Abrar’s magical delivery to eliminate Pope:
28th over: England 122-4 (Stokes 12, Brook 33) They’re talking football and fishing on comms right now, so things have calmed down a bit.
27th: England 120-4 (Brook 32, Stokes 11) Stokes sweeps and the ball bounces to hit Abdullah Shafique short-legged on the helmet. A brief break in the game afterwards to make sure he’s okay – and it looks like it.
26th over: England 118-4 (Stokes 10, Brook 31) Stokes sees air and sweeps Nauman hard for his first boundary.
25th over: England 110-4 (Brook 29, Stokes 4) Abrar screams home with an lbw call against Stokes, but the ball appears to be thrown outside the leg. A fast, flat, straight follows Brook, who pretty much keeps him clear.
24th over: England 108-4 (Stokes 3, Brook 28) Stokes and Brook trade singles as Nauman continues.
23rd: England 105-4 (Stokes 1, Brook 27) Stokes runs down the lane to go off the mark with a single before Brook finishes the over with a straight six. As you do.
COUNTER! Pope b Abrar 51 (England 98-4)
Oh, you don’t play that. Abrar deploys a beaut, drawing in the forward press before spinning the ball and shaking the stumps. A magic bowling piece.
Fifty for Olie Pope!
22nd: England 97-3 (Brook 20, Pope 51) Pope ends Nauman’s over with a limit to raise his 11th Test fifty. Cheek.
Kim, who is trying to have it all, sends messages: “To follow events here and at the Gabba, I used a phone in each hand, which allowed me to monitor both OBO feeds simultaneously. I feel a bit like The Sundance Kid with a six in each hand, fending off the lawmen besieging my last refuge. It’s fine until my wife wakes up and asks for her phone. Then a tough choice will have to be made, as she is unlikely to accept no for an answer.
Looks like Australia is about to sort this out for you. They only need another 20 years to wrap things up at the Gabba.
21st: England 89-3 (Pope 44, Brook 19) Abrar tries the delivery on the front of the hand and it’s too far to the side of the leg – Brook sweeps for four.
20th over: England 84-3 (Pope 43, Brook 15) Another tidy one from Nauman.
Tony writes in: “There has been a lot of talk about who to leave in the England squad and who to leave out, mainly revolving around who keeps the wicket and who is basically a batsman.
I would suggest that maybe the choice would be easier if spinner off and part-time drummer Root were dropped!
Are we allowed to say things like that?
Tony, Tony, Tony. It’s early in the morning and I don’t think you’ve had your coffee yet.
19th over: England 83-3 (Pope 42, Brook 15) Abrar goes full and fast on the front of the hand to leave Brook in all sorts, and Babar goes up for a review. It goes down the side of the leg, however, rather comfortably. Brook bounces with the last ball of the plus, swinging back for a side leg smash to pick up four. He was so quick to get into position for it.
The two wickets that fell earlier:
18th: England 77-3 (Brook 10, Pope 41) Babar is back on the field while Nauman spins to concede only one. Time for drinks.
Brian writes in: “My expectations of a proper and calm Test of cricket were somewhat disrupted by the rapid pace of England’s run scores, but after the rapid dismissals of Duckett and Root we can perhaps expect that young Brook and Pope undertake a patient reconstruction and restoration. decorum to the proceedings.
I’m not sure the children will be silent for long…
17th: England 76-3 (Brook 9, Pope 41) Outrageous from Brook, who throws Abrar for a straight six, his back foot came up for that little bit of extra flair. An LBW scream follows as Brook steps down the field a few balls later, but he’s way too far off his crease for that to be a problem.
16th: England 69-3 (Brook 2, Pope 41) Pope runs down the lane to pass the ball halfway and steal a single.
15th over: England 65-3 (Pope 38, Brook 1) Abrar gets another one to keep very low, and Pope does great to make it disappear for a couple.
14th over: England 60-3 (Pope 33, Brook 1) No hat-trick as Brook retires immediately. A magnificent cover by Nauman Ali animated the debates.
