MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — England is well placed to set another difficult target for Pakistan on a turning wicket in the second test despite spinner Abrar Ahmed completing a 10-wicket haul on his debut on Saturday.
Half centuries by Harry Brook (74 not out) and Ben Duckett (79) led England to 202-5 — an overall lead of 281 runs — on Day Two after Pakistan had crumbled for 202 in the first session.
The bespectacled Ahmed, 24, bagged 7-114 to limit England’s aggressive batters to 281 in the first innings before Pakistan collapsed by losing seven wickets for 37 runs.
Ahmed then took 3-81 in England's second innings — and also ran out Zak Crawley with a direct throw — to become the second Pakistani to claim a 10-wicket haul on his test debut.
Duckett followed his first innings half-century with another gritty knock before he was clean bowled by Ahmed in the last session off a delivery which kept low and skidded through.
Brook continued a rich vein of form, following his belligerent 153 and 87 in the first test with an unbeaten half century as England looked to challenge Pakistan again after successfully defending a target of 343 in the opening test.
“Once I found my length I enjoyed it,” said England leftarm spinner Jack Leach, who mastermind Pakistan collapse with 4-98 and also completed 100 wickets in test matches.
“It’s about staying as patient as possible, letting the wicket to do the work and stay patient in between when it’s not doing too much.”
Duckett had a couple of close calls against Ahmed as England played out two relatively quiet sessions with the bat.
Babar Azam dropped a regulation catch off Duckett on 69 at short midwicket before the lefthander eventually fell to Ahmed.
Ahmed earlier bowled Will Jacks for 4 with a googly in his first over, while Abdullah Shafique snapped up a brilliant low one-handed catch at short leg when Joe Root went for a sweep on 21.
Pakistan's batters stumbled against the left-arm spin of Jack Leach and impressive reverse swing bowling by all three England fast bowlers before Faheem Ashraf and Ahmed added 23 for the last wicket.
Leach struck three times on Day Two and Root picked up two wickets in an over as Pakistan’s lower order collapsed once Ollie Robinson bowled captain Babar with his second ball of the day.
Leach removed Saud Shakeel (63), Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz with his persistent line and length while Root took 2-23 as most of the batters fell to poor shots.
“We had a lot of soft dismissals and that cost us,” said Shakeel, who went for an attacking shot against Leach and was caught in the outfield.
“Whatever target we get we will have to go for the chase because there's so much time left in this test.”
The wicket at Multan Cricket Stadium, hosting its first test since 2006, has seen 19 of the 25 dismissals going to the spinners.
Resuming on 107-2, Babar and Shakeel took the score to 142 inside the first half-hour.
Left-hander Shakeel, who made a half-century on his debut in the first test at Rawalpindi, survived a run-out when he charged down the wicket but Crawley became unbalanced and threw wide.
It was Robinson who ignited the slump which saw Pakistan losing seven wickets for 37.
Babar, who had completed his half century on Day One, was on 75 when he was outsmarted by the tall fast bowler’s reverse swing and the ball tailed into him to crash into his stumps and end a 91-run stand.
England then tied down Rizwan for 27 balls before he finally got his first runs with a cover drive against Mark Wood.
Shakeel got frustrated and tried to break the shackles before he holed out to wide mid-on to give Leach his 100th test wicket.
Rizwan labored for 43 balls for his 10 runs before being bowled by Leach off a delivery which turned sharply away from him.
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