18th over: England 192-3 (Duckett 64, Brook 59) I’m pretty sure that’s Duckett’s first boundary not scored from a sweep. Either way, it’s a crunching pull shot from a Hasnain half tracker and he cracks it for six in front of square. A couple to deep square and then a single towards that same area gets Brook on strike and a leg-bye gets Duckett on again. He rounds out the over with another pull (show off) and takes four. This partnership is now worth 110. To think these two might not even be in England’s best XI.
17th over: England 178-3 (Duckett 50, Brook 59) Duckett has his fifty with a nurdle towards the leg side as Rauf continues. After copping on in his grill, Brook launches the ball over cover for four. There are two wides which could have been four but for Rizwan’s smart work behind the stumps.
There’s a break in play because Harry Brook has caught a ball in his grill. I don’t mean he’s been hit by a bouncer. I mean the ball has ricocheted off his bat onto his pad and gone up towards his face where it’s remained lodged in his grill. He’s OK. All the players share a laugh. Here’s where I say something about the game being played in the right spirit.
16th over: England 169-3 (Duckett 49, Brook 53) Brutal from Brook as he records his first half century for his country. He starts with a couple and then guides one to a vacant deep third boundary. Then he thwacks a mighty six 88m back from a back of a length ball. He brings up his milestone with a lovely drive through cover point as he opens the face. A wonderful contribution for a very talented young cricketer. Not a great return to the attack for Dahani who goes for 16.
15th over: 152-3 (Duckett 49, Brook 37) Just a normal cricket shot. Hasnain, back in the attack, follows Duckett who moves across his stumps towards the off side. The ball is very wide but Duckett fetches it and scoops it with a ballerina’s pirouette and spoons it down to fine leg and takes four with one bounce. Weird, wonderful, whacky! I love it. Who’d be a bowler though? An expert steer from Brook takes another boundary wide of deep third. A half dab, half late cut. More conventional than his mate and equally effective.
14th over: England 139-3 (Duckett 43, Brook 31) Tired of watching his spinners get swept for fun, Babar gets Rauf back in the action. His second ball, though, is sent sailing over long leg as Brook gets underneath the bouncer and whips it with disdain. Cracking ball striking. Five singles off the five remaining balls as this partnership climbs past 50. I think pace on the ball is the way to go on this strip. You might go for runs but it seems to be troubling the batters more. Will be interesting to see how Mark Wood goes.
I don’t necessarily endorse this message, but it’s a good line from Gary.
13th over: England 128-3 (Duckett 40, Brook 23) Duckett goes into the 40 with a sweet sweep that he meets on the full and Brook goes into the 20s with a sweet sweep shot that he swivels behind square after it bounces. Those two fours were the 17th and 18th of the innings to go along with two sixes. England eying up something big here and it looks like they’ll get there sweeping. Although, 200 might not be enough as Pakistan proved last night.
12th over: England 116-3 (Duckett 34, Brook 17) Two sweeps from Duckett. Two fours. Two different areas of the ground. The first is off the top edge and loops over the ‘keeper and trickles to the boundary. No doubt about the second as it screams off the middle. He plays it really well, doesn’t he? Four singles has England accelerating through the gears.
11th over: England 104-3 (Duckett 24, Brook 15) Get some of that! Perfect balance from Brook as he comes down the track and times it over long on for the first six of the night. Great hands through the line. OH WOW! That one is even better to end the over. Inside out over extra cover. Excellent batting from Brook who has a PSL hundred to his name. Another expensive over from Usman Qadir with three singles taking it to 15.
10th over: England 89-3 (Duckett 22, Brook 2) Just the five from this Nawaz over. He’s having a good game. There’s a run out chance but actually there’s no run out chance because Duckett is super quick and dives home with plenty of time to spare. Time for a drink as we’re half way theeeere…
9th over: England 84-3 (Duckett 18, Brook 1) A successful over for Pakistan started with a delicious reverse sweep from Duckett that screamed to the boundary (now is that the backward point boundary or the one at backward square leg?) A conventional sweep brought Jacks on strike but his slog sweep nestled in the hands of Nawz at deep midwicket. A couple of singles saw out the set with Harry Brooke taking on for himself and getting off the mark.
Jacks will be annoyed with himself. He goes down to slog sweep a loopier delivery but doesn’t catch all of it and he watches as Nawaz takes a good catch down by his ankles at cow corner. Still, a contribution of 44 from 22 balls is a solid debut knock. Qadir might be expensive but he gets wickets and that’s an important one.
8th over: England 77-2 (Jacks 40, Duckett 12) A comparatively uneventful over with no boundaries but six singles. Nawaz won’t mind that. England are cantering along and this stymies things a touch.
I’m not going to fact check that one.
7th over: England 71-2 (Jacks 37, Duckett 9) 4-w-4. It was an eventful start to Usman Qadir’s opening over with Malan reverse sweeping a boundary and then holing out in the deep. Ben Duckett was welcomed to the crease with another half tracker but he found the gap and it kept in on the ground to get off the mark with a boundary. Two singles for both batters meant Duckett was on strike to close out the over and he tickled it fine for the third four of the set.
What a game. Malan just reverse swept a good ball for four and then he’s heading back to the shed after toe-ending a half tracker straight to the man at deep midwicket. A filthy wicket but they all count.
