Well, that was interesting. Rehan Ahmed charged Nauman and heaved the ball towards midwicket, where Saud Shakeel took a good two-handed catch above his head. A soft dismissal, but it’s all part of the education. And if you want to take the positives, well, at least he was positive.
65th over: England 265-6 (Foakes 49, Rehan 1) The new batter is Rehan Ahmed, who on paper is a very useful No8. This is only his fourth first-class match, and he’s already made a hundred. He gets off the mark by whipping his first ball extravagantly off middle stump for a single.
“Brook has been fantastic, but in a funny way, his progress has created a good headache for England,” says Tom Van der Gucht. “When Bairstow returns, we’ll have a glut of middle order attractive strokemakers. It’s like an extra quality piece of jigsaw to try and make fit, possibly at the expense of Foakes.
“The development of Duckett as potentially the quick scoring but reliable opener the management have been hoping Crawley would become actually fits an empty piece of the puzzle we’ve been searching for.”
I like Duckett but, at the risk of sounding like the grinch that stole Bazball, I would definitely reserve judgement until he has played on some livelier pitches against quality new-ball bowlers.
Something strange happened after the Brook dismissal. He got halfway off the field, then turned and tried to review. It was too late, but it didn’t matter anyway – it wasn’t bouncing over the stumps, not on this pitch.
A change of pace and a change of fortune for Pakistan. Mohammad Wasim strikes with his second ball, trapping Harry Brook LBW with a fine delivery that nips back to hit the back leg. Brook didn’t even discuss a review with Ben Duckett. It’s Wasim’s first Test wicket, and Brook walks off after another quite outstanding innings: 111 from 150 balls, 8×4, 3×6.
64th over: England 261-5 (Brook 111, Foakes 46) Nauman has decided to try to bore Brook out by bowling into the filth outside leg stump. “Accept the challenge – it’s good for you,” said Sir Alex Ferguson once, and I’m sure Brook would agree. He’s not just going to sit there and kick it away. After having a look at a couple of deliveries, he runs down the track to drive for a single.
“Stokes’s dismissal merely confirms my view that he doesn’t have it at this level,” says Paul Griffin. “Also, Messi is crap.”
Wait till you see my statistical evisceration of Don Bradman. The useless plank only averaged 33.87 when Australia lost fielding first!
63rd over: England 258-5 (Brook 110, Foakes 45) One run from Abrar’s over. England are playing in Pakistan, and the team in the field look like they are waiting for a wicket rather than really trying to take one. Talk about a role reversal.
“Very pleased to hear from Guy Hornsby that it’s no longer grim in Sale, although as I write it’s just started gently snowing in Dorridge as young Brook brings up yet another century,” writes Brian Withington. “On the subject of stars, can we expect you to dash from the Karachi OBO to Qatar MBM this afternoon, after your stalwart turn in the 3rd/4th place play-off yesterday?”
Thankfully not. Scott Murray, the greatest liveblogger who ever lived – I suspect he’d detest that description, which is why I plan to use it every time I mention him from now on – is doing the World Cup final. I’m ready to sleep for a week.
62nd over: England 256-5 (Brook 108, Foakes 44) The lads are back out on the field. Foakes edges Nauman’s second ball past slip for a couple. Every little helps, and England – who were 159 behind when these two came together – now trail by just 48.
“It’s easy to forget,” says Henri Du Perier, “that Brook could probably have got another century in the second innings of the first Test but he was busy going for quick runs to set up a declaration.”
Very good point. I’m struggling to recall a comparable performance, especially when you consider that his strike rate in the series is 94.51. Only Ben Stokes, Virender Sehwag and Adam Gilchrist have scored 400+runs in a Test series at a higher strike-rate.
There was a nice moment when Brook walked up the stairs and into the England dressing-room. Stokes was waiting to embrace him, and they immediately started laughing about the mix-up that led to Stokes’s runout. I want to work for Ben Stokes.
Only two England batters have ever scored more runs in a three-Test series than Harry Brook. Graham Gooch monstered a world-record 752 against India in 1990, and Len Hutton hit 480 against West Indies in 1939. (We should also mention Wally Hammond, who smashed 563 in a two-Test series against New Zealand in 1932-33.) Even so, Brook’s in the best possible company.
“Greetings from a (relatively) balmy Nice,” says Robert Wilson. “ Given that English cricket doesn’t lack for batters who pull off a bit of early-career derring-do in India and Pakistan before reality kicks and ruins all our boyish dreams, how good do you think Brook actually is? I mean good grief, this is getting ridiculous. I’m actually a little scared. I want to believe, I so much want to give my heart away again.
“Am I going to end up watching the raindrops drip down my windows, tearfully thinking of entropy? Tell me, you know I rely on you for everything.”
He’ll be a white-ball superstar. Lock up your red-ball heart until he’s cracked Australia.
61st over: England 254-5 (Brook 108, Foakes 42) At last, a bowling change. Agha Salman, who is somewhere between a full-time and part-time offspinner, comes into the attack on the stroke of tea. Nothing much happens.
That’s the end of an extremely good session for England – 114 runs, one wicket – and particularly the phenomenal Harry Brook, who compartmentalised his part in the run-out of Ben Stokes to make another majestic century.
Babar Azam allowed the game to drift, bowling Abrar and Nauman to no great effect and with no great purpose. A wicket would change everything, we know that from watching Pakistan over the last forever, but for now England are in control.
60th over: England 249-5 (Brook 105, Foakes 40) Brook tries to reverse sweep a low full toss from Nauman and under-edges the ball between his legs for three. An eagle-eyed Mike Atherton spots that the ball would have hit the off stump but for a slight deflection off Brook’s back calf.
59th over: England 245-5 (Brook 102, Foakes 39) Brook reaches another marvellous century with a gorgeous stroke. He skids back in his crease to drive Abrar through extra cover off the back foot and away for four. His celebration is pretty low-key – another day, another Test century – but he gets a standing ovation from the England balcony.
This is quite spectacular. Before this tour Brook had played one Test, and now he has jauntily scored a century in every match of the series. This one came from 133 balls, with eight fours and three sixes.
58th over: England 239-5 (Brook 97, Foakes 38) Rizwan appeals for a leg-side catch offered by Foakes off Nauman. Joel Wilson raises his arms, but only to signal a wide. There was nothing on UltraEdge.
“Harry Brook eh??” says Phil Harrison. “I’ve decided he’s the culmination of the last two decades of English red-ball and white-ball batting. He’s Root x Pietersen x Buttler. Some player.”
No pressure. I’d like to see him against world-class fast bowling before we officially anoint him. But he does seem to have it, whatever it is, in industrial quantities.
57th over: England 235-5 (Brook 96, Foakes 36) Brook thumps Abrar through extra cover for two, which makes him England’s highest runscorer in a series in Pakistan. His performance has been both remarkable and not particularly surprising.
56th over: England 229-5 (Brook 91, Foakes 35) Brook charges Nauman and slices a chip shot over mid-off for a couple. It wasn’t where he intended but it cleared the fielder pretty comfortably, and the two runs take him into the nerveless nineties. He. Is. Very. Good.
Foakes has an escape later in the over, bat-padding Nauman through the vacant silly point area.
55th over: England 226-5 (Brook 88, Foakes 35) Foakes almost offers a return catch to Abrar, with a hard-handed leading edge dropping just short. A maiden.
54th over: England 226-5 (Brook 88, Foakes 35) Nauman moves over the wicket to Brook, who launches into a reverse slog-sweep first ball. He doesn’t connect properly and under-edges it wide of Rizwan for a single, the first of four from the over.
53rd over: England 222-5 (Brook 86, Foakes 33) The Stokes run-out doesn’t seem to have affected Brook one iota. This generation are just different, aren’t they, less worried about perception or appearance and more concerned with hitting the next ball for four.
Abrar beats Foakes with a good one that turns pretty sharply. The pitch hasn’t deteriorated yet, but the odd ball is misbehaving.
52nd over: England 219-5 (Brook 83, Foakes 33) Another terrific bit of placement from Foakes, who skips down the track to flick Nauman between midwicket and mid-on for four. Foakes has quietly – of course he’s done it quietly – batted well under Ben Stokes: 273 runs at an average of 46.
“Morning Rob, from a finally unfrozen Sale,” says Guy Hornsby. “This is gripping, brilliant Test cricket. I’m not going to praise the batters because… Well you know how that goes. But this team is showing it’s not always just fifth gear. This partnership is so crucial, because we could be 25 more or 100 more when the next wicket falls. So finely in the balance. Anyway, we all know the greatest Christmas song is Jona Lewie.”
No no no nono nononononono.
51st over: England 214-5 (Brook 82, Foakes 29) Brook swipes Abrar straight back over his head for a majestic six. He crunches an off-drive later in the over – “almost a hockey shot,” says David Gower – and Faheem Ashraf does well to save two runs at long-off.
50th over: England 205-5 (Brook 73, Foakes 29) Brook cuts Nauman to the cover sweeper for a single. He’s 28 runs away from a pretty remarkable achievement: a century in each Test of his first overseas series. Saying that, Pakistan has become his second home.
Nauman produces a beauty to Foakes later in the over, but the outside edge falls well short of slip. This pitch is made of soil and mogadon.
49th over: England 202-5 (Brook 71, Foakes 28) Foakes chips Abrar handsomely over midwicket for four to bring up the fifty partnership. After a slow start, he is playing fluently: 1 from the first 18 balls, 27 from the next 32. Even Bazball has gears, occasionally.
48th over: England 194-5 (Brook 70, Foakes 21)
47th over: England 192-5 (Brook 68, Foakes 21) Foakes moves into the twenties with a stylish boundary, a wristy clip through midwicket off Abrar. This is a useful partnership – 47 from 14.1 overs at the admittedly miserable scoring rate of 3.3 per over.
46th over: England 188-5 (Brook 68, Foakes 17) Thanks Taha, morning everyone. Nauman continues to Brook, who charges the first ball but can’t beat Babar at cover. He and Foakes take a single apiece later in the over.
45th over: England 186-5 (Brook 67, Foakes 16) That’s drinks and enough from me. Rob Smyth will take you through to stumps.
44th over: England 186-5 (Foakes 16, Brook 67) Nauman twirls away and Brook shows off his impressive forward defence.
43rd over: England 183-5 (Foakes 14, Brook 66) Brook swats away Abrar again off the back foot for four – he’s so good at that particular shot.
42nd over: England 177-5 (Brook 61, Foakes 13) Brooks and Foakes tap it about as Nauman returns to the attack.
Simon McMahon messages in: “If it’s song requests your after, how about the greatest Christmas song ever, Keeping the Dream Alive by Freiheit? Only a week to go now, and the lyric seems strangely appropriate for Test cricket today – ‘the hopes we had were much to high, way out of reach but we have to try, no need to hide, no need to run, ‘cause all the answers come one by one, the game will never be over, because we’re keeping the dream alive’.”
Can’t say I’m familiar with this tune, but it’s blasting out of my speakers as I type.
41st over: England 171-5 (Foakes 9, Brook 59) Wasim continues to run in, searching for that tailing yorker to rattle the stumps or bring about an lbw. Brook soaks in one in-ducker and plays the most sublime straight drive for four. A full toss follows and Brook drives through the covers for another boundary.
40th over: England 163-5 (Brook 51, Foakes 9)
It’s nowhere near the bat and the ball is projected to miss the stumps on lbw, too. Carry on.
Foakes nabs another boundary, this time off Abrar. But then the finger goes up! It’s for a catch at short leg, and Foakes has gone upstairs for a review…
39th over: England 158-5 (Brook 50, Foakes 5) Foakes finally gets a wide one from Wasim, and he obliges with a dab to the third-man boundary for four.
