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Babar builds lead before Stokes snares Sarfraz in first Test

SAMAA | - Posted: May 25, 2018 | Last Updated: 4 years ago
Posted: May 25, 2018 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

Babar Azam helped take Pakistan into a first-innings lead at tea on Friday’s second day of the first Test against England at Lord’s.

But an over before England could take the new ball, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (nine) top-edged a hook off Ben Stokes to Mark Wood at fine leg.

That was the last ball before tea, with Pakistan 227 for five in reply to England’s 184, a lead of 43 runs, at the interval.

Babar was 59 not out, having become the third batsman this innings to make a fifty after opener Azhar Ali (50) and Asad Shafiq (59).

Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali had shown good discipline while taking four wickets apiece on Thursday.

The tourists’ batsmen, all of whom played in similarly overcast conditions during a recent five-wicket win over Test debutants Ireland, demonstrated similar application — something England largely lacked in their first innings with the exception of former captain Alastair Cook’s 70.

Pakistan resumed Friday on 50 for one, with Azhar 18 not out and Haris Sohail 21 not out.

The second-wicket duo continued to be watchful in defence, while cashing in on loose deliveries.

Azhar drilled Stuart Broad through the covers and forced all-rounder Stokes off the back foot through point for another boundary.

Left-hander Haris, meanwhile, drove England spearhead James Anderson down the ground.

But fast bowler Wood eventually ended a partnership worth 75 runs when, having tried to “rough up” both batsmen from around the wicket, he slipped in a fuller-length delivery that Haris (39) edged to wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow.

The experienced Azhar completed a 133-ball fifty but had failed to add to his score when he was lbw to Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, who had been switched to the Nursery End by Root.

Pakistan ended the session with a flourish as Shafiq hoisted debutant off-spinner Dominic Bess for a six over midwicket and at lunch they were 136 for three.

A feature of Pakistan’s play on Thursday had been their much-improved close catching.

England by contrast, saw Cook drop Babar on 10 in the slips when the former Test captain failed to hold a low chance.

An unconcerned Babar then stylishly forced all-rounder Stokes off the back foot for four.

England’s Jos Buttler, playing as a specialist batsman rather than a wicket-keeper on his Test recall, appeared to lose sight of the ball when an edge from Shafiq, on 36, flew through the cordon.

England then squandered a review for a catch behind when Shafiq was on 48, even though it seemed clear that the ball had come off the batsman’s elbow.

Shafiq completed an 81-ball fifty and was then missed again on 59 when a diving Buttler could not hold a tough gully catch.

But next ball Shafiq’s luck ran out when he lobbed a rising Stokes delivery to Dawid Malan in the slips to end a stand of 84.

Babar, however, kept going and a cut off Bess — his seventh boundary — saw him to a 93-ball half-century. – AFP

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