3rd Test – Pakistan End England First Innings at 297 Runs in Birmingham

August 04 15:27 2016

New Delhi, Thursday, August 4 – At Edgbaston in Birmingham, Pakistan and England met each other to contest in second Test match, which started a day ago amid good cheers from the crowd. Alastair Cook – led side included Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson and Alex Hales. The players to sit on bench were Jake Ball, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes.

Possibility of witnessing good game between the visitors and hosts was high given that it was the matter of taking lead in the ongoing Test series, which began from the middle of July. English cricketers bounced back in the contest at a perfect time by winning the second Test by a humongous margin of 330 runs. The victory wasn’t easy at all particularly at a stage when Pakistan pulverised them in the 1st match by 75 runs, taking the opponents by surprise. As the game of just first day has taken place, it will be very early to say that they can’t nullify possibility of a possible defeat when most of the players succumbed easily to Pakistan bowling attack, which was a success a day ago as well.

Those picked in Pakistan Playing XI to perform were Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed – the wicket-keeper, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali. Expectations were up from Misbah-ul-Haq and he did not disappoint, encouraging his men to do something well in the game that could bring some hope for them right from the start. At the same time, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Zulfiqar Babar, Imran Khan, Shan Masood and Wahab Riaz were the players to sit on bench. Pakistan won the toss and decided to bowl first. Playing with strengths, they made England go back to the dressing room at a score of 297. The start wasn’t good as Alex Hales lost his wicket to S Khan when 10th over was in progress and he was playing at an individual score of 17 runs, which comprised three boundaries as well.

Alastair Cook eyed a partnership but that did not come from Joe Root, who also succumbed to S Khan after scoring 3 runs in 6 balls. The next number to go back to the dressing room was of the opener Cook as he got his legs before wicket when Rahat Ali was brought into attack. He fell 5 runs short to get a fifty. Eight classy shots by him made Pakistan fielders do some running on the crease. The next-man in was Gary Ballance. He and Vince stitched a partnership of 69 runs. S Khan also brought James Vince’s innings to an end when Younis Khan took a timely catch. Vince scored 39 runs in 65 balls, together with six boundaries. Jonny Bairstow – the England wicket-keeper batsman, struck a boundary but couldn’t go beyond scoring 12 runs off 16 balls since S Khan was on fire. Yasir Shah finished the impressive stint of Gary Ballance, who sent the ball towards the fences for 11 times and pocketed 70 runs in 150 balls, being the highest scorer from England side. From this point onwards, wickets began to fall at different time intervals without significant contribution from tail-ender batsmen.

Moeen Ali was making all efforts to carry on attaining some runs by placing the ball into the gaps but same attitude wasn’t seen among others. Chris Woakes was dismissed by Rahat Ali at a score of 9 (4 x 2) and Stuart Broad by M Amir at 13 runs, along with a couple of 4s. Ali was playing at an individual score of 63, inclusive of seven boundaries, when M Amir earned his wicket. The first innings of the England came to an end when James Anderson was lbw by S Khan at a score of 5, which included a boundary too. Steven Finn was not out at 15 runs off 25 balls. Some batting skills were shown by Finn since he struck three boundaries. Six extras were bowled by Pakistan in the play of 86 overs. Sohail Khan stood out with a fifer. Amir and Rahat Ali got two wickets each, while Yasir Shah earned one wicket. It is clear from yesterday’s play that if the hosts want to stop Pakistan from pocketing another Test win as they did in the beginning, they will need to try out different bowling options with confidence so that Pa
kistan batsmen fumble post not reading the moods of deliveries.

To cut a long story short, Pakistan have robust chance to rise once again on Day 2 of the match but focused play will be vital in all contexts. Despite the fact that Pakistan skipper tried only four bowling options but well capitalized their potential, which send England on the back foot. Fans of the home side are yet excited and believe Cook and his men to have grip in the contest in next to no time. Here is to describe that the host have been in good form in the Test format from the last several months. Aside from terrific performance against Sri Lanka in the series that held lately, they logged a memorable wins on Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, giving no chance to the oppositions to mark a comeback. Pakistan, on the other hand, would certainly did not want to succumb to England as this could create a lot of troubles for them if cricketers do not perform up to the mark. Batting wasn’t the highlight of their’s in their previous match. Pakistan fans are keen to see result oriented performance to be positive about logging one more win in the series and get desired lead.

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