England will risk losing with bold declaration after hard toil revives hope of victory against Pakistan

James Anderson takes his first Test wicket in Pakistan as England fight back in the last session - Anjum Naveed/AP
James Anderson takes his first Test wicket in Pakistan as England fight back in the last session - Anjum Naveed/AP

12:28 PM


England's efforts bear fruit as tourists keep hopes of win alive

For all the plaudits that rained down on England’s batting, it has been in the field where they have really shown the true value of aggression and now they can sense a famous win.

England are in with a chance on the most docile of surfaces because they attacked, attacked and attacked again with the ball and imaginative fields to induce mistakes from complacent Pakistan batsmen who thought their job was done.

England listened to their coach, who said before the game it is about seizing your chance in Pakistan, building on Will Jacks’ dismissal of a set Babar Azam to grab the game in the final hour. It may still not be enough, the pitch will probably win in the end, but at least England remain in the ascendancy and have not given up or let the Test drift.

Despite the limitations of their bowling line-up, further depleted by a knee injury to leg-off spinner Liam Livingstone, England prized out four wickets in the final session for 88 runs to open up Pakistan’s long tail. As the sun set on the Pindi Stadium, Pakistan were 499-7, still 158 behind England’s 657.

Three fell in the morning, when the pitch was a tad livelier thanks to the morning dew, none in the afternoon when the surface went to sleep, but four after tea as England were rewarded for squeezing Pakistan and trying everything, even using the sweat on Jack Leach’s bald head to shine the ball.

Joe Root uses the sweat on Jack Leach's head to shine the ball - SKY SPORTS
Joe Root uses the sweat on Jack Leach's head to shine the ball - SKY SPORTS

Ben Stokes has changed England’s mentality in so many ways but it is getting bowlers set in their ways to buy into more attacking fields that shows what force of personality from a captain can achieve.

Chief is James Anderson, who admitted before this Test that in the past in his long career he had sometimes been more preoccupied with not going for runs than taking wickets.

Stokes did not let that happen here. He kept his fields up all day to both seamers and spinners. Four, sometimes five, were stationed in front of the batsman close in hoping for a mistimed drive or leading edge. When Leach or Jacks were hit down the ground, he kept the men halfway back off the fence, tempting the batsmen to have another go. It worked when Imam ul-Haq holed out to long on off Leach.

Anderson and Stokes led the way with aggressive body language and the odd verbal, but stayed on the right side of narkiness. They let the batsmen know they were in a fight and it did unsettle the more inexperienced players, debutant Saud Shakeel wafting at a wide one from Ollie Robinson to give England a lift straight after tea.

Ollie Robinson celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Saud Shakeel - Aamir Queshi/Getty Images
Ollie Robinson celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Saud Shakeel - Aamir Queshi/Getty Images

Babar made a composed, sublime 136 that thrilled a good-sized crowd full of families and children and followed Imam and Abdullah Shafique with hundreds in the innings - up to seven in the match now - but each got out when one needed to stay in and make the big century that would cancel out England’s total.

Credit to Jacks who has bowled 33 overs in the innings - more than he has ever done before - and kept plugging away for his 3-132. It was his dismissal of Babar that could eventually be seen as the turning point in the match and it has been a good start for a player learning his trade.

Leach was reliable and kept plugging away, and was closing in on a 100 Test wickets, while Anderson took a wicket in his ninth country when Mohammad Rizwan finally picked out one of those close fielders, driving to Stokes at short midwicket.

He tossed the ball in the air and let out a loud roar, the satisfaction of a plan coming together clear. Naseem Shah was the last to hole out just moments before the end, Leach running round to take a good catch in the deep to give Jacks his third wicket of the day.

All four openers have scored hundreds in the game, the first time that has happened, and for long periods of the day it was sedate progress.

Batsman error was the main route to success as Pakistan’s openers eased through the first hour and a 225-run stand, until Shafique’s eyes lit up at a Jacks long hop and he flashed a cut that was edged to Ollie Pope, who was much more confident thereafter, standing up to the seamers at various points.

Will Jacks celebrates the wicket of Abdullah Shafique - AP
Will Jacks celebrates the wicket of Abdullah Shafique - AP

Imam let his patience slip after his third hundred in Rawalpindi and it was soon followed by Stokes acting on gut feel. He took the new ball, gave it to the spinners and Leach fired one in a bit quicker that Azhar Ali missed and was leg before.

Babar played the innings of the day. He barely put a foot wrong, his timing was regal and there was an inevitability about his hundred, which he reached with a swatted four off Stokes as he tried the short ball theory.

He kissed the ground and gave thanks for his century while Stokes continued to ponder his options. Babar cajoled Shakeel, who was struggling at points with his concentration, and urged him to ignore the jibes from Anderson and Stokes looking for a reaction.

Tea seemed to break Pakistan’s concentration. In the first over of the final session, Shakeel was tempted by a wider ball from Robinson, edging behind for 37. Robinson is an intelligent seamer who is often responsible for England’s bowling plans and he changed his pace, bowled wobble seam and ignored fast bowler’s ego by having the keeper up.

Stokes went short and took some punishment as Babar helped himself, but his concentration lapsed when Jacks came back on. Babar cut his first ball of his first spell after tea to point, barely believing his mistake.

Now England sensed it was their time. Anderson bottled up the free-scoring Rizwan with wobble seamer and a bit of reverse. Eventually Rizwan fell into the trap. Naseem was brainless, trying to hit Jacks out the ground when his team need to play for the close as the sun dropped.

