I am learning all the time. I just want to keep pushing on.”

“I don’t think we put a number on a lead. I’d love 500 but if they have to score the highest total of the game in the fourth innings we will feel pretty confident.”

Pakistan batter Saud Shakeel: “We are in a 50-50 situation but we are confident. We have chased down 350 in Galle on a turning pitch on day five so we can chase anything down around 320 or 330.

“The pitch is getting better day by day. It is spinning but it is slow spin. So if we can get a few partnerships we can do anything.”

Former England spinner Vic Marks: “England were quite measured today. Once Babar was gone, they realised they didn’t need to be over aggressive and just had to keep the pressure on.

“Even while batting, they didn’t play extravagant shots. I really liked England’s approach. The momentum is just with them.”

Former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis: “Pakistan are way behind in this game. They threw it away in the morning. They didn’t know how to bat, they were worried and went into their shell. That’s dangerous against a team that’s full of confidence.”

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