Saturday January 28, 2023

Pak vs Eng: Azhar Ali fit to bat, debutant Liam Livingstone ruled out of series

Pakistani batter Azhar Ali suffered finger injury on day four while England's Liam Livingstone's knee was hurt on day three of Rawalpindi Test

By Sports Desk
December 05, 2022
Pakistans right-handed batter Azhar Ali (left) and England debutant Liam Livingstone (right) seen playing a shot in this collage. — AFP/File
Pakistan's right-handed batter Azhar Ali (left) and England debutant Liam Livingstone (right) seen playing a shot in this collage. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan's right-handed batter Azhar Ali is now fit to bat in the remainder of the ongoing Rawalpindi Test against England as he has recovered from an injury he suffered on the fourth day, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Monday.

Ali was hurt on the tip of his right index finger during the fifth over of the second innings on Sunday, after which he left the field for further medical treatment.

“The right-handed batter is fit to bat,” the PCB said in an update on the player's condition.

Liam Livingstone 'ruled out'

Meanwhile, England all-rounder Liam Livingstone, who made his debut in the Rawalpindi Test, will take no further part in the three-match series after a knee injury.

“England all-rounder Liam Livingstone has been ruled out of the rest of the Test series against Pakistan with a right knee injury,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Monday.

“He will return to the UK on Tuesday and commence rehab with the ECB and Lancashire medical teams respectively.

“At this stage, England have yet to make a decision to call up a replacement.”

England set Pakistan daunting target of 343

It must be noted that on day four, England grabbed a couple of quick wickets after setting Pakistan a daunting target of 343 for victory.

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.

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 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.