Pakistan steady after Leach’s triple strike
cricket highlights one staf Published on Mon, Dec 19, 2022, 8:52 PM
Saud Shakeel and Babar Azam steadied Pakistan’s innings after the hosts were in a tricky position following Jack Leach’s triple strike, helping the side to 99 for 3 at Lunch on Day 3. The hosts, who overhauled England’s first innings advantage of 50 runs, now hold a 49-run lead in the third Test at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Pakistan, who had resumed their innings on 21 for no loss on Monday morning, took little time to get going, with Shan Masood cracking three boundaries off Joe Root in the first over of the day. While the first boundary came through an outside edge, Masood rocked back and slapped the second one through covers before dancing down the track and hitting the offspinner over the top.
Both Masood and Abdullah Shafique looked comfortable for the first 45 minutes of play, helping Pakistan wipe off the first innings deficit. While Masood gave the early charge, including tonking Root for a six, Shafique also quickly joined in the action, picking a couple of boundaries.
However, the momentum was seized by Leach in a matter of six deliveries. Masood, looking to reverse sweep the spinner, picked the ball from leg stump and inside edged it on to the stumps. In the last ball of the same over, Azhar Ali, who was playing his final Test innings, got out for a four-ball duck on a ball that looped and spun to beat the outside edge and hit the top of the offstump.
Pakistan’s misery didn’t end there. In the first ball of Leach’s next over, he had Shafique trapped leg before while the opener was looking to play a front foot defensive shot. Reduced to 54 for 3, with only a 4-run lead to boast, Pakistan were in dire straits. Morever, by then, the spinners were getting the ball to turn and the pacers were getting it to reverse. Despite the continued lack of pace and bounce, there was more assistance from the pitch for the bowlers than it has ever been in the Test so far.
While Shakeel got going with a couple of boundaries, taking advantage of Leach’s full, loopy deliveries that teased him to drive, and even swept him from far outside the offstump in the next over, the hosts resorted to a more conservative approach in the second hour of the session. Barring Shakeel’s measured attack against Leach, there was no aggressive contest on between the rest. Ollie Robinson had Shakeel pinged on the helmet with a bouncer late in the session and Babar survived a legbefore appeal to head safely to Lunch having added an unbeaten stand of 45 runs for the fourth wicket.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 304 (Babar Azam 78, Agha Salman 56; Jack Leach 4-140) & 99/3 (Saud Shakeel 28*; Jack Leach 3-43) lead England 354 (Harry Brook 111, Be Foakes 64, Ollie Pope 51; Nauman Ali 4-126, Abrar Ahmed 4-150) by 49 run