|Second test, Multan (second day out of five)|
|England 281 (Duckett 63, Pope 60; Abrar 7-114) & 202-5 (Duckett 79, Brook 74*; Abrar 3-81)|
|pakistani 202 (Babar 75, Shakeel 63; Washout 4-98)|
|England lead by 281 points|
England took control of the game and the series thanks to a spectacular collapse from Pakistan on the second day of the second Test in Multan.
The home side lost eight wickets for 60 runs, at one point including three for no runs, to slip to 202 all.
After Babar Azam was kicked by Ollie Robinson for 75, Jack Leach took three wickets for a total of 4-98, while Joe Root and Mark Wood took two apiece.
When Leach caught Saud Shakeel superbly through James Anderson for 63, it marked the left arm spinner’s 100th wicket in Test cricket.
England’s growth from a 79 first-leg lead was led by fly-half Ben Duckett, who was on course for a second century in as many matches before being beaten by Abrar Ahmed for 79.
It was the third of the sets and the 10th of the game for Abrar, the first Pakistani debutant to achieve such a feat in 16 years.
England lost Ollie Pope carelessly before the close but Harry Brook remains on 74, the Tourists 202-5.
With a 281 lead on a ground offering so much to spinners, England probably have enough already. It would take a huge effort for Pakistan to win from here.
Decisive day in match and series
England were made to work so hard for their thrilling First Test victory, but here Pakistan’s implosion offered a dominant position.
As a result, it is likely to be the decisive day of the game and the series, with England closing in on their first triumph against Pakistan outside the UK for 22 years.
That’s not to say England don’t deserve their advantage. Clever, defensive placements on the pitch helped Leach and the selection of three specialist pace bowlers on spinner-favoring ground was vindicated by wickets taken by Robinson and Wood.
England were expected to build on their lead by blazing into the afternoon but instead built steadily at their slowest scoring pace in the series so far .
Abrar, who took seven wickets in the first leg, carried the fight again, having a hand in all five wickets to go down.
In addition to the three of his own, Abrar knocked out Zak Crawley and was the bowler when Pope was fired. His spectacular effort on his debut should count for nothing.
Duckett was called up for the first time in six years for the first Test and already appears to have made the flyhalf spot his own.
A hundred in Rawalpindi was followed by 63 in the opening innings here. This time he helped himself with trademark sweeps and pull-ups.
After Crawley was worn down for three by Abrar’s direct hit from the middle and Will Jacks, promoted to give Pope rest after keeping the wicket, was started, Duckett and Root added 54 for the third counter.
A sweeping root was held brilliantly by short-legged Abdullah Shafique, but Duckett looked destined for a century, especially when Babar dropped the simplest hold at half wicket with the opener on 69.
The southpaw was only knocked down by one that Abrar managed to scuttle low. It gave Abrar his 10th, ended a 68 partnership with Brook and, more importantly, showed how difficult it will be for Pakistan to pursue a target on a deteriorating surface.
As the light faded, Pope was exhausted in a confusion with Brook, who himself passed 50 for the third time in this series and will return on Sunday with captain Ben Stokes.
Pakistan’s collapse gives control to England
When Pakistan went from their 107-2 overnight to 142-2, the game was on the line. Babar and Shakeel were set and the first leg of England 281 was closed.
But Robinson, who did not play on the first day, needed just two deliveries to make a telling intervention. On the seventh over of the day, Robinson produced a beauty that came back to bowl Babar between bat and pad.
Leach was struggling to make an impact until Shakeel attempted a ground loft. Anderson, running from the middle, took a fine hold, made more difficult by the fact that there was a risk of collision with Jacks, to give Leach his 100th wicket.
And, after Leach produced a heartbreaking delivery to bowl Mohammed Rizwan – tossing over the leg and striking through the middle and outside – Pakistan fell back in sweet fashion.
Mohammad Nawaz pushed Leach halfway, then Salman Agha tapped halfway and Mohammad Ali was caught sliding, both in the same root.
Wood, bowling at a high pace, pinned Zahid Mahmood in front and pinched square-legged Faheem Ashraf deep for his first Test wickets since March.
“I’m getting better and better at Test Cricket” – reaction
English spinner Jack Leach will be Test Match Special after reaching 100 Test wickets: “It’s a nice little step, but I really want to keep winning games for England and let the rest take care of itself. I feel like I’m getting better and better in test cricket . I’m learning all the time. I just want to keep pushing.”
“I don’t think we’re putting a number on a lead. I’d love 500, but if they’re going to score the game-high total in the fourth inning, we’ll feel pretty confident.”
Pakistani striker Saud Shakeel: “We’re in a 50-50 situation but we’re confident. We chased 350 at Galle on rotating ground on day five so we could chase anything around 320 or 330.
“The pitch is getting better every day. It’s spinning but it’s spinning slowly. So if we can get a few partnerships, we can do anything.”
Former England spinner Vic Marks: “England were quite measured today. Once Babar left, they realized they didn’t need to be too aggressive and just kept the pressure on.
“Even beating they didn’t play any outlandish moves. I really liked England’s approach. The momentum is right with them.”
Former Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis: “Pakistan are far behind in this game. They threw it away in the morning. They didn’t know how to kick, they were worried and went into their shell. It’s dangerous against a team full of confidence.”