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England v Pakistan Test Match Heading For Draw

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England lost just 3 wickets in the whole of Day 3 against Pakistan ending the day on 290-3. With 2 days left to play and England still far from finishing their first innings, it is hard to look anywhere but a draw for the outcome of this match.

Alastair Cook put in a solid batting performance as he and his side looked to wrestle back control of the match from Pakistan. He put on an unbeaten 168* before close of play but 3 of his companions fell throughout the day. With the first innings still to be completed, England still trail by over 200 runs and you would have to imagine the only way we can get a result in this match is by a quick flurry of Pakistan wickets tomorrow morning.

Cook and Englands new opener Ali came out onto the crease this morning to pick up where they left off in the evening. From 56-0 the openers put on a partnership of 116 before the stand was finally broken. Khan finding a very rare edge from Moeen’s bat which was taken low by the wicket keeper. It was a poor way for England’s new opener to go out, considering the pitch and its lack of movement but credit to the Pakistan attack who kept going at it and eventually forced a break through.

Ian Bell came out at number 3 and looked shaky. He was dropped early on when he edged a ball that somehow sailed through the slip cordon. Alastair Cook however continued playing brilliantly and it wasn’t long before he reached his 72nd England half century with a 4 through the covers. He and Bell survived through to lunch with Bell scoring just 1 run from 28 balls.

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After the break Bell looked a lot more confident and started playing some shots. At the other end of the wicket, Cook continued his phenomenal  knock reaching his Century off 180 balls with a single down to long on. He became the first Englishman to score a test century in 9 different countries and surpassed 1000 runs in the Calendar year. Cooks first real scare of the match came when he missed a delivery from Babar heading for the stumps. Given not out, Pakistan reviewed the decision only for Hawk eye to show the ball spinning to just wide of the stumps.

Bell was scoring slowly but managed to reach his half century to the delight of the England dressing room. In a run of bad for, it seems the decision to move Bell to number 3 was working somewhat with 4 Half tonnes in his last 5 tests. Cook looked to have finally perished when he top edged a long ball into the off side. The ball was at a reasonable height but it slipped right through sub fielder, Fawad Alam’s fingers and went to ground. Pakistan were to rue this missed opportunity as Bell and Cook put on 156 together before Bell (63) drove a Wahab delivery to Hafeez at backward point with 20 minutes left in the day.

Eager to preserve Roots wicket, England sent out night watchman Mark Wood to hold the strike but just 10 minutes later Wahab claimed his second wicket of the day with a brilliant delivery which Wood (4) chopped into his stumps. Root (3*) and Cook (168*)  survived the 3 overs until stumps but with England still 233 runs behind the game seems as good as over.

Check back tomorrow  for day 4…

SCORECARD (Close of Play- Day 2)

Pakistan (First Innings) 528-8 dec

Hafeez                 98 (170)                   lbw Stokes

S. M. Khan         2 (6)                          b Anderson

Malik                   245 (420)                c Bell b Stokes

Y. M. Khan         38 (57)                     c Cook b Broad

Niazi (c)              3 (17)                       c Buttler b Anderson

Shafiq                  107 (218)                lbw Wood

Ahmed                2 (7)                         c Bell b Stokes

Riaz                     2* (9)

Babar                  0 (4)                        c Anderson b Stokes

EXTRAS             26                           1nb, 4b, 21lb

FOW: 5-1, 173-2, 247-3, 251-4, 499-5, 514-6, 521-7, 523-8


England (First Innings) 290-3

Cook                   168* (329)

Ali                       35 (131)                 c Ahmed b Khan

Bell                     63 (199)                 c Hafeez b Wahab

Wood                  4 (7)                       b Wahab

Root                    3* (3)

EXTRAS           17                             9nb, 3w, 2b, 3lb

What did you think of the days play? Will there be a result? Leave any comments below or tweet me @Omar_Mauri_

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