England seem to be in the habit of losing the first game of a Test series. I thought that the situation this summer, where England are coming off winning two Tests in a row whilst the Pakistan players haven’t played a competitive game in about five months, could change this. It now appears that my optimism was misplaced.
England and Jimmy Anderson’s second day started a lot better than the first when a full, wide delivery was edged by Babar Azam to Joe Root at first slip in his first over of the day. Broad induced a edge from Asad Shafiq later in the morning, and Woakes did the same to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan not long later. Pakistan’s issues in the morning were compounded by their slow scoring, managing to score just 48 runs at 1.86 runs per over.
England’s bowlers obviously over-indulged at Lunch, because the Afternoon session all went Pakistan’s way. Bess and Root bowled the first few overs, allowing Pakistan to score freely, until the new ball was available. Once it was, Anderson and Broad wasted it with eight overs of loose and utterly unthreatening bowling which Pakistan took advantage of to score even more. Woakes and Bess tightened things up, but neither looked threatening as Pakistan eased up to almost 300 runs.
Bess eventually made the breakthrough, when Shadab Khan decided to smash him over mid on but instead mis-hit the ball high in the air to Joe Root. That opened the floodgates, with Archer taking a pair (having been left out of the attack for most of the afternoon session) and Broad taking the final two wickets, with Pakistan finishing on 326 all out.
And through almost the entire Pakistan innings, Shan Masood batted. Chris called him “a relatively limited player” in yesterday’s match report, and this is true. Almost every opener is, as the position demands patience and control over other attributes like a flashy technique or a wide range of shots. I must admit that there I really enjoy watching batsmen who don’t score quickly. Cook and Trott, for example. There is just something satisfying to me about a batsman absolutely infuriating the bowlers by refusing to get out. Masood scored 156 runs in total, and hhas put Pakistan in a very good position considering the bowler-friendly conditions at Old Trafford.
Jos Buttler dropped another edge from Dom Bess’s bowling today, after the missed catch and stumping chances yesterday. There’s a lot that’s been written about Jos Buttler’s position in the Test team, and his continued selection frankly doesn’t seem to have much support at all outside the England camp. One thing which might be overlooked is his impact on England’s spin bowlers. Dom Bess created three clear wicket-taking opportunities in Pakistan’s first innings, and Jos Buttler dropped them all. There is a huge difference in how Bess is regarded by fans and the media if he takes one or four wickets in an innings, not to mention the damage to his Test bowling average. Jos Buttler’s inability to catch the ball when up at the stumps could literally ruin a spin bowler’s international career.
Pakistan’s opening bowlers Abbas and Afridi took three wickets in the first few overs, dispatching Burns, Sibley and Stokes in quick succession. All three wickets were from deliveries targetting the stumps, with the first two being lbw and Stokes being bowled. This highlights England’s deficiency in that regard, as they have typically bowled shorter and wider, taking these two methods of dismissal out of consideration. In these conditions, and on a pitch which seems both quick and allowing seam movement, full straight balls which seam or swing can be lethal. Not for the first time this summer, the tourists are showing England how to bowl in England.
Joe Root and Ollie Pope settled things down for a while, but Root eventually edged one from Yasir Shah to the wicketkeeper (who, unlike Jos Buttler, caught the ball). Pope and Buttler saw England through to stumps, but England are in a very precarious position and must do very well tomorrow to avoid a large deficit.
As always, feel free to comment below.
It’s not even England’s position right now – it’s the two leg spinners ripping the ball square on day two, and the seamers looking dangerous constantly.
They’re in deep trouble.
Yeah, although Shah seemed off the ball today. Maybe a little short of match practice…
Shah off the ball outside Asia? Who’d have thought it?!
Further to what I wrote on Peter’s preview, the way Pakistan grabbed the evening session and pulled the test towards them was thrilling cricket and the overall atmosphere came through brilliantly on the radio. Mainly it came through because the excited Pakistan players could be heard over the microphones. I fear that, in future, this will be so much more difficult for an away team with drunk home fans providing atmosphere. Of course, Jimmy’n’Broady doing the same would be spine-tingling – which is also great – but I’m generally for the underdog, and fear that future tours will be even more difficult for visiting teams.
Anyway, great cricket.
Also thanks to Chris for the ‘keeper’s point of view yesterday about Buttler and his misses. That’s something you generally don’t get in the newspaper roundups and was really informative.
Of course, thanks to Danny too! It will be interesting to compare what scribes and commenters say about Mahsood’s great knock, and compare it with reactions to Sibley a few weeks ago.
Just remember, 4 years ago, everyone, including Selvey, declared Shan Masood a useless batter. It makes you wonder what they know. I bet Boycott relished that innings. England against real swing and leg soun6…loss by 8 wickets
He was useless for having as many shots as Cook, who was the best thing since the invention of fire, as Mike Selvey undoubtedly would argue given a platform. Sure Masood is not a great player, and I don’t think anyone will bracket him with the Smiths (Graeme that is), Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Gavaskars or Haydens of Test cricket history. But in that innings at least he did what an opener is supposed to do. Bat time, and if the batting of time is successful, add runs.
Obviously, I won’t judge Burns and Sibley on just the passage of play last night, as every opener is susceptible of getting out cheaply. But Root coming in in the first over, and Stokes shortly after that, can’t have helped the cause (from the perspective of those two scoring runs, rather than it being 12/2 at the time they were together).
If an opener can occupy the crease, that helps people down the order, as England would have found out if they actually BOTHER TO LEARN from their mistakes. But they don’t, and I think it is more accidental that Burn and Sibley are in the position they are (as in everybody else failed to attain a decent average while opening), than out of any appreciation of what an opener actually is supposed to do.
It is the same old story with the wicketkeeper. Buttler’s keeping is not good enough, and his batting is not either. So why persevere with him when there are probably options out there who are better in both departments?
Day 3 should be interesting.
If they had just judged Cook on is ability as an opening batsman, who at his peak was very difficult to get out, and would grind down the opposition I wouldn’t have had a problem. But instead they pretended he was a Bradman or a Richards. He simply wasn’t in that class. They created a myth.
His worth was batting time and the runs followed. But then Mr Harrison said the priority was England would play an exciting, attacking brand of cricket. So batting time was boring. Cook didn’t have the shots, which is why he was thrown out of the ODI team. Nothing wrong with that, few do, but the media tried to pretend he was a cricket god.
As to Butler, he seems to stay in the team based on reputation rather than performance. Certain players are like that and tend to have a magic carpet ride where performance hardly matters. Others seem to be playing for their career every test match they play. Nick Compton was always playing for his place, and was criticised for batting time, He was too slow according to people like Shinny toy. If your face fits, selectors can become extremely generous with how many chances you get.
Don’t question Selvey he’s played cricket at the highest level, he was professional, us mere amateurs haven’t and weren’t so we know nothing about the game……
You are spot on, they don’t have a clue, which is why I come to read about cricket here, both the articles and comments!
I’m 7 hours ahead of the U.K. where I am. I decided to stay up to watch Pakistan bowl and I’m glad I did. It was a joy to see their bowlers tear in, to see their enthusiasm in the field, their constant chatter, the way they seemed so ‘up for it’. The complete opposite to England; Pakistan were fun to watch in that evening session…….
Buttler hanging in there. Just 3 runs of 43 balls in the opening hour, but the important thing is that he is still there.
Buttler did not last long after lunch. Fair play to him. He really battled it out. And though 159/6 is still not great, it certainly looks a lot better than 62/4 when he came in.
What’s galling, as ever, is that Broad got a sackful of wickets pitching it up in the last series and once again, come the opening of a new one, his length has shortened again. It’s just bizarre.
Yasir Shah has bowled well, but at the same time England look a batsman light and light on the skill of dealing with spin.
Pakistan 100-4 and after early optimism for England, a spell from Anderson where he couldn’t quite get his line right consistently and the game is basically gone. Stokes about to come on, and as I’m typing, England get a run out thanks to sharp work from Sibley, 101-5, but I can’t see England being able to chase 250 against these 2 spinners on this pitch, esp. give the quality of the seam bowling that will support the spinners.
Not much batting left for Pakistan though. They need to bat out the day to be relatively comfortable (assuming we get all the overs in).
A wonderful and fascinating day. Currently half an hour to go and either side could grab the momentum.
However, if Stokes is going to persuade Root to give him a bowl before the end of the third day, then either a) the selection was messed up, or b) Root isn’t the real captain.
Pakistan seem desperate to throw away what was an excellent position at tea.
Oh and why is Stokes bowling if he is carrying injuries?