2nd Test, Day 1: Abrar’s dream debut, Babar’s fifty give Pakistan edge over England

Pakistan spinner Abrar Ahmed’s dream debut and skipper Babar Azam’s fifty gave the hosts an edge over England on the first day of the second Test at the Multan Cricket Stadium, here on Friday.

The 24-year-old leg-spinner’s 7-114 helped Pakistan bowl out England for 281 in their first innings. In reply, Pakistan were 107-2 at the stumps on Day 1, with Babar Azam unbeaten on 61 and Saud Shakeel on 32, trailing by 174 runs.

Of the 12 wickets that fell on the day, James Anderson was the only fast bowler to dismiss a batter when he found an edge off Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq, who departed without scoring. Abdullah Shafique scored 14 before edging spinner Jack Leach to keeper Ollie Pope, but Babar and Saud saw off the day with a third-wicket unbroken stand of 56.

Earlier, Abrar was introduced in just the ninth over, and the spinner cleaned up Zak Crawley in his first over with a sharp googly to break the opening stand but went on to concede 11 runs off his next over as England continued to attack.

After five overs, Abrar had conceded 39 runs as Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope put up a good partnership. He himself broke the stand in the 19th over by trapping Duckett in front. He followed it up with the big wicket of Joe Root, trapped LBW with another superb leg-break.

Ben Stokes (30) and Will Jacks (31) showed some resistance after lunch with a 61-run sixth-wicket stand before Abrar bamboozled the England captain with a superb wrong’un. Ben Duckett (63) and Pope (60) were the main scorers in an England innings that finished at the stroke of tea after skipper Stokes won the toss and decided to bat.

The visitors managed to add fifty runs for the last three wickets courtesy of a free-stroking Mark Wood who finished with 36 before Zahid Mahmood got three to wrap up the innings quickly and finish with 3-63.

Brief scores: England 281 in 51.4 overs (Ben Duckett 63, Ollie Pope 60; Abrar Ahmed 7-114) lead Pakistan 107/2 in 28 overs (Babar Azam 61 not out) by 174 runs

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