Ali’s a fan. If you’re asking me (and no one has) I’m not. Call me old fashioned but I like my national teams wearing the right colours. Though I do hvae love the red number South Africa wore for a series against Australia in the mid 90s.
6th over: England 57-1 (Jacks 36, Malan 10) Oooh, extra zip off the surface. Dahani digs in a bumper and it skids through at a rate. Malan does well to get under it. He’s got wheels, does Dahani. I like it. He strays a couple of times, once with an overstep and another time with a leg side wide, but he’s showing a willingness to steam in and let it rip. Jacks is up for it. He gives himself room and clatters one through the covers with a flourish. He tries to sign off the over with the same shot but Dahani bowls a slower and deceives the batter. It goes for four as well, but a moral victory for the bowler.
5th over: England 45-1 (Jacks 27, Malan 8) A bowling change and Haris Rauf enters the scene. His right armers are tidy until Jacks digs out a very full ball and manages to muscle it with a flourish back past the bowler for four. Terrific shot. His next boundary is streaky and is helped by some comical fielding on the leg side. Jacks’ hack across dribbles towards and then past a diving midwicket and trickles to the boundary.
4th over: England 36-1 (Jacks 19, Malan 8) Babar scraps the early spin experiment and gets Shahnawaz Dahani into the attack. He bowled Malan round his legs last night but this first ball is wide outside the off stump. Malan throws his hands at it and a thick edge takes it to the deep third boundary. Dahani rectifies his line and Malan can’t help himself and pokes at it. He’s lucky that lifter from a good length didn’t catch the edge. He’s more assured off his hips and whips a three through midwicket. Jacks takes four through deep third as well but where was the slip? Pakistan may regret that. Never mind that, the over ends with Jacks clattering a boundary down the ground. 15 off the over.
3rd over: England 21-1 (Jacks 11, Malan 1) Jacks was on strike after the wicket as the batters crossed (I think that rule will change soon) and he gets a single with a tap and run. There’s a wide and the new batter Dawid Malan is off the mark with a dab down to deep third, but otherwise it’s a good cluster for Hasnain as he bags the early wicket.
Salt tries to smash this into a different state but only catches a top edge. It flies into the muggy Karachie air and three fielders converge on it. For a moment it looked as if they’d run into each other. Nawaz clings on though despite Hasnain almost getting in his way. Either way, Salt has to go.
2nd over: England 18-0 (Salt 8, Jacks 10) Spin with the new ball but Salt doesn’t mind as he peppers the cow corner boundary with the first delivery from Mohammad Nawaz. Salt uses his feet and takes a single wide of long-off. Jacks registers another single and Salt does likewise with a chip to the leg side. Jacks then ends the over by heaving a drag down to long leg. Not a great set from the Pakistan offie.
1st over: England 7-0 (Salt 2, Jacks 5) Mohammad Hasnain has the ball and he’s looking to get it up in the blockhole. His first two balls are squeezed behind square for a couple of singles which means Will Jacks has his first run in international cricket. Salt takes another single with a push towards mid-off. Hasnain pulls his length back a touch and gets one to skid low past Jacks but the opener isn’t flustered. He whips the last ball up and over midwicket for four. Good start for the youngster.
Right then. The players are scampering out. Pakistan in blue (is that blue), England in red, national colours are irrelevant, we’re all set to tuck in. Should be tasty.
[Eye emoji] That’s outrageous actually.
How about the XIs, eh?
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Haider Ali, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir
England: Phil Salt (wk), Will Jacks, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley.
Pakistan openers are top of the pops. The top two run scorers in T20 cricket over the last two years are Pakistan’s leading men. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam are top of the pops. They’re also first and fourth on the ICC’s rankings, respectively. Handy.
Unsurprising, after his heroics last time out, Babar gets the coin flip and chooses to chase again. His team is unchanged from their win last night.
Moeen would have bowled first as well but says he’s “not too disappointed” to front up with the bat. Three changes for England. Jacks, as we said, makes his debut. Mark Wood is back! That’s right folks. Sound the alarm. The quick man is back! One more change sees Reece Topley in the side.
Will Jacks to debut. According to Matt Roller from ESPNCricinfo, it’ll Will Jacks. The 23-year-old off-spinning batter from Surrey. What a week it’s been for the south London club. After clinching the County Championship with a thumping win over Yorkshire, there’s another England cap for one of their youngsters.
Someone’s getting a new cap
Hello and welcome to the live OBO report of the 3rd T20 international between Pakistan and England from Karachi. We’re all square in the series after Alex Hales bashed a breezy half century on his return match to get things going for the tourists before Babar Azam unfurled a majestic ton in an unbeaten opening stand of 203 to get the hosts on the scoresheet in emphatic fashion.
It’s been a fascinating match-up with England ably skippered by Moeen Ali, who told our man Andy Bull that he’s proud to lead his country:
It’s not just the England players who are making waves in Pakistan. A couple of English coaches have cast their gaze around 3,875 miles east. You can read all about that from our head honcho Ali Martin over here:
If you’re so inclined, and you don’t mind a bit of self indulgence on my part, you can take a gander at this week’s Spin column. In it I examine the ramifications of a new T20 franchise tournament, crammed into an already stuffed calendar, and why a national team captain has been forced to watch on from the outside.
Those three pieces should keep you occupied for now. I’ll be back with the toss and team reports in around 30 minutes (unless of course you get in touch with an email or tweet).
First ball is at 7:30pm local time/3:30pm BST.
Catch you in a few.