Rehan Ahmed the star as England on the brink of making History:
Pakistan started the day with high hopes, 10 wickets in hand and a lead of a few runs on board. The openers ended the second day on a decent note and so they were expected to chip in their generous contributions. With Shan Masood on strike, Joe Root came to bowl and was welcomed with three fours from the Southpaw, who looked as if Bazball had just been renamed as Shanball. Wood joined his former captain from the other end and bowled to the other opener, Abdullah. Root in his next over had to endure a six at the hands of Shan, again, after which his Skipper, Ben Stokes, decided to end his misery and brought in Jack Leach to the attack. Pakistan reached at parity with England’s tally and now began the time to start giving a target to the visitors. This change proved to be absolutely lethal for Pakistan as the spinner in his first over broke the stumps of Shan Masood and after him sent Azhar Ali, the new man in, back to take the long walk to the pavilion for the last time, with a merciless naught next to his name.
Pakistan could smell trouble in the air and Babar Azam, the man who had rescued this team several times earlier as well, walked out to the field. Now it was Abdullah and Babar facing the fire-spitting English. However, the next moment one of the two fell again. It was Abdullah Shafique whose pads were slammed into by Leach’s ball and Umpire’s finger rose in the air. Abdullah knew it was his time to go and so he walked out without reviewing the decision. Pakistan was left stranded with only Babar trying to cruise through this Bazball cyclone. Saud Shakeel walked in next and was welcomed by an unwanted company of fielders around him. Nevertheless, the unintimidated Shakeel played his shot and got off the mark with a four to Leach. A very much needed riposte by Pakistan. Wood was soon replaced with Ollie Robinson to target the Skipper and the kingpin of Pakistan, Babar Azam. The juggling of the ball between the spinner and the quick continued and at the end of the 23rd over Pakistan were at 76/3. After a few overs of Leach and Robinson continuing and Saud taking a blow to his helmet, an energetic appeal by Jack Leach to dismiss Babar Azam echoed in the ground. The on-field umpire was not interested so the English skip went to the third umpire, who agreed with the on-field umpire and Babar was rescued.
Wood was reintroduced to give Robinson a little break, Leach however did not get any. In the teams went for Lunch after 33 overs of Pakistan’s batting. When they came back Leach continued. To share the ball with him the Skipper Ben Stokes decided to end his self-imposed exile and came in to bowl. To England’s dismay, none of Pakistan’s two key batters fell in the coming overs and even kept on hitting boundaries whenever they could. England was frustrated yet was maintaining the composure. The Captain and Jack Leach continued till the end of 45th over, after which Ollie Robinson was asked to replace Jack Leach. Rehan Ahmed, the young debutant was being deprived of the ball but anyway England was not seeing much success as Pakistan was safely trying rebuild their chances again. Both fast bowlers were bowling from both ends. Wood was given the ball in place of Robinson to use his short balls to end Babar’s stay, but he too did not get any success in doing so. Finally, Rehan Ahmed was handed the ball and to England’s immense pleasure he did what his senior compatriots could not. He did what brought England back into the game immediately. He ousted Babar Azam, the big fish, the main threat. Alot of the credit for this wicket goes to Ollie Pope who took a screamer at short mid-wicket, though.
Rizwan came in and was halted by Babar Azam at the boundary who gave him a few cookies of wisdom. The cookies, unluckily for Pakistan, did not come in handy for Rizwan. Jack Leach came back in place of Wood and Rehan continued from the other end. Bad time started for Pakistan as Rizwan found himself dismissed in Rehan’s over as well. England had bright smiles on their faces and Pakistan for the umpteenth time in this series were thrown out of the game. Amidst panic and trouble, Agha Salman trod in. Both English spinners continued troubling Pakistan from both sides. Joe Root was introduced for a while to replace Leach but Rehan stayed. What a day was Rehan having! He bowled another ball which had Saud Shakeel’s name on it and sent back Pakistan’s only set batsman at that time. Ashraf came in his place and faced the beast Rehan on his first ball.
Leach was sent in to bowl just before Tea and the second session of the day ended with England clearly in domination and Pakistan sitting with fingers in hair, imagining a clean sweep, prospects of which were increasing more and more with time. Pakistan was leading with only 127 runs and four wickets intact.
Tea break ended and the third session started. Rehan bowled to him Faheem and Root came in next in place of Leach. His coming was what ended Faheem Ashraf’s chances to make his mark in this match with his bat. Strolled in Nauman Ali next to join Agha Salman, who by then had become very much accustomed to this situation where he was the team’s only hope. Nauman and Agha tried to stop the flow of fall of wickets but runs did not come in amply. Joe Root and then Mark Wood took the responsibility to bowl from one end, while Rehan Ahmed continued from the other. Finally, Wood soared with Pakistan’s eighth. Wood thumped Nauman’s pads but Joel Wilson did not raise his finger. The captain signalled for a review and the DRS showed that England were right and the doors back to pavilion for Nauman opened. The wayward Mohammad Wasim came in and went out just like that. A farcical slog from him off Rehan’s delivery, made the ball land in Robinson’s hand at mid-off. Ninth fell for Pakistan out of which 4 were in Rehan’s pocket. Abrar entered the arena next as the last batter. Salman remained at the other end and both players tried to get as much runs to add to the tally as possible. In the end, Salman gave Rehan his timber to help him claim his five-wicket haul and become the youngest debutant to do so. Pakistan’s innings ended and ended short of what would have been a good total. A target of 167 was on the board. The onus was, now, moved to the whatever meagre number of Pakistan bowlers there was in the lineup and in went both teams to prepare for the beginning of the last innings of the game.
ENGLAND’S 2ND INNINGS:
Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett entered the field with Pakistan team and started their blitz from the get-go. Abrar Ahmed, the spinner, came to bowl the first over and Crawley avenged his wicket in the last innings by hitting him two fours in the first over. Nauman Ali, to no-one’s astonishment, was given the ball to continue from the other end. He too was treated with two back to back fours and ended his first at the cost of 13 runs. England looked in hurry and Pakistan wanted to erase this day from the records of history.
This torrent of runs did not end and neither did any wicket come for the Pakistan spinners. Babar looked towards his pacers for some help and the debutant Mohammad Wasim Junior came to bowl. England was trouncing Pakistan in literal term. The scoring rate was 9.14 after 7 overs. Faheem complemented Wasim from the other side. Both quicks contained the flow of runs. After wasting two reviews in Wasim’s overs, Babar decided to let a spinner into the attack again. It did the trick and Crawley yet again became the victim of Abrar Ahmed. Rehan Ahmed came in next, maybe to take over Stuart Broad’s job as he started his innings with a boundary. Abrar Ahmed did not like this derision and punished Rehan in his next over by demolishing his stump. England lost two and the Skipper Ben Stokes came out to face the Pakistani bowlers next. Umpires after every over were checking the light but Karachi’s sun seemed to be enjoying the game as well, so the day’s play continued. Mohammad Wasim was soon replaced with Nauman Ali and again spinners from both ends were rolling their arms over the pitch. The game continued for a few more overs in which no wicket fell and England’s tally reached 112, only 55 runs less of clean sweeping Pakistan for the first time in the history in their home. Umpires took of the bails and ended the 3rd day of the Test match. Tomorrow will surely be the last day of England bazballing this year and the three lions will definitely make it one to remember.