England v Pakistan, 1st Test Bowlers dominate Lord’s Day 2

July 16, 2016 | By

It is always heartwarming to see a cricket ground almost bursting at the seams with spectators. Lord’s is reported to have a capacity of between 29000 and 30000. Yesterday there was a crowd of 29050; today was no exception and the estimate is that there was another crowd of 29000. MCC officials said the Pakistan Team are a great crowd puller. I suggested that our Team should be invited more often than after a gap of half a decade. There were no dissensions to this proposal.

The atmosphere at Lord’s is absolutely marvellous; the facilities top class and the crowd behaviour impeccable. It was good to see some former celebrities now legends, including Imran Khan of the game, in the stands; the members’ enclosures and the hospitality boxes. The media box was brimming with some familiar famous faces. It was nostalgic to touch base again with Mike Brearley, Geoffrey Boycott, Henry Blofeld (he of the ear rings obsession) , Michael Holding , Derek Pringle, Scyld Berry, David Lloyd, and many others all working either for the electronic or press media. Met Ralph Dellor (he and I had worked together for commentaries in Sharjah) after a long time; he interviewed me for ECB Radio. Pakistan was well represented by our two senior most cricket journalists Qamar Ahmed (covering his 419th Test Match) and Andy (Abdul) Jalil. The affable and much respected Abdul Majid Bhatti was there, besides Naseer Ahmed of Geo, our ace statistician Mazhar Arshad, and Zaynab Abbas of Dunya TV. As always it was refreshing to meet Ramiz Raja and a pleasure and privilege to meet Kamran Abbasi a famous and widely read columnist of Pakistani origin based in UK. The arrangements in the Media Centre were excellent be they for accreditation, seating, lunch, tea and snacks and coffee. The service was efficient and courteous.

Chairman PCB Shahryar Khan escorted by the Team Media Manager Agha Akbar visited the Media Centre during the tea interval for interviews with the BBC and a few journalists. He clarified some misunderstanding which had occurred owing to a misguided tweet. The Social Media Manager for PCB young Aun Zaidi was being very helpful to everyone.

So far as the play is concerned it was bowler dominated day when eleven wickets fell for 300 runs.

Pakistan’s lower half of the batting lived up to its billing and the side lasted another 12.2 over to be rolled over for 339. Woakes and Broad shared equally shared the 4 wickets with Broad finishing with 3 for 71 and Woakes with 6/70; the debutant Jake ball got a wicket which he claimed yesterday. Apart from a quarter century from Sarfraz Ahmed the others including Misbah, Wahab and Amir this morning contributed next to nothing. Pakistan ended with 339.

England lost the inform Alex Hales early to Rahat Ali but then Cook and Root batted quickly and England’s 50 came in 45 balls. At 118/1 England looked like coasting along merrily helped by dropped catches from Hafeez and Sarfraz. But then Yasir Shah who was beginning to confuse and mesmerise the English batsmen induced an unnecessary lofted on drive from Root which took more elevation than distance and Hafeez brought off the catch at deep mid on. 110 had been added for the second wicket and thereafter it was a Yasir Shah show. After Root he got rid of Ballance, and Vince, who were clueless against his leg breaks, googlies and sliders. In between the meddlesome Cook played on to Amir and then Yasir bowled Bairstow with an absolute peach of a delivery and Mueen Ali lbw and England were tottering on 232 for 7. By close Woakes

(31) and Broad (11) had taken the score to 253 with England still 86 runs in arrears with 3 absorbing days’ cricket left.

England’s captain Cook is in hot waters over the slow bowling rate of his side in Pakistan’s innings. ICC rules state that if a Test Team are penalised for slow over rate twice in the same 12 month period the captain should be banned for the following match – and England were punished for this offence after the Ashes Test at the Oval last August. The debutant referee Richie Richardson would be keeping a careful count and if the over rate by England is not improved they may well lose their captain for the Old Trafford Test.

The England Selectors would also be doing some thinking and soul searching. James Anderson who is reported fit will come in at Manchester perhaps in place of Steve Finn. Mueen Ali spin was put to the sword by Misbah and Mueen needs to find some new tricks against Asian sides. The others in contention to replace him could be any one of Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari, Samit Patel or the young Hampshire leg spinner Mason Crane.

Chishty Mujahid

Chishty Mujahid is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous articles published at ScoreLine.org.

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