England deserved their success. Much is made about Bazball and smashing the ball around but it would be redundant if a team could not take 20 wickets or be willing to have a go. This was a very Australian, in-your-face day of Test cricket from England and it has given them a chance.

12:21 PM

Joe Root speaks...'We're not interested in the draw'

On that last session...

"A brilliant day. That last session, all the work we put in came to fruition. It was attritional. We had to be creative throughout the day and we got our rewards at the end."

On England's positivity...

"If you feel like you have no chance then you make it extremely hard. But we stuck together, tried to make it fun and interesting and get them to think outside the box. As far as they are behind it still gives us a real opportunity to go and win this Test match."

On the aim for the next two days...

"You know with our team and the way we play our cricket that we will be making sure we give ourselves a chance of winning the game. We aren't interested in drawing, we want to give us the best chance of winning and if Pakistan are good enough to beat us then so be it. We have three big wickets to take in the morning, then we will try and crash some around and get up to a reasonable total. I'm sure there's lots of entertaining cricket to be played in the next couple of days."

12:07 PM


Babar Azam proves class and ability to carry weight of a nation

By Scyld Berry

Of the seven centuries so far in this Test - two more and it will set a world record - the most surprising has been Ben Duckett’s, the most exciting Harry Brook’s, but the most handsome hundred has been scored by the Pakistan captain Babar Azam.

The weight of responsibility too is something beyond that which any England cricketer can ever know, even Ben Stokes. “One Nation, One Passion” reads the banner above the Rawalpindi stadium, and there is one man who shoulders the brunt. Babar has no option but to be Pakistan’s champion, their country’s answer to Virat Kohli.

The applause as Babar walked to the wicket confirmed his status. Saturday is part of the weekend in Pakistan too, and the stadium was as full as it is going to be in this Test: and not only full of males, but females too, which is something new for an England Test series in Pakistan. In 2005 and before, women were confined to the VIP enclosure or, as the martial law administrators liked to see themselves, the VVIP enclosure.

Babar, without question, is a Very Very Important Person in Pakistan’s line-up. Their other Test batsmen are worthy, even excellent, but they do not have the panache to be stellar. Babar, or Babur, was the founder of the Moghul empire in the Asian sub-continent: it is some lineage to live up to.

Babar does not have the same personality as Kohli, even though his followers - the whole of Pakistan in other words - are desperate for him to equal or surpass the Indian demi-god. He is quiet, not confrontational. West country counties find it either hard or impossible to attract overseas players who want the high life, but Babar has been happy at Taunton, even scoring a couple of hundreds in his 20 T20 games for Somerset. He captains out of a sense of duty rather than Kohli’s burning desire.

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That World T20 final too. Babar, after being unable to come to terms with the bounce of Australian pitches early in the tournament, had fired in the semi-final against New Zealand but his 32 off 28 balls against in the final was not a match-winner; besides, Babar had led Pakistan to a 4-3 defeat in the preceding T20 series against England in Pakistan. National prestige, or face, demands that Pakistan do not lose this Test series to England as well.

In addition to all that weight of popular expectation, Babar has to deal with Pakistan’s long tail: their four bowlers can hardly bat. Had he got out early, and exposed a debutant in Saud Shakeel to shepherd that tail, England would have been right on top, with time enough to force Pakistan to bat out more than the final day. This may yet happen thanks to England scoring at an unprecedented rate in their first innings, while England’s second might be even faster.

Instead of worn and troubled defence though, Babar served up handsome batsmanship in scoring 136 before cutting to point. Quick hands, to steer behind point and drive through the covers, and quick feet too: anything short from England’s three spinners, and Babar jumped back pantherishly to pull legside.

Babar - Aamir Queshi/AFP
Babar - Aamir Queshi/AFP

Babar batted so well against England’s three finger-spinners that Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum will be more reluctant to give their wrist-spinner Rehan Ahmed a debut in the second Test. Rehan, being 18, is not of an age to bowl six accurate balls in an over, and Babar could so plunder the loose stuff that the debutant would be scarred. If England do play Rehan in Multan, they will have to shield him in Pakistan’s first innings and hope that he can have a magic spell in the second, perhaps flushing out those tailenders.

Is there still a quartet now of world-class batsmen, or a quintet? Kohli has only just recovered from a long and century-less slump; Steve Smith, out of action during most of Australia’s white-ball cricket, has just churned out another Test double-hundred, against West Indies; Joe Root is the one who has been in supreme form, while Kane Williamson’s membership of the quartet club has almost lapsed, so long has he been restricted by an elbow injury.

Babar is 28 while all of the quartet are in their thirties, so he is timing his membership application just right. This Test hundred was only his eighth, while the other four have posted at least 24. Like Root, and Williamson, Babar has yet to conquer Australia, averaging 27 there, but he has time on his side, especially when batting.

11:58 AM

STUMPS: PAK 499/7 (Mahmood 1 Salman 10)

That session was definitely England's - they were brilliant to take four wickets, including the vital one of Babar. The pitch is still has flat as they come but those scalps have given the tourists a glimmer of hope that they can perhaps force a result. What could have meandered to a predictable draw for now, at least, is still open to the possibility of a result, and that's down to the efforts of the attack and Stokes' leadership.

