Pakistan capitulate on a Rainy 3rd Day at Old Trafford

July 25, 2016 | By

The day was cloudy and gloomy with Pakistan’s performance clouded by ineptness and their situation gloomier. There were at least five stoppages for light rain showers – in the end one lost count. The cut off time was first extended to 7 pm and then to 7.30 pm light permitting. At times it threatened early closure but then the sun peeped out. The latest resumption was at 6.45 pm. The crowd today was the smallest of all three days – 13,356 (perhaps because of the weather although Sunday should have attracted a full house). It was 17000 and 16566 on the 1st and 2nd days respectively.

Earlier we witnessed a demonstration of irresponsible and careless batting from the Pakistanis with the exception of Misbah ul Haq who once again was his composed, unruffled and dignified self against heavy odds.

Their unprofessional approach in the task of chasing a mammoth England first innings total of 589 for 8 declared on a good batting strip which began yesterday evening continued today. The pitch played well if anything slowed down on the second day and today. Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah unable to handle the swinging deliveries were all undone by Anderson, Broad, Stokes and Woakes.

Anderson accounted for Shan Masood’s wicket for the fifth time since the two came face to face starting from the UAE last year. Pakistan went to a late lunch as the first session was extended by 40 minutes because of rain stoppages at a miserable 119/8 still a mere 470 runs in arrears!! In the 21 overs bowled Pakistan manages 62 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. After lunch it was a 60 run partnership between Misbah and Wahab which ultimately took Pakistan to 198.

Wahab played a cameo (that is how he plays) and struck Moeen Ali for the only six of the series for Pakistan; and the second of the series the first having been scored by Woakes off Amir yesterday. Misbah fell into the trap set for him. Moeen was brought on and he reverse swept him and then played a few orthodox sweeps. Cook moved to fine leg about 20 yards from the wicket and Misbah top edged a sweep straight down his throat. The last pair of Riaz and Amir pottered around for a while when finally the cool and calm Moeen Ali had the belligerent Riaz caught by Hales to end Pakistan’s innings at 198 – 391 runs in deficit. This is the second highest lead by England against Pakistan in Tests. The highest was over 60 years ago in 1954 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham when Dennis Charles Scott Compton plundered the Pakistan bowling for 278 runs. Misbah scored his 5th consecutive half century in Tests; the others provided loose change. Anderson and Broad took a wicket each. Woakes was the pick of the bowlers taking 4 while Stokes had 2 and Moeen Ali chipped in with 2 including the all important scalp of Misbah ul Haq. Saqalain Mushtaq the England spinning coach is giving useful lessons to Moeen (and the English batsmen) and was prominently seen filming the bowling spell of Moeen from the pavilion.

The logical step here would have been for Alastair Cook to ask Pakistan “to follow their innings.” He left all the experts aghast when he and Hales raced off to the pavilion, at a speed which would have qualified them for a place in the sprint events at the Rio Olympics, with Cook signalling the batting sign to his opening partner. England had decided to bat. This they did with another couple of rain interruptions and when play ended for the third day they were 98/1 off the 21 overs available. England are now 489 runs on the aggregate with nine second innings wickets intact and two days or 180 overs left in the match. Not many understood Cook’s action.

Under the circumstances and keeping the weather in mind it did appear bizarre. But his thinking would have been to get a huge enough lead and get Pakistan to play the last innings on a pitch that would have deteriorated enough on the fourth afternoon onwards to provide assistance to seam and spin. He probably did not enforce the follow on because he does not have a Yasir Shah (not even an Adil Rashid) in bowling line-up. Cook would like to set Pakistan a target of 600 or thereabouts and then let his pace quartet and a “restored” Moeen Ali have a go at the Pakistani batting. Tomorrow we may witness an early “lathi” charge from the England batsmen – they   have nine wickets and all their batsmen except perhaps Anderson can bat well and quickly, Cook may also shuffle the batting order holding back Vince and Ballance and promoting Stokes, Woakes and Bairstow.

However, it could rain throughout tomorrow and the day after. But the weather forecasts which because of the advances made in technology are fairly accurate do not predict that. An overcast sky and may be a shower or two will suit the England pacemen who relish in the typical English conditions.

Chishty Mujahid

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

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