ENG v PAK, 2nd Test Day 2 Review: Pakistan wrest control

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Pakistan’s Azhar Ali celebrates reaching his century. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Although many underlined their fear of Pakistan falling apart after the close of play on Day 1, to a seasoned England bowling unit, Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali went about shortening those odds as they went on to stitch a magnificent 181-run partnership for the second wicket. Moreover, the fact that England, perhaps looked a bit dull for the first time in the series ensured that the Pakistani ‘Warriors’ Mickey Arthur wanted were well and truly visible to all present at Edgbaston on Day 2.

Day 2 began with Pakistan thrust into a crisis early on with the loss of Mohammad Hafeez. A nick to second slip and a regulation James Anderson wicket saw shivers sent down the spines of many a Pakistan fan in the crowd. However, newcomer Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali were about to show the good folks present at Edgbaston that the drubbing at Old Trafford was nothing more than a blip on their road to glory.

Playing the ‘Braderson’ attack rather tentatively, Aslam soon rose in confidence and began dispatching the ball to the fence at will. Upon watching the 20-year old starlet bat, one could almost wonder the logic in keeping out of the side in the place of Shan Masood. Although it was his partner-in-crime that eventually reached his century, the day more or less belonged to the southpaw.

Lady luck also seemed to smile on the youngster as his innings of 80 odd was fueled by appeals for leg before as well as the odd heckling from the fielders at either silly point or perhaps those even in the slip cordon. Luckily for the former U19 Pakistan star, things would certainly go well with him on the day, at least until of course he lost his wicket.

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Aslam was aided and abetted by some poor England catching and decision-making. He was dropped on two separate occasions when Joe Root let one drop in the slips and Moeen Ali’s failure to latch onto one off his own bowling. What was even more impressive was the fact that the youngster had a swagger about him and he was going to make the Brits pay for their shortcomings.

However, things at the other end of the striking zone seemed to be getting worse and worse as far as England was concerned. It seemed as though Azhar Ali had recaptured the aura and the form the last time the Brits traveled to the UAE to play a Test series against Pakistan. Moreover, the composure of the senior batsman was there for all to see as he was slowly mentoring the newcomer Sami Aslam, although it seemed as though the latter would not be requiring the same.

Aslam soon reached a well-deserved half-century before a suicidal run out caused him to make a premature return to the have of the pavilion. Having made 82 and tipped for what seemed to be a certain century, Aslam was gone. However, this did absolutely nothing to stop Azhar Ali who was in full flow as the day seemingly would end with Azhar well poised for a massive score in front of a predominantly Pakistan audience present at Edgbaston. However, shortly after reaching his ton, Azhar was soon removed to one of the most common dismissal in England. Skipper Alastair Cook completed yet another catch in the slips as Chris Woakes claimed yet another wicket in the series.

The day came to an end with Pakistan trailing England by 43 runs with a score of 257/3 at Stumps.

Brief Scores:

England, 1st innings: 297 all out (Ballance 70; Sohail 5/96)

Pakistan, 1st innings: 257/3 (Azhar 139; Anderson 1/32)

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