Bowlers put Pak­istan in the driv­ing seat af­ter an­other per­plex­ing day for Eng­land

➤ Root’s mud­dled think­ing makes for a dis­as­trous day ➤ Pak­istan tear out core of bat­ting to make hosts suf­fer

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport First Test - By Nick Hoult

For the sec­ond day Eng­land were abysmal in the af­ter­noon, which will cost them badly

How do you cre­ate an elec­tric at­mos­phere in an empty sta­dium? With the kind of skil­ful, ex­hil­a­rat­ing fast bowl­ing and wrist spin that Pak­istan pro­duced to seize hold of this first Test.

They top­pled the se­nior core of Joe Root and Ben Stokes in the evening sun­shine, and at 92 for four Eng­land des­per­ately need some­one to part­ner Ol­lie Pope this morn­ing if they are to get close to Pak­istan’s 326. Pope is the glim­mer of hope, un­beaten on 46, and with him is Jos But­tler, who owes the team af­ter miss­ing three chances be­hind the stumps, with two off Shan Ma­sood cost­ing 111 runs.

Some­one will have to play like Ma­sood to turn around a game Eng­land let slip from their grasp af­ter lunch with some odd tac­ti­cal de­ci­sions and list­less cricket that Pak­istan ex­ploited.

Af­ter years of play­ing in de­serted, soul­less dust bowls in the United Arab Emi­rates, they know how to whip them­selves up and were all over Eng­land in a test­ing 28 overs be­fore the close. Even their re­serves did their bit, sit­ting on their ho­tel room bal­conies, cheer­ing their team-mates on with cries of Shabash (Urdu for “well done”).

It helps when you have bowlers such as Sha­heen Afridi, a big lef­t­armer with bags of pace and move­ment in to the right-han­ders, and the magic of Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas, who left Stokes open-mouthed in shock af­ter bowl­ing him for a duck with a ball that straight­ened, beat the out­side edge and hit off stump. The raw pace of 17-year-old Naseem Shah – swing­ing it both ways – did not yield a wicket but promised plenty.

Af­ter Ma­sood’s ca­reer-best 156 lifted Pak­istan to a to­tal worth more than 400 in friend­lier bat­ting con­di­tions in other parts of the world, they showed real threat with the new ball, in a way Eng­land have failed to do in this game. In the first over, Sha­heen straight­ened a full ball into Rory Burns’s pads. Sha­heen stood legs spread, arms aloft in vic­tory when the re­view ver­dict was de­liv­ered.

In his next over, Sha­heen hooped one in to Root, who was given out leg be­fore but saved from a duck by a re­view. It did not mat­ter; the sec­ond wicket did not take long. Ab­bas, so art­ful with the Dukes ball, ex­posed Dom Si­b­ley’s tech­nique. Si­b­ley moved over to off stump to cover the away swinger but was done by the nip-backer. Chest on, and with nowhere to go, he missed the ball by more than a width of a bat to be lbw for eight.

With Stokes gone two overs later, Eng­land were reel­ing at 12 for three. Root worked his way to 14 off 58 balls; it did not mat­ter how many he scored, just that he stayed in un­til the close. But his pa­tience snapped. He tried to cut Yasir Shah but man­aged only a thin out­side edge.

Eng­land needed their own ver­sion of Ma­sood, some­one to hang around and see off the new ball.

His fourth Test cen­tury, and third in three in­nings, was su­perbly paced. He shared a 102-run stand for the sixth wicket with Shadab Khan in 22 overs af­ter lunch that turned the Test Pak­istan’s way, as they ex­ploited some poor Eng­land bowl­ing and tac­ti­cal de­ci­sions.

Eng­land started strongly, reel­ing off six maid­ens in a row, hit­ting a con­sis­tent line and length, with James An­der­son re­mov­ing the over­con­fi­dent Babar Azam in his first over. Eng­land squeezed and Pak­istan floun­dered, los­ing three wick­ets for 48 be­fore lunch, but Ma­sood stub­bornly hung on.

For the sec­ond day run­ning, though, Eng­land were abysmal in the af­ter­noon, and it will cost them badly in this game. With five overs un­til the new ball, Root opted to bowl him­self and Dom Bess, serv­ing up easy runs to ac­com­plished play­ers of spin. Bowl­ing Bess was fine, but with four seam­ers at his dis­posal, Root had bet­ter op­tions than him­self.

Stuart Broad and An­der­son wasted the sec­ond new ball, con­ced­ing 42 from eight overs. It is not un­usual for the harder ball to trig­ger quicker scor­ing, but this was not bats­men driv­ing and of­fer­ing chances, they just put away poor balls for four. Again, Root’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing was per­plex­ing. With four seam­ers in his at­tack, he re­placed An­der­son with Bess, just nine overs into the sec­ond new ball. He waited un­til 30 min­utes be­fore tea to in­tro­duce Jofra Archer and tried to use Chris Woakes in­stead as the en­forcer. Woakes takes his wick­ets by hit­ting the chan­nel out­side off stump, not bang­ing it in, but here he was bowl­ing in­ef­fec­tive bounc­ers to a leg-side field.

Ma­sood and Shadab grabbed their chances, com­bin­ing for Pak­istan’s first sixth-wicket cen­tury stand in Eng­land. They ran hard, pinch­ing sin­gles and wind­ing up their op­po­nents. Flus­tered, Eng­land con­ceded over­throws, and served up some easy hits, so Ma­sood was able to show that he is more than a blocker.

He moved through the gears: his first fifty was ground out off 156 balls, his sec­ond took 95, his third only 60 as he mar­shalled the tail su­perbly and took Bess apart.

Bess did have some joy, with Shadab caught at mid-on slog­ging, but But­tler dropped Yasir on five off an out­side edge. Archer struck twice in two balls re­mov­ing Yasir without adding to his score as Pak­istan’s long tail of­fered easy pick­ings. But Ma­sood was, by now, brim­ming with con­fi­dence.

He swept Bess for four, whacked him over mid­wicket for six and then smoked an­other down the ground two balls later.

It was a fine in­nings, the first cen­tury in Eng­land by a Pak­istan opener since 1996. What hap­pened that sum­mer? They won the se­ries.

No an­swer to that: Eng­land’s Ben Stokes is left open-mouthed af­ter be­ing bowled by Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas, who wheels away to cel­e­brate with his ju­bi­lant Pak­istan team-mates

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