Pakistan has tightened the grip on the first Test after a remarkable team effort on Day-2. In the first session, the visitors lost Babar in the slip to Anderson but it was the heroics from Shan Masood who scored his third successive century and become the first Pak opener to score a hundred in England after 1996.
Masood played aggressively after the hundred and put a 105 runs partnership with Shadab Kahn who contributed 45 off 76 balls to take Pakistan close to 300. Archer got Abbas and Yasir Shah on consecutive deliveries but Masood took Pakistan to an imposing total of 326.
Pakistani pacers got 28 overs to put some pressure on visitors and they succeed with their new ball pair Mohammed Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Afridi scalped English opener, Burns, in the first over to draw the first blood. Mohammed Abbas picked Dom Sibley next but the real trauma was in wait as Abbas sent off season’s star performer Stokes with a stunner to leave England three down on 12.
The skipper put a steady show with Ollie Pope to add 50 runs in the team total but he edged an outside off delivery to the keeper against Yasir Shah. His 58-balls steady ended with another failure. Ollie Pope showed the resilience to carry England out of the pressure. The middle-order batsman is taking the charge of this sinking ship with not out 46. Butler looked comfortable and added 30 runs for the 5th wicket to finish the day on 92/4.
Pope and Butler pair is the only hope to avoid a huge lead to visitors in the first innings. The third day would be a challenging task for English batsmen but if they avoid the morning session against Afridi and Abbas, they might be in a safe position. Later, Yasir Shah could be a threat so, Pakistan are on the driver’s seat. They can easily get 80-90 runs lead from the first innings if the scar of the pace attack continues at Old Trafford.