Eng­land on the rocks

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tim Wig­more

Eng­land are un­der huge pres­sure to avoid go­ing be­hind in their Test se­ries against Pak­istan, af­ter clos­ing on 92 for four on the sec­ond day of the open­ing Test, still trail­ing Pak­istan by 234 runs.

Af­ter Pak­istan dis­missed Eng­land’s top four – in­clud­ing the cru­cial wick­ets of Ben Stokes and Joe Root – in a cap­ti­vat­ing fi­nal ses­sion, Jofra Archer ad­mit­ted that Pak­istan’s at­tack posed a ma­jor threat.

“They’re a world-class team and they prob­a­bly have one of the best bowl­ing line-ups on the Test cir­cuit,” Archer said af­ter Pak­istan had un­leashed their much-hyped

young quick pair of Sha­heen Afridi and Naseem Shah on Eng­land, “Not ev­ery ses­sion is go­ing to go your way.”

Af­ter Sha­heen had dis­missed Rory Burns leg be­fore wicket with the fourth ball, seam bowler Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas snared Dom Si­b­ley lbw and then clean bowled Ben

Stokes for a duck to leave Eng­land in dis­ar­ray at 12 for three.

Yasir Shah – one of Pak­istan’s two leg-spin­ners – then re­moved cap­tain Root, who was at­tempt­ing to cut the ball.

The wick­ets leave Eng­land de­pen­dent upon the un­de­feated pair of Ol­lie Pope and Jos But­tler – who reached 46 and 15 not out re­spec­tively at the close – if they are to get any­where near chal­leng­ing Pak­istan’s to­tal of 326.

Eng­land’s po­si­tion is espe­cially pre­car­i­ous be­cause they se­lected a five-man bowl­ing at­tack, with Chris Woakes – who made one run in two in­nings in last month’s Test se­ries against the West Indies – at No7.

“We just need to get as close to, or past, their to­tal,” Archer said. “The wicket is get­ting eas­ier to bat

on and I have no doubt that the two not-out can go on and score big.

“I think they can put on a re­ally big part­ner­ship and help swing the mo­men­tum of the game in our favour.”

Archer bowled im­pres­sively to take three for 59 from 22 overs, and spoke for the first time since miss­ing the sec­ond Test against West Indies af­ter breach­ing quar­an­tine rules. “I’m very happy to be back,” he said. “I’m fine, I’m back play­ing cricket again. What­ever hap­pened last se­ries is gone and I’m just glad that at the start of this se­ries I got three wick­ets to my name.”

Archer, who en­joyed a spec­tac­u­lar maiden in­ter­na­tional sum­mer last year in the World Cup and Ashes, ad­mit­ted that play­ers have found the biose­cure ar­range­ments and the lack of crowds at in­ter­na­tional games chal­leng­ing.

“It’s been a bit weird,” he said. Archer has been se­lected for all three of the Tests that he has been avail­able for this sum­mer. “It’s nice to get some play­ing time out there,” he said. “It’s also nice to get some wick­ets as well. I felt like I bowled well against the West Indies I just didn’t have any­thing to show for it.”

Clean bowled: Eng­land all-rounder Ben Stokes is dis­missed by Pak­istan pace­man Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas for a duck at Emi­rates Old Traf­ford yes­ter­day, with a ball that straight­ened, beat the out­side edge and hit off stump

Still fight­ing: Jofra Archer be­lieves Eng­land can match tourists’ to­tal

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