Pakistan dominate 2nd England Test after Abrar Ahmed’s spin magic

Published December 9, 2022
Pakistan’s Abrar Ahmed celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Ben Stokes in Multan on December 9. — Reuters
Pakistan’s Abrar Ahmed celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Ben Stokes in Multan on December 9. — Reuters
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (R) tosses the coin as England’s captain Ben Stokes gestures at the beginning of the first day of the second Test match between Pakistan and England at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday. — PCB/Twitter
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (R) tosses the coin as England’s captain Ben Stokes gestures at the beginning of the first day of the second Test match between Pakistan and England at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday. — PCB/Twitter

Pakistan debutant Abrar Ahmed cast a spell over England on Friday, grabbing seven wickets as the tourists were dismissed for 281 on the opening day of the second Test in Multan.

The 24-year-old — nicknamed “Harry Potter” by friends because he wears glasses similar to those of the fictional boy wizard — produced magic of his own to finish with 7-114.

In reply, Pakistan were 107-2 at the close, with skipper Babar Azam unbeaten on 61 and Saud Shakeel on 32, trailing by 174 runs.

Of the 12 wickets that fell on the day, James Anderson was the only fast bowler to dismiss a batter when he found an edge off Pakistan opener Imamul Haq, who departed without scoring.

Abdullah Shafique scored 14 before edging spinner Jack Leach to keeper Ollie Pope, but Azam and Shakeel saw off the day with a third-wicket unbroken stand of 56.

The day belonged to the home team and Ahmed in particular.

Under pressure to square the series, Azam’s wish came true when the pitch took a turn from the outset.

He brought on Ahmed in just the ninth over, and the spinner repaid him by bowling Crawley with a sharp incoming delivery — only his fifth ball in Test cricket.

Ahmed then trapped Duckett and Root leg-before — both given out only after Azam reviewed the on-field calls.

He made it 167-5 when Pope and Brook miscued aggressive shots and were caught.

Ben Stokes (30) and Will Jacks (31) defied the assault after lunch for a 61-run sixth-wicket stand before Ahmed removed the England captain.

Ben Duckett (63) and Pope (60) were the main scorers in an England innings that finished at the stroke of tea after skipper Stokes won the toss and decided to bat.

Spinner Zahid Mahmood claimed the last three wickets to finish with 3-63. Ahmed’s figures were the second-best on debut by a Pakistan bowler — behind pacer Mohammad Zahid’s 7-66 against New Zealand in Rawalpindi in 1996.

He is the 13th Pakistan bowler to take five or more wickets in an innings on debut.

England, on their first tour of Pakistan since 2005, lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Rawalpindi by 74 runs.

Teams

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zahid Mahmood, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali

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