Bowlers had Pak­istan on the ropes but tourists showed plenty of fight

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Sir Ge­of­frey Boy­cott

Iam glad Eng­land se­lected the same team that won the last Test against West Indies. If cap­tain Joe Root and coach Chris Sil­ver­wood felt this was their best team two weeks ago, why change it now?

All the Eng­land play­ers should be on top of the world, with con­fi­dence sky-high, af­ter a mas­sive win over West Indies. All the bowlers have had a week’s rest, so any talk of rest­ing or ro­tat­ing ei­ther of the two older bowlers, James An­der­son and Stu­art Broad, should not ap­ply. If ei­ther of them has a heavy work­load this match then one or both could be rested to be ready for the third Test.

In the morn­ing ses­sion, with four main-line seam­ers, Eng­land were able to ro­tate them in spells, keep­ing the Pak­istan bats­men un­der pres­sure.

With the Dukes ball, murky skies and a fresh pitch, when a cap­tain has four qual­ity seam­ers in English con­di­tions, bat­ting is very hard work. The seam­ers are al­ways fresh, they are at you and oc­ca­sion­ally bowl magic balls that you hope you play and miss! You never feel you are in, and it is a strug­gle to score runs as you spend more time try­ing not to get out in­stead of scor­ing runs. De­fence is ab­so­lutely cru­cial.

Be­fore lunch, un­der bowl­ing pres­sure, the Pak­istan bats­men could only score slowly, and they could never re­lax or en­joy bat­ting. It was a bat­tle to keep their con­cen­tra­tion and keep their wick­ets in­tact. I en­joyed a tough con­fronta­tion be­tween bat and ball, but some guys can get frus­trated and make mis­takes.

At lunch, Pak­istan were only 53 for two and the sit­u­a­tion could have got worse very quickly.

But Shan Ma­sood and Babar Azam played re­ally well. Bat­ting

be­came a bit eas­ier as the ball got older, and Pak­istan could think them­selves un­lucky that just when they were get­ting into a good po­si­tion, with two bats­men well set, the rain came.

Af­ter the restart, Jos But­tler missed a sit­ter of a stump­ing. The left-han­der Ma­sood had a brain­storm and jumped down the pitch far too early at Dom Bess. He was so far down he could have been run out! Off-spin­ner to left-han­der should be the eas­i­est to take, as the wick­et­keeper has a clear, un­in­ter­rupted view of the ball. Jos never got a glove on it as the ball hit him on the left shoul­der. I re­alise the ball bounced a bit, but it was a bad miss.

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