153rd over: Pakistan 572-8 (Mahmood 17, Rauf 8) Robinson continues after drinks, three more runs reduce the lead down to 81.
Brian Withington is on the wire, morning Brian!
It seems like only months ago that I somewhat churlishly wrote in threatening to change my name to Brian B**B*** Withington if England successfully chased down 378 against India. I like to think I can claim some small karmic credit for what followed, although tbf I suspect Messrs Root and Bairstow deserve a little more?
What can I now offer for an England win in this one? Or anybody winning for that matter?”
Ha! I’m not sure what odds or options Deed Poll (is it deed poll?) will give you for a result for either side but I just have this feeling… (granted it could be lack of sleep)
152nd over: Pakistan 572-8 (Mahmood 15, Rauf 7) Will Jacks is on the prowl for his fifth wicket. No dice in this over and Mahmood also swats him away through the leg side for four. Time for a drink. To coffee or not to coffee?
151st over: Pakistan 565-8 (Mahmood 11, Rauf 4) Ollie Robinson replaces Jacks, a no-ball and a single see two runs from the over.
Micheal Peel emails in: “Sorry, I know you need to show some optimism but this game has been a guaranteed draw since the middle of the fourth session. We are now in the tenth of 15 sessions and there are still two innings after this one to get a result. Neither team will risk losing. We’ve seen some great batting and bowling on a pitch as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. There’s still a lot to enjoy, but excitement about the outcome isn’t one of them.”
I’m not so sure Michael… If England score at the same rate as they did in the first innings on top of a first innings lead of 80 odd then they could feasibly get up to dangling Pakistan a 350 run shaped carrot on the final day. Everything we’ve seen from Stokes and McCullum so far suggests they’ll go for a result in this game, which then of course gives Pakistan a sniff too. Maybe it is deluded optimism for an exciting finish, but things can turn very quickly in this type of game and we’ve still got the best part of two days for something pulse-quickening to occur.
150th over: Pakistan 563-8 (Mahmood 11, Rauf 3) Just a single off Jacks and the lead is whittled down a bit more, England 94 in front.
149th over: Pakistan 562-8 (Mahmood 11, Rauf 2) *Mark Nicholas voice* SIXAH! Mahmood slog sweeps Leach for a maximum! A lusty blow over mid-wicket. Rauf looks very ginger at the crease in his pads, word is that he has a quad strain and won’t bowl in the next innings. That’s a bit of a sickener for Rauf and Pakistan, not to mention his fellow bowlers.
Wicket! Salman ct Crawley b Jacks 53 (Pakistan 554-8)
Salman has to go now though! He hangs on the back foot and tries to work Jacks to leg but gets an outside edge that is very well snaffled by Zak Crawley at slip, lighting reflexes from the big man. England need two more and Will Jacks has four wickets on debut.
148th over: Pakistan 555-8 (Mahmood 5, Rauf 1)
147th over: Pakistan 554-7 (Salman 53, Mahmood 5) Fifty to Salman! He gets there with a lovely lofted drive for four off Leach. He’s been extremely fluent in this knock and is notching up vital runs for his side.
146th over: Pakistan 545-7 (Salman 48, Mahmood 5) A harum scarum single very nearly sees the end of Mahmood but the throw from keeper Ollie Pope scooping round to gather at backward point misses by a gnat’s eyelash.
145th over: Pakistan 542-7 (Salman 45, Mahmood 5) Another maiden from Leach who is keeping things tight for his skipper. The deficit is now 115 runs, what do we think is the likeliest path to victory here for either side? Drop me a line with your thoughts or theories if you are tuning in, it’s an inky pre-dawn here in London and to be brutally honest I could do with the company.
You can tap me up via email or on Twitter. Wackier predictions the better of course.
144th over: Pakistan 542-7 (Salman 45, Mahmood 5) Stokes and Jacks have another middle of the over chinwag, Salman plays a pre-emptive reverse which is nearly brilliantly snaffled by Joe Root anticipating in the sips, he gets a finger tip too it. Joel Wilson then has a bit of a nightmare – giving Salman out lbw to a Will Jacks delivery that looks to clearly have pitched outside leg. Yep, NOT OUT on the review and Umpire Wilson shakes his head ruefully, I think he knew that was a bit of a brain fade as soon as he’d raised the finger.
143rd over: Pakistan 534-7 (Salman 37, Mahmood 5) Leach sends down a probing over, a maiden. Pakistan have scored 35 runs in seven overs this morning. It’s fair to say the pitch still looks exceedingly flat.
142nd over: Pakistan 534-7 (Salman 37, Mahmood 5) Salman crunches Jacks down the ground for four and follows it up with a reverse sweep that traces away to the fence as well. There’s a loooong conflab between Stokes and Jacks which is so lengthy that it starts to get David Gower’s
stoat goat on the tv commentary. Jacks sends down a wide half-tracker to finish which I don’t think was part of the cunning plan. He gets away with it as Salman slaps it straight to point.
141st over: Pakistan 526-7 (Salman 29, Mahmood 5) Just a single dabbed through gully from Salman off Leach. Pakistan trail by 131 and have three wickets in the hutch. I’m telling you, it’s going to get very interesting. I’m not entirely sure how yet, but mark these very vague words. Will Jacks is coming on to replace Jimmy Anderson at t’other end.
Now, the first thing to mention is that I’ve been caught out be an earlier start time and a few overs have been sent down. No wickets for England but a flurry of boundaries from the blade of Pakistan’s Agha Salman who has moved on to 28. Zahid Mahmood is with him at the crease and Jack Leach is twirling away under blue skies.
Hello and welcome to the day four OBO of Pakistan v England from Rawalpindi. It’s been three long days of toil for the bowlers but I have a sneaky suspicion this game has a sting in the tale… or maybe that is just wishful thinking.
It has been relentless stuff for the bowlers and fielders on both sides, which is tough on them but does gives me a prime opportunity to plug a piece I did recently about fielding.
Here’s what Paul Collingwood had to say about those long days in the dirt:
The deep satisfaction you get when you win Test matches means so much more when you’ve been through those never-ending days, the sessions that burn with proper fatigue, your whole body aching, legs like lead. I guess that’s what you play the game for. Those hard days give the other days more meaning. You’ve got to get through ’em, get the dark humour out.”
Jim here with the call for the first half of the day, up with the lark and hopefully some other OBOers? Do drop me a line if you are out there. Let’s do this.