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Wednesday February 08, 2023

Fiery Brook leads England charge in first Test against Pakistan

England grab couple of quick wickets after setting Pakistan a daunting target of 343 for victory

By AFP
December 04, 2022
England’s Harry Brook (R) plays a shot as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the fourth day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 4, 2022. — AFP
England’s Harry Brook (R) plays a shot as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the fourth day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 4, 2022. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: England grabbed a couple of quick wickets Sunday after setting Pakistan a daunting target of 343 for victory with one day to play in a high-scoring first Test at Rawalpindi.

Pakistan lost Abdullah Shafique (six) and skipper Babar Azam (four) in their second innings before Imam-ul-Haq (43) and Saud Shakeel (24) ended day four at the crease on 80-2.

Earlier, Harry Brook struck a fiery 87 as England batted aggressively in their second innings before declaring at 264-7 - a lead of 78.

Debutant spinner Will Jacks took a career-best 6-161 as England finally dismissed Pakistan for 579 in response to their mammoth first-innings score of 657.

Seeking ten Pakistan wickets in a maximum of 130 overs, England showed their intent early and Ollie Robinson soon bounced out opener Shafique — who scored a century in the first innings.

In the same over he struck Azhar Ali with a sharp, rising delivery, forcing him to retire with an injured finger.

Then Stokes got the prized wicket of Pakistan skipper Azam by forcing an edge off a rising delivery that landed safely in keeper Ollie Pope´s hands — shocking the holiday crowd of 14,200.

But Haq — who also scored a century in the first innings — steadied the ship with Shakeel with a 55-run third-wicket stand.

The second session belonged to England, who added 218 runs before declaring when Brook was bowled in Naseem Shah´s last over before tea.

Brook smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes in a swashbuckling knock, coming after his 153 in England´s first innings.

Root also played a part in a 96-run partnership with Brook, scoring his 55th Test half-century.

Leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood dismissed Root and Stokes (nought) in the same over to finish with figures of 2-84, while Naseem took 2-66 and Mohammad Ali 2-64.

In the morning session, debutant Jacks took all three wickets to fall after Pakistan resumed at 499-7 -- but not before the host´s tail-enders scored freely on a much-maligned flat Rawalpindi Stadium pitch.

Agha Salman (53) and Mahmood (17) frustrated England for 50 minutes during their stubborn eighth-wicket stand of 57.