Southampton: Hosts England declared their first innings of a huge score in the third Test against Pakistan. England declared their first innings at 583 for eight on the second day. Zack Crowley’s maiden double century (267) and Jose Butler’s (152) doubled England’s total. Crowley’s innings included 34 fours and a six off 393 balls. Butler hit 13 fours and two sixes in 311 balls. Chris Vokes (40), captain Joe Root (29), Dominic Bess (27 *), Dominic Sibley (22), Stuart Broad (15), Rory Burns (6) and Oli Pope (3) are the others out. For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah and Fawad Alam took two wickets each.
England resumed batting at 332 for four on the second day and were 373 for four at lunch on the second day. The match was delayed for the second day due to rain. England lost Rory Burns (6), Dom Sibley (22), Joe Root (29) and Oli Pope (3). Sibli was caught by Yasir Shah in the LB while Burns was handed over to Shahin Shah Afridi Shan Masood. Naseem Shah handed the wicket to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who was coming off a 51-ball straight three-wicket haul, while leg-spinner Yasir Shah chipped in to the LB.
The Crowley-Butler fifth-wicket partnership will be crucial for England. Chris Vokes is also expected to bat for England. England will win the series if they win the third match. If Pakistan wins, they can draw the series 1-1. England won the first match three days later, but the second match ended in a draw due to rain.
The threat of rain persists in the third match as well. The first day of the third Test started late due to rain. But then the rain stopped and the first day went by. Yet the threat of rain persists in competition. If the third match is drawn due to rain, Pakistan will have to return disappointed when England get the series. Though the Pakistan team was able to bowl well throughout the tournament, the batting line-up was disappointing. With the exception of a few solo performances, the Pakistan team does not have the promising alliances.
In the absence of Ben Stokes, England’s strength is their pace bowlers. When Joffre Archer and Chris Vokes join the ranks of veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad, England will be able to break any team. Earlier, criticism had been leveled against the selection of the Pakistan team that toured England with a relatively young squad. If the series is abandoned, it will be a major setback for Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq.
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