England v Pakistan – Ben Stokes Claws England Back
England’s regular hero Ben Stokes was on hand once more to give the hosts hope after an enthralling day’s cricket at Old Trafford as Pakistan remain just about on top. The first test between England and Pakistan was seemingly becoming a tough game for the hosts to win, until Ben Stokes starred with some late magic, picking up two crucial scalps.
At the beginning of the day England, 92-4 overnight, clawed their way to 219. This left them with a deficit of 107 from Pakistan’s first-innings effort.
Buttler was the first to fall in a flurry of three wickets for 11 runs. Each wicket falling to leg-spinners, Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan. The duo taking six wickets between them in total.
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More late order runs from Stuart Broad and a cameo from Jofra Archer forced the England total up and over 200. Broad, who seems to have found his batting abilities once more finishing on 29 not out.
Pakistan Falter In Their Second Innings
With a lead of 107, Pakistan knew even an average score would leave their hosts with a daunting chase. However, first-innings hero Shan Masood fell for a duck, caught down the leg-side off Broad.
Pakistan stuttered from that moment on, despite being helped by some sloppy England fielding. When captain Azhar Ali was dismissed, his side were struggling at 63-4.
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Middle-order duo Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Rizwan looked to have steadied the ship. However, when Shafiq was run out superbly by Dom Sibley and Rizwan became Stokes’ first victim, England had an opportunity once more.
As Pakistan looked to set a formidable target, Stokes came into the attack after not bowling in the match, and not being expected to, to pick up two late wickets and give England a glimmer of hope.
At 137-8 with a lead of 244, it already promises to be a difficult chase for Joe Root’s side. Yasir Shah and Mohammad Abbas are the men in the middle. It may be left to Shah to add any bonus runs from this point, however. The Pakistan tail’s batting prowess leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Day 4 Preview
England v Pakistan was an exciting prospect today and Ben Stokes might have just kept day four an enthralling contest as well.
Should Pakistan add nothing to their overnight lead, only once before have more runs been chased in the fourth innings to win a Test at Old Trafford. The visitors will know if their tail can muster an additional 20-30 runs, they may just bat their hosts out of contention on an increasingly difficult batting surface.
For England, they will be desperate to knock Pakistan over in a matter of balls in the morning. This, before setting about what promises to be a testing but fascinating chase.
Either way, England will need to pull off a very difficult chase in order to win the test match. There is likely to be uneven bounce. Plus, there will be lots of spin. With an amazing bowling attack, it will not be easy for the hosts to succeed.
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