11:55 AM

OVER 136: PAK 499/7 (Mahmood 1 Salman 10)

It's Jacks with the last over of the day and he decides to go round the wicket and Mahood plays it well and that is indeed stumps.

11:52 AM

OVER 135: PAK 499/7 (Mahmood 1 Salman 10)

Salman takes a single off the third ball of Leach's over, trusting Mahmood with the strike for the rest of the over and Mahmood doesn't let him down taking a single off what doesn't prove to be the last ball of the day. England managing to squeeze one more over in.

11:49 AM

OVER 134: PAK 497/7 (Mahmood 0 Salman 9)

Jacks now has three wickets and what vital ones they have been as that pair were halting England's momentum.

11:48 AM


`Naseem c Leach b Jacks 15

Jacks is back - Stokes clearly wants to stay out on the pitch as long as possible with the dark quickly descending on the pitch. The Surry man gets one to turn ever so slightly and Naseem just gets a bat on it in the nick of time. The Pakistan then repeats the trick the next next ball, this time for two runs.

But then Jacks tosses one up and Naseem cannot help himself, hitting to cow corner where Leach runs in and takes well on the move.

FOW: 497/7

11:43 AM

OVER 133: PAK 495/6 (Naseem 13 Salman 9)

Salman is a good player of spin and he plays that Leach over well, as does Naseem, with seven runs coming from it.

11:41 AM

That Rizwan wicket means that Jimmy...

...has his first Test wicket in Pakistan - hurrah!

Anderson wickets in...

England - 429
Australia - 68
West Indies - 36
South Africa - 34
India - 34
New Zealand - 26
UAE - 22
Sri Lanka - 18

11:40 AM

Here's how Rizwan got out

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11:39 AM

OVER 132: PAK 488/6 (Naseem 11 Salman 4)

The light is fading fast in the Punjab as Robinson comes in for one last effort. He has a slip, leg slip and two close fielders either side of the wicket and while he cannot conjure up another wicket he does bowl a maiden.

11:36 AM

OVER 131: PAK 488/6 (Naseem 11 Salman 4)

Naseem is very watchful in defence for the first five balls before he decides he's had enough and hits Leach for six over his head. "The moment the ball goes over their eyeline the Pakistan batsmen cannot help themselves' so says Nasser Hussain on Sky commentary.

11:32 AM

Will Macpherson definitely thinks it's game back on

That was a proper "now then", moment. Can England scythe through a long tail? We know how they will bat, so perhaps two shortish days will still be enough to force a result. You'd think they need a little luck to pull that off, but you never know...

11:32 AM

OVER 130: PAK 482/6 (Naseem 5 Salman 4)

Stokes and Co have kept going all day and have been rewarded with three wickets after tea. Two singles come off Anderson's first four balls before Salman blocks the final two deliveries well - showing the maker's name.

11:27 AM

OVER 129: PAK 480/6 (Naseem 4 Salman 3)

Naseem gets off the mark with a classical cover drive, one that Babar would be proud of. Jacks has four round the bat and for the rest of the over the new batsman is watchful in defence. I reckon we've got another 30 minutes, max, left of play. Can England grab a couple more wickets to real bring a result back into play?

11:25 AM

Here's the first of those two quick wickets

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11:24 AM

OVER 128: PAK 475/6 (Naseem 0 Salman 2)

Is the game now back on? Pakistan trail by 182 runs with England now into the bowlers, Naseem Shah the new man in.

Having said bet your house this ends in a draw I am now not so sure...so please DO NOT bet your house on a draw. The complexion of the Test has just changed somewhat thanks to those two quick wickets.

11:22 AM


Rizwan c Stokes b Anderson 29 

There isn't a lot of batting to come after Salman so break this partnership and then there is, however remote, a chance of forcing  a result. And as I type Anderson goes round the wicket and Rizwan clips the ball to Stokes at short mid-wicket.

Game back on?

FOW 475/6

11:20 AM

From Nick Hoult at the ground

Nice stroll around the ground at tea. In the undercroft of the stands are various shops - furniture, kebab and electrical stores which is a common feature of grounds in the sub-continent. Lots of families here too, boys and girls wearing Pakistan shirts and with faces painted. A definite change from when I was last in Pakistan.

11:19 AM

An opening for England?

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11:18 AM

OVER 127: PAK 474/5 (Rizwan 29 Salman 1)

Salman is the new batsman and maybe, just maybe, there is a slither of an opening for England.

11:15 AM


Babar c Leach b Jacks 136

It's the end of a fine innings as Babar cuts a shortish Jacks delivery straight to Leach at backward point.

FOW: 473/5

11:12 AM

OVER 126: PAK 473/4 (Rizwan 29 Babar 136)

Jimmy bowls four two Rizwan over the wicket before trying his luck round. Six dot balls and it's a maiden.

11:08 AM

OVER 125: PAK 473/4 (Rizwan 29 Babar 136)

The light is fading quickly as it does in Pakistan as Babar dances down the pitch and hits the part-time spinner Root for four between cow corner and mid on. Five from the over.

Rizwan is busy at the crease - Getty Images
Rizwan is busy at the crease - Getty Images

11:05 AM

Here's that Babar cover drive I was salivating over earlier

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11:04 AM

OVER 124: PAK 468/4 (Rizwan 28 Babar 132)

Anderson is back on and Babar greets a gentle leg-stump half volley with a beautiful flick of his legs for four. There's no real swing - conventional or otherwise - and even with all his guile, nous and talent not even Jimmy can conjure up a hatful of wickets on this flat track.

