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Pakistan v England: first Test day three – live

Key events

86th over: Pakistan 304-3 (Shakeel 2, Babar 32) A sweet cover drive off Anderson brings Shakeel another single.

85th over: Pakistan 302-3 (Babar 31, Shakeel 1) A first Test run for Saud Shakeel as he bunts Robinson into the off side for a single.

84th over: Pakistan 300-3 (Shakeel 0, Babar 30) Babar clips to the leg side for a couple to take Pakistan to 300. And yet they’re still not even halfway there.

Right then, Jimmy Anderson is getting loose. We’re back on.

Michael writes in: “I’ve just been catching up on the days play and love the poetic justice of you stating no one can get here and then a wicket falling next over. You should try and use your commentators curse powers more often!”

Head to the 65th over to see my magic powers in action.

“Hi Taha.” Hi Peter Salmon.

“Congratulations on you debut! How were the overnight nerves? Did Rob Smyth present you with your cap?”

Genuinely: quite a tough sleep. It was the double trouble of trying to force myself to bed early for the 4am start, while also being frightened of missing my alarm. I’m gonna need a nap after this wraps up.

Still waiting for a cap, and a speech as good as this:

Lunch – Pakistan 291-3

Leach concedes a boundary to Babar in the final over before the break, but that was very much England’s session. They’ve picked up three wickets on the flattest of pitches, with the two openers – who put on 225 for the first wicket – both gone. With Saud Shakeel out there and still waiting for his first runs in Test cricket, England will be pleased with where they’re at.

82nd over: Pakistan 291-3 (Babar 21, Shakeel 0) Root takes the new ball from the other end, conceding a single from the set.

81st over: Pakistan 290-3 (Babar 20, Shakeel 0) Saud Shakeel is in on debut to block out the final ball of Leach’s over.

WICKET! Azhar lbw Leach 27 (Pakistan 290-3)

Despite some decent signs of reverse swing for Anderson, England have taken the new ball at the first opportunity – it’s Jack Leach who has it. And he strikes with his fifth ball! The ball skids on to trap Azhar, and the finger eventually goes up. Pakistan review, but it’s three reds. That call makes this England’s session, imo.

80th over: Pakistan 287-2 (Babar 18, Azhar 26) Anderson continues with the reversing ball, and Azhar picks up four more with a gentle dab behind point.

79th over: Pakistan 283-2 (Azhar 22, Babar 18) Wide outside off from Robinson, and Babar thumps it away for four. Pope is up to the stumps, and he can’t stop a leg-side delivery from running away for four byes.

78th over: Pakistan 272-2 (Azhar 21, Babar 12) Hello, Jimmy. England’s greatest is into the attack for the first time today, but Azhar shows him little respect: the second ball of the over is full and the batter drives through the covers for four. A few moments later there’s a sharp bouncer, and… oooh a chance from the final ball – Azhar’s inside edge flies, and Zak Crawley can’t hold on with one hand at leg slip. It would’ve been a worldie.

77th over: Pakistan 267-2 (Azhar 16, Babar 12) Robinson is a touch too wide outside off and Azhar steers the ball to the boundary for four. The quick sends off a couple of bouncers in response.

76th over: Pakistan 259-2 (Azhar 9, Babar 12) Jacks really does like to give the ball some decent hang-time, with decent revs on it, too. Azhar sees the lovely, loopy stuff and advances for a drive to bring the only run of the over.

75th over: Pakistan 258-2 (Azhar 8, Babar 12) Robinson continues and Babar picks up a couple.

74th over: Pakistan 256-2 (Babar 10, Azhar 8) Tossed up by Jacks, Babar slashes with quick hands to pick up four through the covers.

73rd over: Pakistan 251-2 (Babar 5, Azhar 8) Stokes decides to mix things up: it’s time for pace. Ollie Robinson has the ball, and he angles it in towards Babar’s pads. There’s some low bounce there to exploit for a potential lbw.

72nd over: Pakistan 249-2 (Babar 4, Azhar 8) A maiden from Jacks. Pakistan still trail by 408 by the way – even after all the good work of those two centurions.

Becky Chantry writes in: “For my final day in Cyprus I’ve upgraded to champagne with breakfast. I’m not looking forward to heading back to the UK later today but I’m encouraged by the couple of wickets taken this morning. Great start by England!”

71st over: Pakistan 249-2 (Azhar 8, Babar 4) Babar, Pakistan’s captain and best player, is out in the middle. And he gets off the mark with a lovely boundary, hanging back on the crease to punch through midwicket.

WICKET! Imam c Robinson b Leach 121 (Pakistan 245-1)

The end of Imam! Leach tosses it up, and the left-hander comes down the pitch for a big hit – but he can’t get it over Ollie Robinson at long-on.

70th over: Pakistan 245-1 (Imam 121, Azhar 8) Jacks concedes a single from his first five before Azhar Ali nails a sweep for four to wrap things up.

69th over: Pakistan 240-1 (Imam 120, Azhar 4) Michael Atherton making note of the Taunton connection currently out in the middle: Jack Leach (bowling right now), Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq have all played for Somerset.

Imam picks up a single with the final ball of the over.

68th over: Pakistan 239-1 (Imam 119, Azhar 4) Jacks twirls away for another set, conceding seven after Azhar gets off the mark with a boundary. And that’s drinks.

