REVIEW: Duckett lbw Abrar 61 – NOT OUT!
Ooof – Duckett survives! Reverse sweep and miss, he is given on the pitch, he reviews and, after a while, the telereferee gives him the benefit of the doubt after he appears to have been knocked on the glove.
Fifty for Ben Duckett!
18th over: England 115-1 (Duckett 61, Pope 32) The English locker room drinks instruction seems to have been FORWARD. Pope immediately performs a reverse sweep for four, then Duckett reaches fifty with a past slide, past a diving Babar. He celebrates by slamming Mahmood for six next balls and breaking through coverage for four more. Mahmood frowns as Babar waves his field somewhat ineffectively.
17th over: England 97-1 (Duckett 48, Pope 27) Abrar chews on his (extremely long) right thumb thoughtfully, as Duckett sweeps it twice for four in the most. As Vic Marks says, he is not badly played, it’s just that England want to destabilize him.
They take DRINKS! England continue to accumulate at an extremely fast pace, facing two spinner wrists.
16th over: England 86-1 (Duckett 39, Pope 25) Tip and run for England, who are sweeping for fun.
15th over: England 79-1 (Duckett 38, Pope 19) Abrar crosses another part, into which England slips, collecting ten, but not without danger. A blazing oven with glittering fingers from Pope, very busy this morning.
14th over: England 69-1 (Duckett 34, Pope 13) Imam ul Haq cracks on the shin with a Duckett sweep and a magic spray is generously applied. A super premiere from Zahid Mahmood, who immediately finds it sparkling. Pope gropes a couple and is then given a lbw who looks very weird, but upon examination turns out to have touched his glove. Pope immediately sweeps the next ball, the cocky young pup.
13th over: England 66-1 (Duckett 33, Pope 11) A good response from Abrar, containing England to a single point.
12th over: England 65-1 (Duckett 32, Pope 11) It’s Mohammad Ali, under a dirty sky, almost illuminated by a winter sun. Duckett, who has a touch of Mike Gattings about him, albeit in a 21st century fashion, shoots with authority for four. Pope picks up a handy handful of bachelors.
“Hello Tanya (and John Starbuck!).” Hello Brian Withington.
“It looks like the fog is slowly clearing in Multan, whereas here in Dorridge ‘it’s cold blooded ‘innit?’, as Cery Matthews might say. May I say I am quietly relieved that the England openers have refrained from doing too much pyrotechnics so far, while some of us more mature OBOs are still recovering from the glorious madness of the first test.
11th over: England 55-1 (Duckett 27, Pope 6) Ok, England are obviously trying to take Abrar out of the attack. Oh cruel Duckett, sweeping two looping deliveries for two consecutive fours.
10th over: England 44-1 (Duckett 18, Pope 4) Just a couple of Mohammad Ali, who keep hooking up.
Ben Barclay asks: IIn the photo, the bleachers are empty. Could you be more precise ? Hi Ben, it seems there are only a handful, although they are quite lively – Barmy Army singing in Jerusalem and Pakistani musicians. Commentators said they expect more to arrive as the day goes on. The game started at 10 a.m. Multan time.
9th over: England 42-1 (Duckett 16, Pope 4) Ah! The debutante rolls, a touch of sunscreen and a pair of glasses. He throws his first ball, Crawley picks up two. He keeps throwing it and what a way to start Test cricket! Crawley does by one he pulls away. Pope, in a power move from Bazz, knocks him down for four first balls.
COUNTER! Crawley b Abrar 19 (England 38-1)
A wicket with his fifth ball in Test cricket! Crawley did like a herring playing around a googly highfalutin. Bat under his arm, he leaves as Abrar is assaulted.
8th over: England 36-0 (Crawley 16, Duckett 16) Two soft borders for England, another imperious drive from Crawley and a flurry halfway from Duckett.
7th over: England 27-0 (Crawley 12, Duckett 12) Duckett slams Faheem through the back stitch for four and three more for his size. England pick up the pace here.
6th over: England 18-0 (Crawley 5, Duckett 7) A maiden for Mohammad Ali, who starts this Trial much better than the previous one.
“News from the field? asks Andrew Miles. “Another dusty road or signs of something different?”
“I’m only up because I thought I heard an intruder, but I’m pretty sure no one is there. I would get up and check, but it’s cold.
I have no proof of this, but I think burglars are less common when it’s below zero. It would put me off anyway. Maybe turn up the volume on TMS, I’m sure that’ll scare him. Either way, the terrain feels a little less road like and it’s prone to cracking and taking spins.
5th over: England 18-0 (Crawley 11, Duckett 5) Ooof, a touch of spin from Faheem as he sends a cutter. Another snazzy on Crawley’s drive for four.
4th over: England 14-0 (Crawley 11, Duckett 5) The drums beat a rhythm in the bleachers. A good scatter so far, but they expect more later. Lots of excitement about 24-year-old bespectacled mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed. Just three from Ali, it’s over.
3rd over: England 11-0 (Crawley 4, Duckett 5) It’s the first time Faheem Ashraf has taken the new ball in 15 tests. Crawley out of place with a long-legged square drive in a top hat and tails.
“Hello, Tanya”, hello John Starbuck!
“For once, I am standing before the larks (in both directions). I guess you could say “before the bats have gone to bed” except that by this time they should all be hibernating in their roosts. Before the owls come home? Too-white, Too-who.
2nd over: England 6-0 (Crawley 0, Duckett 5) Duckett tickles Mohammad Ali from behind and picks up a pressure on a boundary. Some smart lineups in the ring cut another and overall a much better start for Pakistan.
1st over: England 0-0 (Crawley 0, Duckett) Faheem Ashraf has the ball on a cracked pitch like a hard-boiled egg with a medium crack. And, against all odds, a young girl emerges.
There’s a touch of fog in the air but they leave on time!
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zahid Mahmood, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali
Three changes confirmed: injured Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf as well as Azhar Ali are missing, mysterious spinner Abrar Ahmed makes his Test debut, joined by slow left hander Mohammad Nawaz and versatile bowler Faheem Ashraf .
England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
Just a change, Wood for injured Livingstone.
England win the coin toss and will beat
A definite issue is the air quality today in Multan, which is considered unhealthy. Polluted air is particularly harmful to people who exercise, as well as to children, pregnant women and the elderly. Where is the ICC?
Greetings from a cold and freezing UK. The Christmas carols are playing and from here things look bright at Multan, one of the world’s least prominent cricket stadiums. The ground only made its Test debut in 2001, today’s second Test between England and Pakistan will be its fifth bells and whistles Test cap.
What did we learn in the, uh, three days from the end of the totally amazing balls to the last test with all those men prowling close enough to pull the loose threads on Mohammad Ali’s shirt and the light that went dramatically introduced? Well, Ben Stokes stroked his beard and suggested he might take even more extreme tactics because of Multan’s early morning fog and late afternoon twilight. At this point, nothing would be surprising.
On the team side, Mark Wood replaces injured Liam Livingstone in an unsimilar exchange; while Ollie Pope keeps the gloves on the recovered Ben Foakes – which is bad luck, so understandably from an England perspective.
Pakistan seem to be without Naseem Shah after picking up an injury in the first Test, and are definitely without the injured Haris Rauf. Babar Azam reportedly asked for a rotating pitch – but let’s wait and see.
Well, I have to go to bed and sleep for a few hours. See you soon – the game starts at 5am GMT.