It was yet another dank day of Test cricket at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton; however, Pakistan’s lower-order displayed doggedness against England, holding the fort somehow. Keeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s gritty half-century and steering Pakistan’s innings was the highlight before his vital stand with Babar Azam, shepherding them to 223 with one wicket remaining.
The play stood suspended for more than an hour on the second day as showers did not allow the players to resume action. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan fought successfully before lunch, surviving close shaves in favourable conditions for English bowlers. As their partnership grew to 41, Stuart Broad made Babar play one bowling at the fourth stump. It was a nagging line and length that the batsman edged to Jos Buttler after a 126-ball stay for 47 runs.
Six overs later, Yasir Shah nicked another one to Buttler as James Anderson picked up his third scalp. Shaheen Afridi survived for 19 deliveries and one that almost carried to Joe Root at slip during his stay. However, umpires concluded that the ball touched the grass. An over later, Shaheen hit the axe on his foot as Sibley fired a direct hit from gully to run the speedster out, having walked halfway through the pitch from the non-striker’s end.
Mohammad Rizwan keeps England at bay:
The wicket of Shaheen Afridi made Rizwan shift gears, collecting three boundaries in the next three overs and gradually the visitors crossed the 200-run mark. At the other end, Mohammad Abbas followed Afridi’s footsteps, blocking deliveries to save the wicket of Rizwan. Even as England took the new ball, they were unable to break the stubbornness of the pair.
Bad light interfered midway through the 85th over and the next over brought Abbas’ 20-ball stay to an end as Broad pinned him on the front. By this time, Pakistan’s score had raised to 215 as Rizwan reached his half-century as well. The umpires sheepishly called the players to return out of the ground yet again as bad light was here to stay through to the stumps, avoiding 43 overs.