10:58 AM

OVER 123: PAK 461/4 (Rizwan 26 Babar 127)

Root bowls and Rizwan is looking busy at the crease. Three runs from the over and Pakistan now trail by 196 runs.

10:56 AM

OVER 122: PAK 458/4 (Rizwan 23 Babar 127)

Robinson has bowled well and deserves more than his solitary wicket but he's looking tired now, sending two down leg side, the second of which ensures that the hosts past the follow on target.

I am not a betting man, but put your house on this ending a draw...(btw, don't do that, but you get my point...)

10:51 AM

OVER 121: PAK 456/4 (Rizwan 23 Babar 126)

One keeps a little low that Babar cuts for three. There's still little sign of spin or of this pitch playing real silly buggers.

10:47 AM

OVER 120: PAK 452/4 (Rizwan 22 Babar 123)

Four singles off that Robinson over which finishes with a rare Robinson bouncer. Pakistan need just six to avoid the follow one and regardless of the pitch this has been impressive from the hosts who could have been undone by scoreboard pressure but instead have gone diligently about their business.

10:42 AM

OVER 119: PAK 448/4 (Rizwan 20 Babar 121)

Will Jacks returns and bowls a full toss that just dips on Rizwan who toe ends it (just) over Jimmy Anderson at mid on for four. Pretty rubbish cricket all round that one...the next ball is much better from the new batsman as he rocks on to his back foot to pull for another four. Two balls later Rizwan brings the slog sweep out of his locker, he's not going to hang around. The next ball is a case of deja vu and four boundaries come off that over.

10:37 AM

OVER 118: PAK 432/4 (Rizwan 4 Babar 121)

Babar plays an MCC textbook cover drive off Robinson, he hits it right under his eyes and then doesn't move - delightful to watch. Those are the only runs off that over but they were so pleasing on the eye.

10:34 AM

OVER 117: PAK 428/4 (Rizwan 4 Babar 117)

Again it's Leach to Babar and having defended the first ball he dance down the track to get to the pitch of the second and hit him down the ground for a delightful four. A three follows and as long as the captain is at the crease you get the feeling Pakistan won't be in any trouble.

Just 29 to avoid the follow on.

10:31 AM

How Shakeel fell

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10:30 AM

OVER 116: PAK 421/4 (Rizwan 4 Babar 110)

Robinson has got it reversing and Rizwan is playing carefully, leaving the last ball well as it came back into him. It's a maiden and this is a good spell from the seamer.

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10:26 AM

OVER 115: PAK 421/4 (Rizwan 4 Babar 110)

It's Leach to Babar, the Pakistan captain pushes the first ball to Rehan Ahmed (on as a sub) at (very) short mid on, and the leggie is very vocal. The man then comes up inviting Babar to sweep and the master batsman says thank you very much sweeping for four.

10:22 AM

OVER 114: PAK 417/4 (Rizwan 4 Babar 106)

England needed that break and it's done the trick as they've regrouped and got their first wicket since the morning session. Rizwan is the new man at the crease, he likes to play a shot or two and second ball he's off the mark with a classical drive for four.

10:20 AM


Shakeel c Pope b Robinson 37

It's Ollie Robinson with the fist over after the break and he beats the bat, yes he beats the bat, of Shakeel. Pope collects and has a shy at the stumps. Then next ball Robinson again angles one across Shakeel and this time he finds the edge and ENGLAND HAVE A WICKET!

FOW - 413/4

10:03 AM

A master at work

I've said it before and I'll doubtless say it again - Babar is great to watch, his ton came off 126 balls.

Babar - Aamir Queeshi/AFP
Babar - Aamir Queeshi/AFP

10:00 AM

Nick Hoult's verdict at tea

A wicketless afternoon and a trying day for England as Babar Azam became the seventh player to score a hundred.

Will Jacks is bowling better on debut and showing something for the future while Jack Leach is plugging away but with little penetration. Rehan Ahmed has been on the field as a sub, will England gamble in Multan and go with a bit of mystery? They sure need it: Pakistan are 411 for three.

Pakistan lost three wickets before lunch, but two were batsmen out playing aggressively and not quite pulling it off. Since then it has been hard yakka for England.

The pitch is benign and showing no signs of deterioration. It is going to be a long tour for bowlers.

Imam Ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique reached their hundreds before lunch, Babar brought his up just before tea and will not score many easier Test centuries. This came off 126 balls.

England have stuck with spin apart from a brief go with the seamers. Ben Stokes did not bowl until 45 minutes before tea, sending down a few bouncers to try something different. Ollie Pope has stood up to Ollie Robinson, James Anderson has experimented with close fields - five short on the offside  - trying to get a wicket with a mistimed drive.

Without any genuine pace and Liam Livingstone off the field injured and not likely to play today, England have no variety but it may not have made much difference anyway on this pitch.

09:58 AM

TEA: PAK 411/3 (Shakeel 37 Babar 106)

If the morning session was England's that session was most definitely Pakistan's and, more specifically, Babar's who brought up his eighth Test ton. While this match is pretty dull - thanks to the lifeless pitch - it is a joy to watch a master at work.

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09:56 AM

OVER 113: PAK 411/3 (Shakeel 35 Babar 106)

Leach bowls the last over before tea and Babar tickles him for two first ball down to fine leg. The penultimate ball Leach drops one just short (it definitely wasn't a rank long hop) and Babar stays low and pulls imperiously for four.

09:51 AM

OVER 112: PAK 405/3 (Shakeel 35 Babar 100)

Anderson bowls three dot balls before Shakeel - who's been the dictionary definition of watchful so far - decides to hit the GOAT over his head for four, ignoring the attention of the five close fielders on the off side. Funky fields is one option on this placid pitch but it's not working as yet...

09:43 AM

OVER 111: PAK 401/3 (Shakeel 31 Babar 100)

Stokes tries another short one but again it doesn't get that high and Babar thrashes it for four to cow corner - that's the 100 partnership and it's come serenely without any problems. A three - pushed to deep cover - for Shakeel follows and Babar is on strike, can he bring up his eighth Test ton?

YES. HE. CAN! A delightful backfoot push through extra cover for four taking him to three figures. He makes it look so easy and it's a pleasure to watch. It may have come in very helpful conditions but that ton has been a masterclass.

09:35 AM

OVER 110: PAK 388/3 (Shakeel 27 Babar 91)

Anderson continues his toil and Shakeel pushes for three through the off side. It should have been cut off but a misfield allows the batsmen to stretch their legs - if there's one bowler you don't want to do that to it's grumpy Jimmy...

09:30 AM

OVER 109: PAK 385/3 (Shakeel 24 Babar 91)

Stokes continues to bowl short and there's just two singles from the over. England could do with Mark Wood right now - his extra pace would at least offer something different.

09:26 AM

OVER 108: PAK 383/3 (Shakeel 23 Babar 90)

Jimmy Anderson returns and bowls a maiden. This match is now lacking any real excitement bar the odd brilliant Babar shot.

09:23 AM

More than one way to bat on this wicket

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09:21 AM

OVER 107: PAK 383/3 (Shakeel 23 Babar 90)

It's Stokes to continue and now he decides he's going to play the role of enforcer to Babar.

He starts with the inevitable bouncer and follows it up with another short one that doesn't even get higher than Babar's hips. Another bumper follows and the Pakistan captain ducks well. Stokes again bowls one short and again it doesn't get that high and Babar flat bats it down the ground for four to move into the 90s. It take real effort to get the ball above chest high on this pitch.

09:15 AM

OVER 106: PAK 379/3 (Shakeel 23 Babar 86)

England need an enforcer to bang it in and just bowl something other than the conventional. But they don't have a bowler to do that and this game is meandering to an inevitable draw...

Jacks continues with his gentle off spin, he has a slip and a leg slip but neither come into play as Shakeel sweeps well for four.

09:11 AM

OVER 105: PAK 373/3 (Shakeel 19 Babar 85)

It is indeed time for Stokes - what can he serve up - a bit of reverse or a bit of short stuff?

The uninspiring answer is neither. The England captain bowls conventional seam up and, worryingly, he's not really following through. The first two balls he pulls up quickly after releasing the ball. On a surface such as this it it worth him bowling and possibly injuring himself? I'd suggest not, but he knows best...Just one from the over.

09:06 AM

Brilliant Babar

Is looking in fine nick at the moment.

Babar - Getty Images
Babar - Getty Images

09:05 AM

OVER 104: PAK 373/3 (Shakeel 19 Babar 84)

The ball gone soft and perhaps it's time for Stokes - a bit of golden arm action?

For now it's Jacks and he induces a bit of a false stroke from Shakeel who sweeps in the air, but it's safe and the left-hander gets two for his troubles. Those are the only runs off that over.

09:03 AM

OVER 103: PAK 371/3 (Shakeel 17 Babar 84)

Babar moves into the 80s thanks to a pull off an absolute pie from Root - a half tracker that invited a boundary. Two balls later the Pakistan captain plays what looks like a baseball shot straight down the ground for another four. England are bowling wide to him and that's how he responds - brilliant from Babar.

It looks as though England are going through the motions at the moment - they look as flat as the pitch.

09:00 AM

OVER 102: PAK 363/3 (Shakeel 17 Babar 76)

Drinks have been taken and Shakeel is the dictionary definition of watchful as he plays out a maiden.

08:53 AM

OVER 101: PAK 363/3 (Shakeel 17 Babar 76)

Root is on as Leach is off the pitch at the moment. He opens up with absolute filth - a looping wide ball that is too wide for Babar to treat with distain, which is what it deserves. There's more of the same but the Pakistan captain refuses to throw bat at ball and, somehow, it's a maiden.

08:51 AM

OVER 100: PAK 363/3 (Shakeel 17 Babar 76)

Jacks continues, it's his 24th over and it's worth remembering that he's not generally regarded as a frontline spinner. Five from that over. This is all rather listless at the moment. Pakistan know that once they pass the follow on target this match is all but guaranteed to end in a draw.

08:47 AM

OVER 99: PAK 358/3 (Shakeel 16 Babar 72)

Batting is still very easy out there at the moment, there's absolutely nothing to cheer the bowlers who must be hoping that they'll be rewarded in their next life for their tedious toil. Five runs from that Leach over.

08:44 AM

OVER 98: PAK 353/3 (Shakeel 15 Babar 68)

Every time there's been a short ball Babar has lapped it up. He's so quick at picking up length - a mark of a great batsman - and when the bowler is Will Jacks he's definitely not going to look any gift horse in the mouth - the part-time spinner erring with his length and the Pakistan captain rocking back and pulling for four.

