England and Pakistan draw rain-hit Test


Second Test, Ageas Bowl, Southampton (day five of five)
Pakistan 226:Rizwan 72, Abid 60, Broad 4-56
England 110-4 dec:Crawley 53, Abbas 2-28
Match drawn; England lead 1-0 in series

England and Pakistan played out a draw in the second Test at the Ageas Bowl.

The result was already all but confirmed with bad weather decimating the Test.

More rain prevented play starting until 15:20 BST, after which England reached 110-4 in reply to Pakistan’s 236 before the captains agreed to a draw at 18:05.

Zak Crawley made 53 and Dom Sibley 32 but fell in consecutive Mohammad Abbas overs. Ollie Pope was out for nine 15 minutes before the close.

Only 135.3 overs – a day and a half’s play – were possible in the match, the shortest Test in England since 1987.

England will take a 1-0 lead into the third and final Test, which begins on Friday at the same ground.

The low-key final day’s play was played in perfect, sunny conditions that were a far cry from the previous four.

Frustrations have been voicedthat there has not been more play – the players left the field on the first two days for bad light when it did not feel overly dangerous, and when the entire third day was lost there was a two-hour period when it felt like there could have been action.

The Test ends with a strong feeling that cricket must do more. That said, this was only the third draw in the past 43 Tests in the UK.

Sun shines at last as Test drifts to a close

Had there been more play, this could have been a fascinating match.

The final day was a mere formality but still the action was watchable and the little play there was on previous days was thrilling.

England resumed on 7-1 on day five – in batting conditions greatly improved on the seamer-friendly previous days – and Crawley played with impressive intent given the situation.

The 22-year-old hit seven fours in reaching his third half-century in seven Tests. The frustration he showed after being trapped lbw playing across the line showed he wanted more runs to secure his place in the team more firmly.

Sibley was more sedate, as is his style, but it will be of concern that he was caught down the leg side. It is a form of dismissal that is becoming common for the opener.

With little to lose, Pakistan pushed for more wickets with attacking fields and caused England’s batsmen problems. Pope went back to a ball from leg-spinner Yasir Shah that skidded on and trapped him lbw.

What else was learned in short Test?

Followingdefeat in the first Test, the tourists showed enough resilience to suggest the series finale will be competitive, weather permitting.

Mohammad Rizwan impressed with 72 in difficult conditions and Babar Azam hinted again at why he is so highly regarded by making 47. Abbas showed once again how effective he is in English conditions.

For England the major positive was the return to form of James Anderson.

He was far more penetrativethan at Old Traffordand his 3-60 leaves him seven wickets short of 600 in Tests. Speculation about his retirement should quieten again for now.

Stuart Broad’s incredible summer continued. Another four wickets mean he has 26 in four Tests this summer at an average of 12.38.

The situation fell horribly for Rory Burns when he had to face Shaheen Afridi and Abbas in bowler-friendly conditions on the fourth day with little to gain. He got a fourth-ball duck but has more than enough goodwill in the bank to keep his place.

‘Experience in the bank for young batsmen’ – what they said

England captain Joe Root:“It would have been nice to have a result possible at the end of today but on a pitch like that it was impossible.

“We knew we needed to be professional today and put those partnerships on. It’s experience in the bank for a young batting line-up.

“Zak Crawley, in particular, played with great fluency on a wicket that was very difficult to feel in on. He played extremely well.

“We’ll go into every game looking to win it and trying to win the series 2-0. It’s nice to be in position going into the final game.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special:“After the disappointment of Manchester I expected England to blow Pakistan away here.

“When I saw the ball moving as it did on day one I thought if Pakistan get beyond 150 I’d be surprised, but they showed a huge amount of skill.

“Abid Ali played beautifully, Babar Azam is a class act and Mohammad Rizwan is a firecracker. He’s the kind of cricketer I’d love to have in my team.”

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali:“The best thing out of his Test is that we didn’t have to bowl too much. It’s a big Test coming up and hopefully we’re fit and ready.”

Player of the match Mohammad Rizwan:“I was looking forward to a good contest – we’ve worked hard for it – but unfortunately we couldn’t play the full game.”

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