9th over: Pakistan 23-1 (Abid Ali 9, Azhar Ali 5) A single to Azhar, getting wristy with his leg glance. Pakistan have done pretty well to lose only one wicket here. Broad seems to be signalling for an inhaler, but Mark Wood, unlucky to be 12th man again, trots out with three water bottles.
8th over: Pakistan 22-1 (Abid Ali 9, Azhar Ali 4) The air is so steamy that even Broad is now a swing bowler like his old mate. His inswinger eludes both Abid and Jos Buttler, who concedes four byes; there was a sound but it was bat on pad. Then the outswinger beats the outside edge.
7th over: Pakistan 18-1 (Abid Ali 9, Azhar Ali 4) Abid’s turn to push for two, off Anderson, before he squirts a single off an inside edge. Sky go straight from Shane Warne commentating to Shane Warne advertising hair replacement, joining Darren Gough in possibly the most wooden bit of dialogue ever written. This is so subversive, it’s superb.
Talking of commentary… “Yawn of a request,” says George Murphy. “Can you beg your OBOians for the overseas TMS link? Hard to fathom why but standard web searches never reveal its hiding place. Then again I am an undeniable fool of a techno-loser. Please excuse the tedious request but simultaneous reading and chiselling is a skill I have yet to master. From a Cornish mason in sunny Stavanger.” A lot to unpack there.
6th over: Pakistan 15-1 (Abid Ali 6, Azhar Ali 4) Broad beats Azhar with a leg-cutter, and with an outswinger, but when he brings one back, looking for that lbw, Azhar manages a tuck for two. And then a straight push for another two. If the Pakistanis’ techniques are struggling with the moving ball, their temperaments are in good order.
5th over: Pakistan 11-1 (Abid Ali 6, Azhar Ali 0) A boundary! Anderson keeps pitching it up, as you would, and Abid is calm enough to spot a half-volley and ease it through the covers.
4th over: Pakistan 7-1 (Abid Ali 2, Azhar Ali 0) That dropped catch yielded a single, the only run Broad has conceded so far. He’s bowling every ball as if still making a point about his omission here last month.
Dropped! Abid, off Broad, on 1
It’s all happening. Abid gets a chunky nick and Dom Sibley, at third slip, can only parry a shoulder-high chance as Rory Burns, at second, goes for it too. The commentators point out that Stokes would normally be at second, with Burns at third, but even Stokes has been dropping a few lately.
3rd over: Pakistan 6-1 (Abid Ali 1, Azhar Ali 0) So Anderson strikes early and Masood follows his majestic 156 with scores of 0 and 1. And in comes Azhar, the captain, who is in no sort of form. Another lbw cannot be ruled out.
Wicket! Shan Masood lbw b Anderson 1 (Pakistan 6-1)
Oh Jimmy Jimmy! It’s full, it’s swinging back into the left-hander, it’s hitting middle and it’s not even worth a review. That is wicket no. 591 for England’s most prolific seamer. Who on earth said this man should be left out?
2nd over: Pakistan 6-0 (Shan Masood 1, Abid Ali 1) You’ll never guess who’s sharing the new ball with Anderson. Yes, it’s Stuart Broad, who was infamously discarded for the last Test on this ground. He too beats Abid Ali, with bounce more than movement. Poor old Abid is making a strong bid for a role that now seems to be a staple of the English summer: the visiting opener who becomes a walking wicket.
1st over: Pakistan 6-0 (Shan Masood 1, Abid Ali 1) Masood pushes the first ball for a single. Anderson immediately beats Abid Ali with a ball that goes like a leg-cutter. Abid picks up a single too, trying to leave one, and then there are four leg byes as Shan shapes to glance.
“So Fawad hasn’t played a Test since 2009,” says Peter Williams. “Does that mean his nickname should be Fast Fawad?”
Joe Root has so much faith in Jimmy Anderson, he’s even giving him the new ball. If Chris Woakes wasn’t so genial, he might be seething.
“Brave of Azhar,” says Felix Wood, “to win the toss given what has happened in the other four Tests this summer.” Good spot! Every loser wins. “Not sure about the Archer decision – it really does feel that Root hasn’t quite worked out how to best use him.” Very true. As my colleague Rob Smyth observed the other day, Jofra looks as if he could do with a dose of Eoin Morgan.
“Fawad Alam plays his first Test for 11 years,” says Simon Wilde of The Sunday Times on Twitter. “He’s sat out the last 88 Tests, so should be fully rested.”
Teams: Fawad, Crawley and Curran come in
Sure enough, Shadab Khan gives way to Fawad Alam, as Azhar feels that one leggie will do, and Zak Crawley stands in for Ben Stokes. It’s Sam Curran rather than Mark Wood who replaces Jofra Archer, so England are willing to sacrifice velocity for better batting – though Curran does bring a touch of Stokes’s ability to make things happen. “Feels like it could swing,” says Joe Root. It may need to, given England’s lack of pace.
Toss: Pakistan win and bat
Azhar Ali does a Stokes and decides to bat first, even though the pitch has some grass on it. He and Joe Root remember to bump elbows, a social ritual that always seems to make people smile.
Preamble: it’s all gone yellow
Morning everyone and welcome to the second Test. When Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler pulled off their thrilling heist on Saturday, they secured something that has become almost unheard-of for international cricketers: a Sunday off. Now England’s players and their Pakistani guests may be about to enjoy a few more breathers. In the Met Office forecast for this match at Southampton, every one of the five days carries a yellow warning. The South of England is so humid that we may see the first recorded case of steam going into Jimmy Anderson’s ears.
There will be rain, and it looks like being torrential. But there should be sunny spells too. It feels like a day for bowling at the ground where Ben Stokes fluffed his lines by opting to bat in the first Test of the summer. England’s Test team, who have a 100-per-cent record at Old Trafford this year, have a 0-per-cent record at the Ageas Bowl. It would be good for the game if they could maintain that. Wherever your allegiance lies, 1-1 with one to play is a lot more fun than 2-0. This Pakistan side, with their spirit and spark, hardly deserved to leave Manchester empty-handed.
As his father is unwell, England will have to do without Stokes for the first time since the Lord’s Test against India in 2018, when Chris Woakes borrowed his cape and belted a hundred. Stokes’s place almost certainly goes to Zak Crawley, who was the fall guy for the last two Tests when Superman was ruled unfit to bowl. The consolation for Crawley is that he will be returning to the scene of his most commanding performance for England, 76 against West Indies a month ago. If England are still rotating, Mark Wood or Sam Curran – or even the highly promising Ollie Robinson – should come in for Jofra Archer. But then if they really believed in rotation, they would have brought Jack Leach in for Dom Bess, and given Anderson a game off.
Pakistan are expected to stick with ten of the XI who made the running at Old Trafford. Shadab Khan, whose counter-punching 45 played a big part in that, may have to make way for Fawad Alam, who’s a rare bird in Pakistan cricket having reached the age of 34 with only three Test caps. He would stiffen the batting and be a second left-hander to go with Shan Masood, the man whose 156 dwarfed all the other scores on the doors. Play starts at 11am, all being well, with the toss at 10.30.
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