Close Pakistan 202 (Babar 75, Shakeel 63, Leach 4-98) and 198 for 4 (Shakeel 54*, Faheem 3*) need 157 more runs to defeat. England 281 (Duct 63, Pope 60, Abrar 7-114) and 275 (Brock 108, Abrar 4-120)
Although Saud Shakeel scored an unbeaten 54 in partnership with Faheem Ashraf, the equation at the stumps was easy. Six more wickets for England to take a 2-0 series lead with Karachi, or 157 runs for Pakistan to level the series at 1-1 with Pakistan chasing a new Test record of 355.
It was another enthralling day of Test cricket, with Pakistan’s evening outfit mirroring their free-flowing opening stand of 64 in the 15 overs before lunch, with Mohammad Rizwan-Imam opening after being sent off for a scan. Promoted to A bad hamstring – and Abdullah Shafiq saw the new ball at a brisk 4.27 per over.
Earlier, England had effectively completed their second innings themselves, with Harry Brooke’s second Test century the highlight of a fast-paced batting hour in which he lost his last five wickets for 73 runs. Despite the best part of nine sessions in Tests at this stage, England’s approach reflects their belief that the surface still has plenty to offer their bowlers, and – as in Rawalpindi With their declaration of 342 runs – leaving Pakistan with a nominally viable target of 355, they will be best placed to create mistakes.
Anderson’s first four deliveries of the session were fairly safely delivered, but the fifth was simply unplayable – a full-length seaming delivery that snuck inside Rizwan then bounced badly around the outside edge. So it reached the top of off. Rizwan looked dazed as he turned to survey the wreckage, but he had to make 30 from 43 balls, and England opened at 66 for 1.
Pakistan’s innings ended at 83 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. But with his remarkable willingness to save his seamers for key moments, Stokes instead leaned heavily on his spinners along these outfields, prompting Pakistan to target through closer catchers. Again, his first innings weapon, Jack Leach, was Stokes’ most reliable option, but two left-handers stood him up, with Leach enduring some rough treatment at 4.40 from his 20 overs. What did Until, of course, he produced the moment that paid off faith, and opened up England’s chances to close out the game.
The chances kept coming, regardless – on 4, Shakeel swept a slog over the root that was short of Wood, set a few meters too deep at midwicket, while on 19 Imam hit a tough spot. Returned. Down the pitch on Will Jacks, who couldn’t cling. However, the biggest let-off came in the final session, as Imam, then on 54, flicked his bat at a leg-side lifter and later replays showed he felt the tickles most. Both Wood and Root were adamant they heard a noise, but Ollie Pope behind the stumps was less sure. Stokes reluctantly chose not to waste a review, and the moment was lost.
Despite the excitement generated by England’s trio of early wickets, England found little in the way of reverse swing as the innings progressed, on a three-day pitch that was at its best. was Stokes himself resisted any temptation to break the emergency glass and bring himself in for a spell, although that possibility remains for the end of an exciting fourth day, when only a draw will be off the table.
Despite Pakistan’s relative success in the morning session, the big milestone belonged to Brooke, who turned his overnight 74 in four innings into his second century of the trip. By the time he was dismissed at deep square leg for 108, Brooke had hit 14 fours and a six in his 149-ball innings, which was full of powerful strokeplay and impressive length decisions, particularly at Abrar. Against the spin of K, who was once again run out. Pakistan’s most dangerous bowler, as he took 4 for 120, and 11 on debut.
Before he could turn that start into something more meaningful, however, Stokes came down a heave to leg, where Ali raced to take a well-judged catch on the mid-wicket boundary. Robinson then missed a slog to leg when Abrar slipped a googly through his gate for his 11th wicket, before Wood threw a sharp leg break from Zahid Mahmood to slip and Anderson Missed the reverse sweep to wrap up the innings. At this stage, and again after lunch, England were quite satisfied with the state of their match. Up close, they were a touch less comfortable, despite Leach’s late progress.
Andrew Miller is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket