England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test Day Two

Predicting sporting contests is a fool’s game much of the time, though it remains fun to do.  The very essence of sport is that the unexpected happens, otherwise there’d be no point watching or participating.  Nevertheless, the degree of certainty so many had that England would prevail in this match before the start was rather peculiar, apparently based on the undoubted hiding that England dished out at Old Trafford.  When Pakistan put England into bat, it was called defensive, when England were bowled out on day one, it meant that England would do the same to the tourists on day two.  It is as though Pakistan’s victory at Lords never happened, as though they were merely cannon fodder for an all conquering home side to swat aside.  Some even predicted a 7-0 Test summer, as though Pakistan were no more of a threat than Sri Lanka.

England are not out of this game by any means, the late wicket of the excellent Azhar Ali made the day slightly less dreadful than it would have otherwise been, and with Pakistan still 40 runs behind the possibility of early wickets in the morning with a still fairly new ball remains.  But England desperately need those early wickets for if they don’t get them they are in serious trouble, even if Pakistan are the ones having to bat last.  All things being equal, by the time England are batting again, there should be a little more help for the spinners, and one of the notable things about Moeen Ali’s bowling today was that while it wasn’t hugely effective, he was getting bounce occasionally, and bounce is a considerable danger when utilised by an outstanding spin bowler.

It had all started so well, Mohammed Hafeez slapping a wide long hop straight to Gary Ballance at point, but after that it was all Pakistan.  Sami Aslam impressed mightily in only his third Test match – and startlingly, he hasn’t played a first class match since December.  He looked every inch the Test opener; compact, technically sound and perhaps as important as anything else, he left the ball superbly.  England didn’t look like getting him out, so his partner did it for them, running him out with a dreadful call, albeit Sami could have backed up a little more.

Should Pakistan bat well tomorrow, England have another potential problem, for Anderson has received two warnings for running on the pitch and another will see him banned for the rest of the innings.  Anderson himself didn’t behave terribly well, and subsequently said that he’d apologised to both umpires.  Whether that is enough to distract the match referee remains to be seen.

The not out batsman overnight is Younis Khan, and it is hard to decide whether it is amusing or painful to watch his batting travails at present.  He looks hideously out of form and is fighting with himself every ball he faces.  His batting technique is all over the place, jumping in the air constantly, weight distribution somewhere around the inverse of what it should be – yet he is still there.  To see such an elegant player battling this way is both impressive and worrying given his age.  As ever, when a player gets older he is given little time to simply be out of form.

One other small point:  the 90 overs were completed today.  That it is worthy of comment should in itself highlight the problem.

By the close of play tomorrow England could be in serious trouble, if they aren’t batting soon after lunch it will be a difficult match to win; if they aren’t batting by tea they are in dire straits.  Tomorrow is a big day for both teams, but Test cricket can and does turn on a session.  England will need the morning to be one of those.

Day Three Comments Below



57 thoughts on “England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test Day Two

  1. "IronBalls" McGinty Aug 4, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    I hear nothing of the “Super series” this test?


  2. Mark Aug 4, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Well, I have to hold my hand up and admit I said last night in the post below that Pakistan may struggle to get 200. (Bob Wills said on the verdict, in his amusing dismissive delivery that some pundit suggested they wouldn’t make 200. Don’t think he meant me, as I don’t qualify as a pundit.)

    So Pakistan have obviously had a good day. Having said that I do wonder if the last ball wicket could turn out to be very important. Pakistan rock up tomorrow with only 2 down and you would fancy them getting 150 lead. They may still achieve that target, but it has given England a chance of getting back in the game. Pakistan have to bat last, and at the risk of repeating myself, I won’t fancy them chasing 200 to win.

    This is the first of two back to back test matches, you do wonder If ENGLAND are kept in the field for 2 days what effect that might have next week. Finally I was amazed at the footage on Sky of England playing football in the morning of the match. It was quite funny with Bumble refereeing, but you do wonder if Jimmy had twisted an ankle how that would look? But it’s the modern way I guess.


  3. d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 6:16 am

    Meanwhile in Galle, Australia have been rolled over for 106. Herath also took a hattrick (Voges, Nevill, and Starc).

    I obviously missed the first session of play, but to be basically rolled over in 30 overs either suggests the pitch is nigh unplayable, or that the Australians really don’t know what they’re doing.

    Sri Lanka are 9/2 in the third innings (effectively 184/2), so there might be some concerns about the pitch, purely judging by the amount of wickets that have fallen. That is already 10 wickets for the first session of Day 2 . This might end up as a two-day Test at this rate ….


    • mdpayne87 Aug 5, 2016 / 6:45 am

      I’ve listened to most of the first session, and I’d say it’s more Australian problems with spin. Not a raging turner of a pitch by any means.


    • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 6:50 am

      I didn’t see all of it live but I’ve seen some. Perera’s been turning it quite a bit but none of Herath’s wickets were due to excessive turn (only the Starc ball turned at all). Smith misread the length horribly (I wondered if his brains were fried yesterday when he dropped a sitter at slip) and Voges pushed with hard hands. SL backed up their bowlers with some excellent fielding – there were four very good catches held (two by Karunaratne and one by Mendis and Mathews).

      The pitch is turning earlier than Galle usually does – but there’s some incompetent batting too. Too much pushing with hard hands and not getting the bat out in front of the pad to negate DRS (like, for all other their differences, Cook and Pietersen both excel at doing).

      So, does anyone want to be No.1? Except, on the evidence of the last 48 hours, Pakistan? The thought of them handing the mace over to Misbah is too delicious for words (not going to happen but it’s nice to dream).


      • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 8:09 am

        Roughly two scenarios

        1. Pakistan need to at least draw the series with England to stay ahead of them. Possible.
        Assuming that happens:
        India need to win the remaining two Tests against West Indies to stay ahead of Pakistan then. Anything less than 2 wins, and Pakistan will be ahead of India. Possible.
        Australia need to lose the series in Sri Lanka 2-0 or 3-0 for Pakistan to pass them.

        2. If Pakistan win the series (2-1):
        India can’t pass Pakistan, and Australia need to win the series to stay ahead of Pakistan. Does not seem like that is going to happen.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2016 / 8:26 am

      This was the first comment I saw this morning. Elicited a “WTF”


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 8:50 am

      The commentators are talking about when Sri Lanka will declare. It’s day two.

      You utter, utter cocks.


      • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 9:23 am

        Combined match figures of the Australian spinners at tea: 237/5



      • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 10:54 am

        Yeah, and they’re going on and on about it. What was it again about Australians being so nice to set improbable but gettable targets again? Oh yeah, you don’t do that, if you don’t have to.


    • Alec Aug 5, 2016 / 9:48 am

      Surely the issue concerning all right minded people is not why Australia were bowled out in 30 overs, but why exactly the Sri Lankan team needed those extra 11.4 to complete the innings.


  4. d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 6:45 am

    Lunch taken at 31/3 – and with a first innings lead of 175 for Sri Lanka, Australia are in a lot of trouble. And from the little I have seen it is

    “Only” 11 wickets fell in the morning session – with Mathews surviving review on umpire’s call last ball before lunch. I am not sure what the record is, but I found that Australia (3) and South Africa (9) managed to ship 12 wickets in a session in Cape Town in 2011.

    I’m trying to track down session highlights to see if it was the pitch or the batsmen really not playing too well.


    • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 7:00 am

      Here’s the hat-trick:

      One consequence of a SL series win is SA would slide to 7th in the rankings. So that part of Srini’s masterplan is working then.


    • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 7:15 am

      Cricinfo says eleven or more wickets have fallen in a session on four other occasions this decade.

      It also says that Herath is the first SLA’er to take a hat-trick since Johnny Briggs in 1892 to take a hat-trick. So Verity, Lock, Bedi, Underwood, Doshi, Edmonds, Iqbal Qasim, Panesar et al never managed it.


      • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 7:40 am

        Left-arm spinners have bowled about 570,000 deliveries in Tests since 1892 so take out some deliveries for left-arm wrist-spinners (and there have never been many of those) and it’s taken about half a million deliveries of orthodox slow left-arm for that to happen.


      • Zephirine Aug 5, 2016 / 11:04 am

        Love Herath, what a bowler. He looks so…. unlikely. And mostly he looks so unruffled, that’s the most excited I’ve seen him, I think.


      • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 11:56 am

        Australia have reached 25/3 after 6 overs in their second innings (stumps). Lyon and Khawaja have both been dismissed twice in a day. Warner and Steve Smith will resume tomorrow chasing 413 to level the series. Not looking good for Australia at all.

        Needless to say, if anyone ever wants to make a video of how not to bat in the subcontinent, there might be a bit of material from today that is rather useful..


      • RufusSG Aug 5, 2016 / 6:23 pm

        Zephirine – I know, I always want to give him a big hug when I see him bowling. The fact that he’s still employed as a bank manager back in Sri Lanka, and has to ask them for permission for leave to go and tour, is especially amusing.


  5. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 5, 2016 / 8:33 am

    I am of the opinion that if England can get a couple of wickets with the still new-ish ball they can at least perhaps have some damage limitation and perhaps limit Pakistan to a lead of not more than 70. Then a good 2nd innings may at least save them.

    With Australia, I seem to have properly wound up an Indian Australian fan by pointing out that this is the 8th Asian test on the trot that they are losing and that they are bounce track specialists. Oh well such is life!


    • SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 9:09 am

      Close of day two score at Lord’s last year was 389 playing 303/2.

      That’s at Lord’s in “the most significant series like evah” (TM), not the Ashes. If England start by bowling as well as they did on that third morning, they aren’t out of this match by any means.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 5, 2016 / 9:28 am

        Significant total in arrears wiped off in that game. Someone is going to have to do the Stokes role. Big miss in this game I think.


      • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 12:51 pm

        Related to that, someone is going to have to do a reprise for Ravi.


  6. Andy Aug 5, 2016 / 10:28 am

    its interesting that Anderson has received 2 warnings for running on the pitch. I’ve not seen any highlights but does anyone know if it is a case of the umpires finally getting tough (I seem to remember them warning some SL & Pak bowlers as well), or has Anderson changed his delivery at all?


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 10:34 am

      Getting tougher on it I’d say. They let them get away with murder at Lords. There’s no question that Anderson was definitely – and repeatedly – encroaching. Only a little bit, it wasn’t landing slap bang in the middle of the red zone, but encroaching nonetheless.

      If only they showed the same zeal about over rates.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 11:15 am

    296/5, with Shafiq gone for a duck and Younis falling for 31. Pakistan really need one or two good partnerships here.


  8. BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2016 / 11:52 am


    0.6 JA Burns c de Silva b Herath 2 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 50.00
    3.3 NM Lyon c Silva b MDK Perera 0 (7b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00
    3.4 UT Khawaja b MDK Perera 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

    Now 23/3


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 11:54 am

      That Australia were 61-11 on day two made me chuckle.

      Lyon’s “You can only fucking play at home” sledge is truly ironic.


  9. Burly Aug 5, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Can someone explain to me why Chris Woakes keeps getting pushed back to 4th seamer?


    • BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Please report to Jimmy – he wants a word


    • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      Think Woakes got the opening spell today, alongside Anderson, instead of Broad?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Burly Aug 5, 2016 / 12:52 pm

        He did get the newish ball today, but I cannot comprehend why he was behind Finn yesterday.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2016 / 1:57 pm

          Just saw that run out dismissal among members at Lord’s. We were gobsmacked. Is that the rule? Thought you had to break the stumps with gloves.


    • Benny Aug 5, 2016 / 12:20 pm

      Suspect Anderson and Broad make the decisions. Second shiny, hard new ball yesterday – Anderson’s first over with it fired down at 79 mph and Broad’s at 80, although I noticed in the previous test, he let one go at Amir, whom he dislikes, at 87 mph, so he still has it in him – when he wants.


  10. Andy Aug 5, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Anderson has been removed from the attack for the rest of this innings.

    Only 2 more wickets to go though – too little too late?

    TMS having a bit of go as it was ‘only’ an inch at the back of his heel…..


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 1:52 pm

      And Yasir was only an inch short of his ground. How far do they want to take this concept?


  11. Andy Aug 5, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Thing is – the umpires will probably have had a couple of little chats about him ‘being close’ to the danger zone (or at least it is what I do when umpiring – try and manage the match rather than just be the judge at the end of the bowlers run up).

    And just because the final straw was ‘only’ an inch into the red box – doesn’t mean he was only and inch in each time!


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      The third umpire confirmed that – said Anderson had been told he was getting close over the previous two or three overs.

      Maybe he felt it worth the risk to try and take the last few wickets – it’s not necessarily a mistake on his part, it could have been a calculated gamble.


    • fred Aug 5, 2016 / 6:49 pm

      The TV commentators have a nice neat little shaded red box of the danger area superimposed on the pitch on their TV screen to match their slo-mo replays, the umpire has no such guide. Any discussion about “it was just an inch” is another example of the apparent precision of technology second guessing the guy standing on the field.

      The umpire’s not playing a video game in replay, he’s making a real time decision about the second step in a follow through, all the while doing his primary job of watching the ball and the batsman.

      This wasn’t a one-off event like a run out, it was a trend that had been discussed with the bowler over hours. Saying it was “just an inch” is just stupid. It’s good TV I suppose.

      Although I understand the onfield umpires are in communication with the third umpire, so my comment is invalid if it was actually the third umpire, with a shaded red box and slo-mo replays, who was calling the shots. But even then, an inch is an inch.


      • Benny Aug 5, 2016 / 7:54 pm

        I reckon it’s no different from a no ball. If it was called as a no ball, I reckon old Big Head Anderson would behave.

        I go on a bit about the good old days but can you imagine him daring to push his luck with Dickie Bird or Sid Buller? Needs to grow up


  12. Andy Aug 5, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    try again (if this appears twice I’m sorry).

    If the umpire is worth his salt he will have had a couple of quiet words with Anderson about ‘being close’ to the red danger zone.

    Its what I was taught about umpiring and what I try and do. Call it man or match management – either way, its basic good practice.

    Just because that last incursion was ‘only’ an inch, doesn’t mean all of them have ‘only’ been an inch, or that the umpire has not overlooked other close ones.


  13. LeningradCowboy Aug 5, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    Only 46 overs bowled in the first two sessions today.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      Meanwhile, on a glorious day at Lord’s, Middlesex were making serene progress until a top catch by Sible got rid of Malan. Photos later. Surrey slightly on top but need to make inroads this evening.


  14. BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    Cook 13785
    KP 13779

    Job done


      • RufusSG Aug 5, 2016 / 6:21 pm

        To my slight surprise, Cook actually passed Pietersen’s run total in seven fewer innings: given their almost identical test averages and Pietersen’s vastly superior limited overs record, not to mention his much better career strike-rate (except perhaps in this series!) I’d have thought KP would have been far quicker to the mark. I guess there are several mitigating factors in play, maybe getting more opportunities to bat in curtailed matches as an opener or something, I dunno.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2016 / 6:24 pm

          I’d suggest Cook’s 54 additional test innings may have been useful in bridging the gap.


      • RufusSG Aug 5, 2016 / 8:15 pm

        Good point, that being his superior format by some distance probably helps considerably.


  15. Zephirine Aug 5, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    13, 780* – Alastair Cook has now scored the most runs for @englandcricket across all formats combined.


    Now, anyone who cared about the entertainment value and economic health of England cricket would be thinking about bringing Kevin Pietersen back into the T20 side for six months so we’d have a ‘duel of the record holders’. Dodgy knees, emotional baggage, no place vacant, who cares – tickets would sell, media would cover. Fur would fly.

    But of course, that door is shut.


    • fred Aug 5, 2016 / 4:19 pm

      I like the way you think Zepherine, somewhat deviously. I think you’re drawing on boxing and Mayweather, or cage fighting and that Irish guy with the big mouth. Unfortunately, I think cricket would find such publicity to be uncouth.

      Pietersen’s runs didn’t need to be surpassed, he was box office anyway.

      Just watching the last session now, those Pakistanis just keep smiling all the time. Aside from being extremely competent, they’re so bloody happy about their cricket.

      The image of Azhar Ali doing his celebratory push-ups with Anderson pointedly turning his back on him was hilarious. I’m surprised he didn’t cross his arms and stamp his feet too.


      • Zephirine Aug 5, 2016 / 4:55 pm

        I have uncouth tastes, Fred. I like drama. You’re right, KP doesn’t need it, England’s ticket sales do though.

        Yes, the Pakistanis like to show that they enjoy the battle. Like the old swashbuckling movie heroes who always had to laugh while sword-fighting.

        Anderson, on the other hand, is the living embodiment of the word ‘churlish’.


  16. SimonH Aug 5, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Every wicket from Day 2 in Galle (that’s quite a few):


    • fred Aug 5, 2016 / 6:38 pm

      Great to see Starc getting a record-breaking wicket tally against SL.
      That was the story there, right?


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