Nauman on a hat-trick! Brook is there to deal with it.
COUNTER!!! Root v Salman v Nauman 0 (England 58-3)
Another! Magnificent from Nauman as he throws one to drive Root forward, and the outer edge is gobbled up on the first slip. Referees check to see if he’s worn – and he did, no dramas there. A first ball for Root. What a moment!
COUNTER! Duckett plb Nauman 26 (England 58-2)
And it hits in the middle of the middle! It was the referee’s call at impact. Nauman, from the wicket, got a tight turn to trap Duckett on the back foot. It came out of nowhere for Pakistan.
Duckett Reviews after Nauman got it lbw…
13th above: England (Duckett 26, Pope 32) Fat Duckett! He runs down the track and smashes Abrar for a straight six. Beautiful, nice shot. The southpaw dabs offside for a single a few balls later, and Pope then recovers a boundary with a nice clip through the side of the leg. England is cruising.
12th over: England 47-1 (Duckett 19, Pope 28) Pope and Duckett advance comfortably against Nauman, the latter outstroke for a single.
11th over: England 42-1 (Duckett 17, Pope 25) Abrar polishes up and looks menacing, that low bounce giving him something to work with.
Here’s some love for Adam Collins, a regular on these pages. A big call at the wicket of Mitchell Starc’s 300th Test.
10th over: England 38-1 (Pope 22, Duckett 16) Rapids aren’t having much fun, so it turns both ways as Nauman Ali gets a bowl. Duckett moves away to the leg side and gets two after a miss from Abrar, who was ambitious trying the one-handed pickup.
9th over: England 33-1 (Pope 20, Duckett 13) Duckett asks his beloved to pick up a couple from Abrar.
8th over: England 30-1 (Pope 19, Duckett 11) Wasim receives the boot after two costly overs, with Faheem Ashraf called up in attack to replace him. He brings a little more control, only conceding a few.
7th over: England 28-1 (Duckett 10, Pope 18) Abrar gets one to keep low, which scares Pope a little.
“Hello Taha.” Hello Brian.
“I must confess I was almost distracted by the chaos available in Australia, but the lure of proper and calm Test cricket in your reassuring company was too strong. I’m sure Messrs Pope, Duckett and co will dig in and try to get things done until lunch…”
Thank you, Brian, you made the right decision.
6th over: England 26-1 (Pope 17, Duckett 9) On Wasim’s pads, and Pope flicks the leg side for four. The newbie is too straight again with his next delivery, and Pope picks up two with another whip. Duckett finishes the overhand with his own clip behind the square for four.
5th over: England 15-1 (Pope 10, Duckett 5) Abrar has the ball, and Mohammad Rizwan is pulling the strings for Pakistan – Babar Azam is not feeling well, Nasser says on comms. Maiden for the leggie.
4th plus: England 15-1 (Duckett 5, Pope 10) Pope throws his hands over there on a wide and, though not fully in control, finds four over the cordon. We are operational on the second day.
Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett are over there, and Mohammad Wasim has the ball.
Now look, I don’t want people to leave me here. But there is madness at the Gabba.
Scott Boland – that test average is still absolutely ridiculous.
It’s just all kinds of beautiful.
Hello friends ! Opening day in Karachi was historic, all thanks to a teenager with some very helpful tips. Rehan Ahmed became England’s youngest men’s cricket tester and, after a nervous start, found his rhythm on a flat to take an impressive two wickets. The first, by Saud Shakeel, was a nice setup: the googly followed by a leg-spinner that culminated in a terrific bat catch by Ollie Pope. The second was a magnificent faux’un, beating Faheem Ashraf’s forward press to have the southpaw left-handed. An 18 year old leggie in this wildly fun test side – you can’t help but get a little excited.
Rehan Ahmed helped England beat Pakistan for 304, and Zak Crawley fell in love with the twirling delights of Abraar Ahmed, leaving Stokes’ men on 7-1.
As always, feel free to slip into my DMs with any thoughts/questions/song requests. I will be back soon.