08:41 AM

OVER 97: PAK 348/3 (Shakeel 15 Babar 63)

Leach bowls another tidy over and there are just two from it.

Shakeel is watchful - Getty Images
Shakeel is watchful - Getty Images

08:37 AM

OVER 96: PAK 346/3 (Shakeel 14 Babar 62)

Jacks bowls round the wicket and just takes the edge of Babar's bat but it's a controlled shot, it falls short of Root and gets two runs from his trouble. The next ball the Pakistan captain rocks back and pulls majestically for four, he's looking in the zone and in fine touch at the moment.

08:34 AM

OVER 95: PAK 340/3 (Shakeel 14 Babar 56)

Shakeel is batting in a cap, a rarity these days. To be fair you could probably bat in a cap, Sir Viv style, against the quicks on this track and you'd be fine.

Just two singles from that Leach over.

08:31 AM

OVER 94: PAK 338/3 (Shakeel 13 Babar 55)

Bar that Babar six, it's all been rather pedestrian since lunch. Just a Shakeel single from that over.

Did someone say this was a flat, lifeless pitch?

08:27 AM

OVER 93: PAK 337/3 (Shakeel 12 Babar 55)

It's Leach to Shakeel and the batsman sweeps right out the meat of the bat for four. That boundary plus a well-scampered single are the only runs from the over.

Meanwhile, here's how Babar brought up his 50 - sit back and enjoy.

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08:24 AM

OVER 92: PAK 332/3 (Shakeel 7 Babar 55)

There's a hint of turn for Jacks, but no more than that as a single comes off that over.

08:21 AM

OVER 91: PAK 331/3 (Shakeel 6 Babar 55)

Leach returns at the other end and Babar rocks back and nudges him for two to square leg. England are doing well here but it's all rather conventional - left arm spin, traditional off spin and two fast medium bowlers - and that's not going to do much on this wicket.

Babar then decides enough is enough and comes down the track to hit the left-armer for six to reach his 50 - great shot from a fine player. As if to emphasise he's going up a gear he then pushes the ball for four through extra cover - that was an even better shot, pure timing. I do love watching him bat.

08:15 AM

OVER 90: PAK 319/3 (Shakeel 6 Babar 43)

Will Jacks is back on and second ball he bowls an absolute pie - it's short and Babar picks up the length quickly and pulls for four. He's quietly gone towards a half century without much fuss, as long as he's at the crease Pakistan will be fine regards the follow on.

08:12 AM

OVER 89: PAK 312/3 (Shakeel 6 Babar 36)

Pakistan need another 145 more runs to avoid the follow on, with seven wickets in hand that shouldn't be much of an issue especially if the batsmen are as watchful as this pair. BUT as I type Shakeel wafts outside off stump and Robinson has beaten the bat again - heady days!

Babar bits into the off side as the Pakistan captain plays himself in - Getty Images
Babar bits into the off side as the Pakistan captain plays himself in - Getty Images

08:06 AM

OVER 88: PAK 307/3 (Shakeel 3 Babar 34)

There are three close (ish) fielders on the off side and two on the leg for Anderson but Babar and Shakeel are both watchful as another over without much event passes.

I say 'without much event' but one ball did hit the splice of Shakeel's bat...that's about the level of excitement out there at the moment as the Pakistan pair refuse to throw bat at ball, as is their right.

08:02 AM

OVER 86: PAK 306/3 (Shakeel 3 Babar 33)

This pair are being as patient at the crease as England are in the field - it's not making for any excitement BUT as I type those words Robinson beats the outside edge of Babar. YES, your eyes are not deceiving you, someone has played and missed on this pitch, remarkable!

07:56 AM

OVER 85: PAK 304/3 (Shakeel 2 Babar 32)

The day one fireworks have most definitely been replaced by a more conventional approach to Test cricket these past 24 hours or so - am sure there are some purists out there breathing a sigh of relief for some strange reason...

Two runs from that Anderson over.

07:52 AM

OVER 84: PAK 302/3 (Shakeel 1 Babar 31)

It's Robinson from the other end and first ball Shakeel drops the ball into the off side and he's off the mark and that's his first run in Test cricket. That' and another single from Babar are the only runs from the over. Patience is still the order of the day.

07:47 AM

OVER 83: PAK 300/3 (Shakeel 0 Babar 30)

Jimmy Anderson bowls the first over after lunch and there's no sign of any conventional swing as Babar flicks him for two off his legs for two. That brings up the 300 for the hosts.

Sky just brings up Anderson's stats in Asia over the past 10 years - 42 wickets at 21, useful...before that he had 32 at 35, talk about getting better with age.

07:08 AM

Lunch time verdict from Nick Hoult in Rawalpindi

England are running through Pakistan in Rawalpindi. Well, perhaps not quite but three wickets in a session after such a turgid day two is progress.

Jack Leach grabbed two and Will Jacks his first in Test cricket as England conjured wickets out of nowhere; Pakistan 298-3, 359 behind at the break.

Two wickets came through batsman error - centurions Imam Ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique getting out playing aggressively but Azhar Ali was pinned lbw on the back foot by Leach, a good dismissal.

England tried everything - wobble seam, knuckle balls, fancy fields, spinners bowling bouncers. Ollie Pope stood up to Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes employed six close in catchers for Anderson, four in front of the bat, to try and manufacture a wicket on a dead pitch.

