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Pakistan keep England at bay with defiant batting performance in Multan




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Pakistan gave a much better account of themselves on the third day of the Multan Test against a probing English side. Ben Stokes’ side are still slightly ahead of their opponents in the match, but with Saud Shakeel still at the crease for the hosts, Pakistan can hope for an unlikely victory on the fourth day to level the series.

The onus was on the Pakistani batters after the bowlers did their part in the morning session. The make-shift opening pair of Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan came to bat with positive intent, registering a brisk 66-run stand for the opening wicket. But the Lunch break did the trick for the visitors as veteran English pacer James Anderson produced an absolute beauty to get rid of Rizwan.

Pakistani skipper Babar Azam was next to depart after a vicious inseaming delivery from Ollie Robinson rattled his off stump. It got worse for the hosts after Mark Wood made a mess of Abdullah Shafique’s stumps to restrict them to 83/3. England were in the ascendency with the pacers finding joy on a seemingly two-paced surface.

However, the under-fire Imam-ul-Haq, who was struggling with a hamstring injury, compiled a defiant stand along with the prodigious Saud Shakeel to frustrate the visitors. The duo added 108 runs for the fourth wicket to drag Pakistan back into the contest. But the home side were dealt a severe blow late into the day after Imam was dismissed for a well-compiled 60. 

Harry Brook shines for England with another fluent century against Pakistan

Earlier in the day, England continued their aggressive approach with the bat in the morning session. However, the home side displayed a better bowling performance, scalping the remaining five English wickets in 15 odd overs. But it wasn’t before the prodigious Harry Brook brought up his second century of the series with yet another prolific outing with the bat.

The 23-year-old took a more sensible route at the crease while his skipper Ben Stokes remained the aggressor from the other end. The mercurial English all-rounder equaled his head coach Brendon McCullum’s record of 107 sixes in Tests, the most by any batter, during his 51-ball stay at the crease. 

His dismissal triggered a mini-collapse from the English lower-order batters as England’s innings eventually fizzled out for 275 runs. Pakistan’s Abrar Ahmed once again dazzled with the ball, finishing with 11 wickets to his name on his Test debut. If it wasn’t for him, the home side would’ve been chasing a much stiffer target than 355 runs to level the series.

Here is how Twitter reacted to an absorbing day of Test cricket in Multan: