|Second Test, Ageas Bowl, Southampton (day two of five)|
|Pakistan 223-9: Abid 60, Rizwan 60*, Anderson 3-48, Broad 3-56|
|England: Yet to bat|
England were frustrated by gritty Pakistan batting and more bad weather on day two of the second Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Rain and bad light meant only 40.2 overs were possible as the tourists reached 223-9.
Babar Azam blunted England in seamer-friendly conditions before falling for 47 to Stuart Broad.
Pakistan were 158-6 but Mohammad Rizwan capitalised on strange England tactics with an unbeaten 60 after being dropped on 14.
He dominated a ninth-wicket stand of 39 with Mohammad Abbas which could prove crucial.
Pakistan are edging towards a good score in conditions that may suit their seam attack.
There have been only 86 overs across the first two days – on day two, rain delayed the start by 90 minutes and bad light took the players off at 16:45 BST – but there is still time for a positive result in a low-scoring game.
When England, who lead 1-0 in the three-Test series, bat they will likely face a stiff examination with more gloomy, humid weather forecast for much of the match.
England let Pakistan back in again
England began the day on top with Pakistan 126-5. They ended it having allowed Pakistan to battle back.
Babar and Rizwan were patient in the delayed morning session. They scored only 29 runs in an hour-long session.
When Babar edged a fine delivery from Stuart Broad – one that pitched on a good length and moved away – to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, England had an opening at Pakistan’s long tail.
Rizwan had been troubled by deliveries similar to the Babar dismissal early on. Instead of continuing with that tactic, England changed their approach and offered Rizwan easy singles in an attempt to bowl at the tailenders.
Rizwan – dropped on 14 by wicketkeeper Buttler diving high to his left off a top-edged pull – punished England with the bowling now scattergun, his five fours coming after he had faced 70 balls.
At the other end, Yasir Shah came out with attacking intent but edged a drive to Buttler off James Anderson, and Shaheen Afridi was run out by a Dom Sibley direct hit for a 19-ball duck.
Rizwan’s stand with Abbas lasted 10.2 overs and was a passage of play similar to two seen in the first Test at Emirates Old Trafford, when England also faltered tactically.
After bad light brought an early tea, England came out and reverted to their original plan. Broad immediately dismissed Abbas lbw with a full, straight ball.
Babar’s innings shows the difficulties to come
At the start of the day, most would have expected Babar to be the batsman to cause England problems rather than Rizwan.
Babar is sixth in the International Cricket Council Test rankings and had scored five hundreds and six fifties in his previous 12 Tests. The way a batsman of his class was becalmed showed the difficulties others will face.
The right-hander left 30% of balls in his innings, the most in any of his innings that lasted 35 balls or more.
The ball swung and seamed all day and there was notable bounce too.
The wily Abbas will expect to capitalise on the movement when he comes to bowl, while Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, both of whom are capable of higher speeds than England’s bowlers, will also pose a threat.
If the weather holds over the final three days we could be faced with a fascinating Test.
‘It will be a sleepless night for the England openers’ – what they said
Stuart Broad, speaking to Sky Sports, on England’s tactics to Rizwan: “If you bring all the field up with a batsman in on 60 you can leak 30-40 runs really quickly.
“But you lose intensity when everyone is on the boundary – you’re just hoping for a mistake. If someone gets in and starts playing awkwardly it can be tricky.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special: “Pakistan are back in the game and England are going to have to fight hard with the bat tomorrow – 223 doesn’t sound a massive amount but a 140 all out is possible on this pitch.
“It will be a sleepless night for the England openers. I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight knowing that I had to face Mohammad Abbas on this wicket. He could win Pakistan the Test.”
Former England spinner Phil Tufnell: “England could easily be 50-4 on this pitch.”
Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood: “If Pakistan can get another 15-20 runs they will be crucial.”e with the fielders up but it also gives a bit of a free hit if a guy is on 60.”