The masterstroke was taking the new ball and giving it to Leach. Perhaps a bit harder, it skidded on and Azhar missed trying to turn it to the leg side.

Jacks snaffled his first Test wicket, a drag down that was edged behind by Shafique, Pope taking a decent catch which should lift his confidence after a difficult second day.

Imam picked out Ollie Robinson at long off to give Leach his first wicket and Azhar was dropped on 20 by Zak Crawley at leg slip off Anderson.

Hundreds by Shfaique and Imam created history, this being the first time all four openers have scored centuries in the first innings of a Test. Their 225 run stand followed the 233 by Crawley and Ben Duckett on day one - breaking new ground with double century opening stands in both innings never happening before in Test history.

Liam Livingstone is off the field with a knee injury leaving England a bowler short and predictable without any variation, just finger spin and right arm medium fast.

07:05 AM

LUNCH: PAK 298/3 (Shakeel 0 Babar 28)

That was a good session for England. To get rid of both openers and Azhar on this flattest of flat tracks is great work. It's hard to take wickets on this surface, so to take three in a session is nothing to be sniffed at.


07:03 AM

OVER 82: PAK 298/3 (Shakeel 0 Babar 28)

Babar is such a good batsman to watch and he serves up Exhibit A in that argument as he cuts Leach for four. A two and a single follows from the Pakistan captain and that's lunch.

07:01 AM

OVER 82: PAK 291/3 (Shakeel 0 Babar 21)

It's Root from the other end with the new ball - Babar gets a single and Shakeel is on strike, he's sees off the remaining five balls without fuss.

06:57 AM

OVER 81: PAK 290/3 (Shakeel 0 Babar 20)

Good captaincy from Stokes to take the new ball and give it to his main spinner. The extra zip off the pitch defeating Azhar there.

Shakeel is the new batsman and he's crowded by close fielders but sees off the last ball of that fine Leach over.

06:55 AM


Azhar  lbw b Leach 27

England do indeed take the new ball and it's Leach with the new cherry. Three runs come off the first four balls before Leach has his man - Azhar caught on the crease lbw!

Azhar reviews and the replay shows there's no inside edge and it would have gone on to hit leg stump.

FOW - 290/3

06:51 AM

OVER 80: PAK 287/2 (Azhar 26 Babar 18)

Anderson is bowling gun-barrel straight but as soon as he errs on line it's easy for the batters as when Azhar chops him for four down to the vacant third man area. Those are the only runs from the over and the new ball is due - will they take it with the old ball reversing?

06:46 AM

OVER 79: PAK 283/2 (Azhar 22 Babar 18)

There's definitely a bit of reverse swing out there, so something for Robinson and Anderson to work with. But that doesn't matter when there's a half volley wide of off stump, and Babar slashes it for four. Pope is standing up to Robinson who doesn't help the part-time wicketkeeper by bowling a pie down leg for four byes...

06:42 AM

OVER 78: PAK 272/2 (Azhar 21 Babar 12)

It's time for Jimmy Anderson! He has two men in close (ish) on the leg side and another two close on the off side, but they don't bother Azhar as he punishes a full ball by timing it for four through extra cover. With this field it's a case of beating those close fielders and it's a boundary. Last ball of the over Azhar glances one that just, just evades Crawley at leg slip. It was chance but just a slight one...

06:36 AM

Here's a stat

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06:34 AM

OVER 77: PAK 267/2 (Azhar 16 Babar 12)

Robinson drops one short and Azhar doesn't look this gift horse in the mouth and punches it for four through cover. The England bowler lets him know he's still there by bowling a bouncer next up. Another bumper follows - that takes some effort on this pitch.

06:30 AM

OVER 76: PAK 259/2 (Azhar 9 Babar 12)

Just an Azhar single off that set of six balls.

06:29 AM

Another use for Jack Leach

Always make yourself indisposable...

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06:25 AM

OVER 75: PAK 258/2 (Azhar 8 Babar 12)

Robinson continues his toil and is whipped through mid-wicket for two by Babar. Trying to take the positive out of the this-pitch-is-flat negative the ball is looking like it's thinking it might reverse swing...tenuous, I know...

06:22 AM

OVER 74: PAK 256/2 (Azhar 8 Babar 10)

Jacks is hit for a majestic four through cover by the beautiful Babar. There's still very little for the bowlers to work with and you think this pair will know it's a case of get in and make hay while the sun shines.

Stokes sets his field - AP
Stokes sets his field - AP

06:18 AM

OVER 73: PAK 251/2 (Azhar 8 Babar 5)

The important figure at the start of this over is 408 - that's the number of runs Pakistan trail by, so 208 to avoid the follow-on.

Leach is having the ball shined on his head - no saliva post Covid so needs must...It's time for pace as Robinson comes on. Babar plays a straight, watchful bat and picks off a single to deep square leg.

06:11 AM

OVER 72: PAK 249/2 (Azhar 8 Babar 4)

There are signs that this pitch is dying, Azhar is almost through a shot before a Jacks ball reaches him.

It's a maiden.

06:09 AM

OVER 71: PAK 249/2 (Azhar 8 Babar 4)

The modern-day great Babar comes out to the crease and England have a slight window of opportunity. Just slight, but on this wicket you have to be as positive and possible. As I type Babar is off the mark with whip through leg for four - class written all over that shot.