38th over: England 154-5 (Foakes 1, Brook 50) Brook is quick on the pull once again to take four off Abrar. And then a moment of worry for the batter, with a top-edge sweep sending the ball high… but the man at deep backward square leg can’t get to it in time. And that’s a half-century, too, in what has been a sublime series for England’s newest batting star.
37th over: England 148-5 (Brook 44, Foakes 1) Wasim has tightened things up at his end, too.
36th over: England 147-5 (Brook 43, Foakes 1) Having missed out on selection for the second Test, Foakes is having to learn about Abrar’s various tricks in this one. He’s understandably watchful, dotting out while Brook picks up a single.
35th over: England 146-5 (Brook 42, Foakes 1) Wasim is starting to find his line, getting the ball to tail in late and test the defence of Foakes.
34th over: England 146-5 (Foakes 1, Brook 42) Oh, this game is getting quite exciting now.
33rd over: England 145-5 (Foakes 0, Brook 42) Foakes is out in the middle for his first innings of the series. And he’s got some work to do.
Oh my days. Brook clips away Wasim for what looks to be a comfortable couple of runs. Except Stokes wants three and just keeps on going, despite Brook turning back. The throw comes in from Azhar Ali and Wasim obliges at the non-striker’s end with the easiest of run-outs. A bizarre mix-up and Pakistan are right in this.
32nd over: England 140-4 (Stokes 25, Brook 38) A tidy maiden to start the session.
Ben Stokes and Harry Brook are back out there. Looks like Abrar will kick things off.
Australia have won by six wickets at the Gabba inside two days. What a scorecard this is.
31st over: England 140-4 (Brook 38, Stokes 25) Wasim is full and straight to Brook, resulting in an lbw shout – but it’s probably going down leg. Decent pace from Wasim, getting it above 140kph, but he’s struggled with his lines so far. Brook, with the third ball of the over, plays a stunning shot, opening up the off side with a small shuffle to leg, with his punch for four coming off the straightest of bats. And that’s lunch!
30th over: England 135-4 (Brook 33, Stokes 25) Stokes wallops a sweep for four off the third ball of the over. Nauman then goes too short and Stokes rocks back to punch through the off-side for another boundary. He’s looking good.
29th over: England 127-4 (Stokes 17, Brook 33) Wasim returns and Stokes shows his hand early, shimmying down the pitch – but he doesn’t get any bat on it. The England captain gets it right with the penultimate ball of the over, though, advancing to smash it for four through extra.
Abrar’s magical delivery to remove Pope:
28th over: England 122-4 (Stokes 12, Brook 33) They’re talking football and fish on comms right now, so things have calmed down a touch.
27th over: England 120-4 (Brook 32, Stokes 11) Stokes sweeps and the ball bounces up to strike Abdullah Shafique at short leg on the helmet. A brief pause in play then to make sure he’s all good – and it looks that way.
26th over: England 118-4 (Stokes 10, Brook 31) Stokes sees some air and sweeps Nauman hard for his first boundary.
25th over: England 110-4 (Brook 29, Stokes 4) Abrar shouts the house down with an lbw appeal against Stokes, but the ball looks as if it’s pitched outside leg. A quick, flat, straight one follows to Brook, who just about keeps it out.
24th over: England 108-4 (Stokes 3, Brook 28) Stokes and Brook exchange singles as Nauman continues.
23rd over: England 105-4 (Stokes 1, Brook 27) Stokes comes down the track to get off the mark with a single before Brook finishes the over with a straight six. As you do.
Oh, you are not playing that. Abrar unfurls a beaut, luring in the forward press before getting the ball to turn and rattle the stumps. A magical piece of bowling.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2022/dec/18/pakistan-v-england-third-test-day-two-live Pakistan v England: third Test, day two – live | Pakistan v England 2022