Rob Lewis writes in: “Hi Taha, I don’t recall seeing you on obo before. If I’m wrong, sorry. If not, welcome aboard. I have a student called Taha here in Istanbul. It’s not you, moonlighting, by any chance?”

Hiya, Rob. It’s my Test debut for the OBO! Still waiting for someone to present me with my cap, though. And while I am a student, I’m in London, not Istanbul.

67th over: Pakistan 232-1 (Imam 116, Azhar 0) Imam slams a six first ball, advancing against Leach for the big leg-side hit. Azhar Ali is in for Pakistan at No.3.

66th over: Pakistan 225-1 (Imam 109, Azhar 0) A decent over from Jacks – a wicket and some sharp turn, too. Suddenly, England have something to work with.

WICKET! Shafique c Pope b Jacks 114 (Pakistan 225-1)

Stokes decides to look elsewhere for the answer, bringing on Will Jacks. He’s too short first ball, with Shafique rocking back to cut for four. And then… wait… what’s this? A wicket! Jacks goes wide and Shafique’s cut goes wrong, with an outside edge finding Ollie Pope’s safe hands behind the stumps. Jacks has his maiden Test wicket, and England can finally celebrate.

65th over: Pakistan 221-0 (Shafique 110, Imam 109) I’m not really sure how anyone’s getting out here.

64th over: Pakistan 220-0 (Shafique 109, Imam 109) Root brings out the bouncer – and Imam pulls away for four.

Brian Withington writes in: “Morning Taha. I’m just wondering how many times in the history of Test cricket there have been six centurions this quickly in proceedings?”

Anyone out there to help us with this one? It’s got to be up there.

63rd over: Pakistan 214-0 (Imam 103, Shafique 109) Shafique starts with another boundary before seeing off five dots.

Imam-ul-Haq likes Rawalpindi. Three Test innings there, all this year: 157, 111*, and now 103* (with plenty to add)

— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) December 3, 2022

Century for Imam-ul-Haq!

62nd over: Pakistan 210-0 (Shafique 105, Imam 103) Imam goes down the pitch to try and go over extra cover – he gets a thickish edge but moves to 99. A leg-side clip then brings up the hundred, his third in Test cricket – all three of them have come in Rawalpindi.

61st over: Pakistan 204-0 (Imam 97, Shafique 105) Shafique’s forward defence is one to marvel at, and he shows it off for another over.

60th over: Pakistan 204-0 (Shafique 105, Imam 97) Imam is looking slightly nervy as he gets closer to three figures – it feels like it’s been a while since he got the middle on it. England keep tweaking the field as they try and force something out of nowhere.

59th over: Pakistan 204-0 (Imam 97, Shafique 105) Imam finally moves off 94, cutting away for a couple. There’s the second mix-up of the day between Shafique and Imam while running, but they’re safe once again.

58th over: Pakistan 201-0 (Imam 94, Shafique 105) Shafique continues his fun against Root, sweeping behind square for a boundary that moves Pakistan past 200.

57th over: Pakistan 197-0 (Shafique 101, Imam 94) Imam continues to play the waiting game against Leach. Shafique, by the way, is playing just his 20th first-class match – and he’s got eight hundreds. Decent.

Century for Abdullah Shafique!

56th over: Pakistan 196-0 (Shafique 100, Imam 94) A third Test hundred comes up for the very, very talented Abdullah Shafique. He advances down the track to smash Root for six before dabbing a single into the off-side to get to the landmark.

55th over: Pakistan 189-0 (Shafique 93, Imam 94) Leach twirls them, and Imam remains patient, seeing out four dots. He’ll wait a bit longer for that ton.

54th over: Pakistan 188-0 (Shafique 92, Imam 94) Root gets his first look at Imam today, and fires in one of those round-arm sliders, the bowling arm dropping low. Imam ends the over with a delicate dab behind point for a couple.

53rd over: Pakistan 184-0 (Imam 90, Shafique 92) A little mix-up between the two batters after a Shafique punch down the ground, but no dramas in the end as he picks up two. Jack Leach is up and running for the day.

52nd over: Pakistan 182-0 (Shafique 90, Imam 90) Root starts… with a bouncer! Good morning to Abdullah Shafique who ducks to avoid any damage. Shafique gets out the forward defence before clipping for a single to end the over. He’s into the nineties.

Right then, let’s go! Joe Root has the ball.

“It looks exactly the same.” Athers is on Sky to give us a morning update on the pitch – it ain’t breakin’ up.

Elsewhere, in Australia: good to see Ricky Ponting looking well after a health scare.

“I mentioned to JL who was commentating with me that I’d had these pains in my chest … 10 or 15 minutes later I was in the hospital getting the best treatment I possibly could.”

@RickyPonting talks about his last 24 hours pic.twitter.com/GnW8OADghg

— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 3, 2022

Preamble

Morning, folks! After England finished their innings yesterday on a gargantuan total of 657, Pakistan hit back – in their own, more measured manner. Going at 3.54rpo (this is apparently rather slow now), Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq put on 181 before stumps, with the visitors still searching for that first breakthrough. Yep, it’s really, really flat.

The good news for England? They’re still a silly amount ahead, and they’ve got ample time to force a few mistakes and inject some panic into this game.

Shafique and Imam, by the way, are currently averaging 538 as a Test opening partnership on this ground. 538.




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