06:07 AM


Imam c Robinson b Leach 121

The opener comes down the track and tries to launch Leach over his head for six - he doesn't get all of it and Ollie Robinson is lurking with intent on the long on boundary and takes the chance. As with the first wicket, that really came out of nowhere.

FOW: 245/2

06:04 AM

OVER 70: PAK 245/1 (Azhar 8 Imam 121 )

The ball is turning, it is day three after all, but it's slow spin and easy to play. Six runs from the over that ends with and Azhar four, another sweep,  to square leg.

06:02 AM

Will Macpherson on Will Jacks

Will Jacks' bowling is a major work in progress, and really he should be playing as no more than a sixth bowler and third spinner, and he's probably a little higher up the pecking order than that. But there is something there and, under the tutelage of Gareth Batty at Surrey and with some help from England, you could see him developing into a very handy option. You'd think the shape of his action – little bit of Vaughan? – will mean he's always going to be quite an attacking off-spinner who risks going for a few but is capable of picking up wickets.

06:00 AM

OVER 69: PAK 239/1 (Azhar 4 Imam 119 )

It's an all Somerset contest at the moment with Leach bowling to Imam, Azhar at the other end, all three from the cider country.

The pitch is way too flat to call it Ciderabad - oh for a bit of turn, oh for a bit of anything out of this pitch.

It's a Leach maiden.

05:58 AM

Here's a pic of that Shafique wicket

It was a good catch from Pope.


05:55 AM

That 'breakthrough'

Stone the crows - I have a wicket to show you!

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05:53 AM

OVER 68: PAK 239/1 (Azhar 4 Imam 119 )

Azhar is off the mark with a sweep for four off Jacks. He's not a big sweeper of the ball but the bat is crowded by fielders and all he has to is beat the field and it's a four and time for drinks.

05:48 AM

From Nick Hoult

Concern builds over Liam Livingstone. He jarred his knee fielding yesterday. This morning he bowled a handful of balls before the start of play but went off shaking his head and has not taken the field. 

05:48 AM

OVER 67: PAK 232/1 (Azhar 0 Imam 116 )

Imam clubs Leach for six first ball of the over - he's using his feet well at the moment and having seen his opening partner go you suspect he'll try and not make the same mistake as Shafique and make one of those Daddy hundreds. Seven from the over.

05:45 AM

OVER 66: PAK 225/1 (Azhar 0 Imam 109 )

Well that wicket came out of nowhere - the ball was perhaps a bit too close to cut. It was quite a thick edge that Pope did well to take. It's Jacks' first Test wicket - hurrah.

Azhar is the new batsman and second ball there's a decent shout for lbw - it looks as though it's hit him outside the line of off stump and Stokes decides not to review. BUT suddenly there's a bit of interest for England as that ball spun a little.

05:42 AM


Shafique c Pope b Jacks 114

It's time for Will Jacks...and first ball it's time for a Shafique four through cover. Both Pakistan batters are picking up lenght well here and if you're doing that on this track then you are winning the uneven battle.

Then OUT OF NOWHERE Jacks bowls a wide one and Shafique cuts into the hands of Pope behind the stumps.

FOW: 225/1 

05:36 AM

OVER 65: PAK 221/0 (Shafique 110 Imam 109 )

Leach continues to toil from one end - there's little to give him encouragement bar the fact that just one comes from the over.

05:32 AM

OVER 64: PAK 220/0 (Shafique 109 Imam 109 )

Root continues from the other end and it's more of the same - no chances, flat track and just two runs from it until Root tries a bouncer that Imam gets on top off and pulls for four through mid-wicket. Yep, it's early in the day and already Root, yes Root, is bowling bouncers.

05:30 AM

Shafique after his ton

Shafique - Getty Images
Shafique - Getty Images

05:28 AM

OVER 63: PAK 214/0 (Shafique 109 Imam 103 )

Leach continue to toil at one end, Shafique hits him for four through cover and those are the only runs of the over.

Prediction: this is going to be a long day in the field for England.

05:26 AM

OVER 62: PAK 210/0 (Shafique 105 Imam 103 )

Root dangles the carrot and Imam tries to hit him for four over the infield, he doesn't quite catch it and it goes for just the two. He's now in the nervous 90s and Stokes brings in the field. That's no bother to him as he clips the part-time spinner for four thrrough leg. It's the fourth ton for an opener in three days. As I say it's a road

05:22 AM

OVER 61: PAK 204/0 (Shafique 105 Imam 97 )

A Leach maiden - England will take what small mercies they can get at the moment. This is clearly going to be a long day in the field barring a miracle.

05:17 AM

OVER 60: PAK 204/0 (Shafique 105 Imam 97 )

Root bowls and they are clearly trying to get in the mind of Imam, moving the field this way and that, is a good over and a maiden at that. Hurrah  (if you're English).

05:14 AM

OVER 59: PAK 204/0 (Shafique 105 Imam 97 )

England have started with spinners - Leach is on at the moment - and Imam is looking to make it the fourth opener to get a ton out of four. He's definitely in the nervous 90s as there's a dodgy run that nearly sees the end of him. He survives, though, and is now three short of that ton.

05:09 AM

OVER 58: PAK 197/0 (Shafique 101 Imam 94 )

Morning all and sorry for delayed start - technical issues at Telegraph Towers.

So far today there have been no wickets - no shock there - but Shafique has gone to his century. This track is still looking as flat as they come - again no shock there.