Multan December 10, 2022: England are coasting after a terrific session capped by Jack Leach’s 100th Test wicket as Pakistan collapsed spectacularly losing eight for 60 this morning to be all out for 202.
England will bat again with a 79 run lead and with Pakistan to go in last on a turning pitch, this feels like a series defining day.
Once Pakistan lost Babar Azam – bowled by a beauty in Ollie Robinson’s first over of the Test match for 75 off 95 – they froze, going nowhere as England attacked with orthodox fields and Stokes cannily rotated his pace bowlers and spinners. At one stage Pakistan lost three for zero runs, the game turning decisively.
Leach finished with four for 98, Joe Root nipped in with two in his first over of the day and Mark Wood and Robinson did the rest.
We are seeing two cricketing philosophies in this series and one is way ahead of the other. Whereas England would have tried to hit their way out of trouble once their best player was out, Pakistan attempted to consolidate after Babar but just went down a blind alley and then could not cope with the pressure exerted.
Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan scored 16 off 69 balls, ambition replaced by caution from two freescoring players.
Shakeel became Leach’s 100th Test wicket the ball after depositing him for four when he skied another lofted drive but this time was caught at mid on by James Anderson running round and taking a decent catch.
Rizwan, who opens in T20s, took 28 balls to get off the mark, his pedestrian approach curious for such an attacking batsman. He, like Shakeel, was dismissed the ball after a four, Leach producing one of the best balls of his career that landed on leg, turned and hit off.
The rest of the dismissals were pretty lame. Mohammad Nawaz drove Leach to mid off, unnerved by the close in field, and Root took two in four balls – Salman Agha inside edging to mid on, Mohammad Ali caught at slip.
Wood picked up a richly deserved wicket when Zahid Mahmood was lbw slap bang in front of middle.