close Pakistan Need 157 more runs to beat 202 (Babar 75, Shakeel 63, Leach 4-98) and 198/4 (Shakeel 54*, Faheem 3*) England 281 (Ducket 63, Pope 60, Abrar 7-114) and 275 (Brook 108, Abrar 4-120)
It was another entertaining day of fluctuating Test cricket, with Pakistan’s evening line-up showcasing their free-flowing opening stand of 64 in the 15 overs before lunch, including Mohammad Rizwan – sending Imam to the scans Was promoted for opening after leaving. A damaged hamstring – and Abdullah Shafiq saw the new ball at a blistering 4.27 per over.
Anderson’s first four deliveries of the session were negotiated safely enough, but the fifth was simply unstoppable – a full-length seaming delivery that rattled over Rizwan and jagged badly around his outside edge. Went. Rizwan looked dumbfounded as he went to survey the wreckage, but he was to make 30 off 43 balls, and England were 66 for 1.
At 83 for 3, Pakistan’s innings was tied to the ropes. But with his notable willingness to save his fast bowlers for crucial moments, Stokes instead leaned heavily on his spinners with in-and-out fields, allowing Pakistan to hit through close catchers . Once again, his first-innings weapon, Jack Leach, was Stokes’ most reliable option, but with the two left-handers out, Leach found some tough dealing, going at 4.40 during his 20 overs. Unless, of course, he produced the moment that repaid the belief, and opened up England’s chances of closing out the game.
Up to that moment the opportunities kept coming regardless – on 4, Shakeel slog-swept a Root delivery that fell short of Wood, set a few meters too deep over midwicket, while on 19, Imam brought back a difficult chance did. Down pitch to Will Jaques, who couldn’t stick. The biggest lapse, however, occurred in the final session as Imam, then on 54, lofted his bat over a leg-side lifter, but Stokes disallowed the review, which appeared to have taken a faint tickle. It was a slight sign that the England skipper was starting to feel the heat, as Imam and Shakeel pumped up the confidence with a series of timed cover drives, notably from the then-leaky Leach.
Despite the excitement generated by England’s trio of early wickets, England found little in the way of reverse-swing as the innings progressed, on a day-three pitch that was playing arguably at its best. Stokes himself resisted any temptation to break the emergency glass and bring himself in for the spell, although that possibility remained open for the conclusion of the fourth day, when only a draw would be off the table.
Despite Pakistan’s relative success in the morning session, the major milestone was that of Brook, who converted his overnight 74 into his second century in four innings on the trip. By the time he was dismissed at deep square leg for 108, Brook had hit 14 fours and a six in his 149-ball innings, replete with powerful strokeplay and impressive judgment of length, especially against Abrar’s spin. against, who was once again Pakistan’s most dangerous bowler as he took 4/120 and took 11 wickets on debut.
Before he could convert that start into something more meaningful, however, Stokes went down leg, where Ali raced to a well-judged catch at the midwicket boundary. Robinson then missed leg as Abrar fired a googly through his gate for his 11th wicket, before Wood produced a sharp legbreak to slip past Zahid Mahmood and Anderson reverse swept to wrap up the innings. missed doing That time and again after lunch, England were fully satisfied with their match position. Up close, they were slightly less comfortable, despite Leach’s late success.
Andrew Miller is the UK editor for ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket