Stokes gives England hope in first Test

Updated 08 Aug 2020

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England's Ben Stokes (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi on the third day of the first Test cricket match between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester on August 7, 2020. — AFP
England's Ben Stokes (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi on the third day of the first Test cricket match between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester on August 7, 2020. — AFP

MANCHESTER: Ben Stokes took two late wickets to help drag England back into the first Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Friday.

Pakistan, on top for most of this match, were 137-8 in their second innings at stumps on the third day — a lead of 244 runs.

Stokes, who didn’t bowl in the third Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford last month because of an injury, took 2-11 in 20 balls.

He struck with just his eighth delivery of the match when he had Mohammad Rizwan lbw for 27 on umpire’s call. And the paceman struck again before stumps when he had tailender Shaheen Shah Afridi caught fending at a short ball.

Only twice have a team chased more than 200 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford, with England making 294-4 against New Zealand in 2008 and 231-3 against the West Indies at the Manchester ground in 2004.

England are also trying to end a run of losing the first Test in each of their last five series, with eight of their past 10 openers ending in defeat.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020