England vs Pakistan: Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf Shine At Lord’s

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England vs Pakistan: Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf Shine At Lord’s

A review of the events of Day Two of the Test Match.

Just two days into the Lord’s Test, the underdogs find themselves in a dominant position. After an inexorable effort on Day 1 by the bowlers, the middle order backed it up with a gutsy reply on Day two, followed by a late surge from Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf to finish off the day’s proceeding on 350-8.

246-5 was the score when Babar Azam retired hurt trying to duck a short ball from Ben Stokes that hit him on the forearm. An unforutante premature end to what was looking to be his best knock in white colours in the recent past.

With Pakistan just leading by 62 and England sensing an opportunity to make a comeback, Faheem Ashraf joined Shadab Khan in the middle. Coming off a rear-guard action last week against Ireland, hopes were certainly high from the budding all-rounders.

Shadab got going with back to back boundaries off  Ben Stokes. First one a cover drive followed by a flick from his pads. Faheem was a bit nervy to start with but found his stride after an exquisite shot through the covers off Anderson’s bowling.
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The partnership between the duo was a fine balance between offence and defense. The heartening thing was that both of them played their natural game with purpose. Against a resurgent Ben Stokes who took the second new ball with the ever reliable Stuart Broad, the duo of Shadab and Faheem kept pouncing on anything loose and negotiated the swing patiently.

Anderson got his reward for hitting persistent lengths. He was able to breach Faheem’s defense with a delivery that swung late. By then Pakistan were in the driving seat and led by 134. The duo added 72 runs in 92 balls to take the visitors in a commanding position. Stokes removed Shadab but not before the nineteen year old became the youngest to score a half century at Lord’s.

Earlier, Azhar Ali and Harris Sohail laid down a solid foundation. Both batsmen added 59 runs to the overnight score of 50-1,diminishing any hopes of early breakthrough for the home side. Azhar Ali made a valiant 50 before Andersen got him trapped in front from the Nursery End.
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Azhar’s knock was followed by fifties from Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam. England bowled well throughout the day, kept asking questions from Pakistani batsmen but their catching was miserable. Had they hung on to these chances, the scoreline would have been different.

England find themselves in a hole once again as it has been their story since the start of the Ashes. Senior pro Alastair Cook and captain Joe Root will have to lead England’s batting line if they have any chance of coming back in this Test match. On the other hand Pakistan will be aiming to win once again at Lords just like they did in 2016.

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