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.
WICKET! Pope b Abrar 51 (England 98-4)
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.
Fifty for Olie Pope!
22nd over: England 97-3 (Brook 20, Pope 51) Pope finishes Nauman’s over with a boundary to bring up his 11th Test fifty. Played.
Kim, who is trying to have it all, messages in: “To keep track of events here and at the Gabba I’ve resorted to holding a phone in each hand, enabling me to monitor both OBO feeds simultaneously. I feel rather like The Sundance Kid with a six shooter in each hand, holding off the lawmen besieging my last place of refuge. This is fine until my wife wakes up and demands her phone back. Then a difficult choice will have to be made, as she is unlikely to take no for an answer.”
Seems like Australia are about to sort this out for you. They need just twenty-something more to wrap things up at the Gabba.
21st over: England 89-3 (Pope 44, Brook 19) Abrar tries the front-of-hand delivery and it’s too far down the leg side – Brook sweeps away for four.
20th over: England 84-3 (Pope 43, Brook 15) Another tidy one from Nauman.
Tony writes in: “There’s been lots of talk of who to leave in the english team and who to leave out, mostly revolving around who keeps wicket and who is essentially a batsman.
I would suggest that perhaps the choice would be simpler if the off spinner and part time batsman Root were dropped!
Is one allowed to say things like that?”
Tony, Tony, Tony. It’s early in the morning and I don’t think you’ve had your coffee yet.
19th over: England 83-3 (Pope 42, Brook 15) Abrar goes full and fast out of the front of the hand to leave Brook in all sorts, and Babar goes up for a review. It’s going down the leg side, though, rather comfortably. Brook bounces back with the final ball of the over, rocking back for a leg-side smash to pick up four. He was so quick to get in position for that.
The two wickets that fell earlier:
18th over: England 77-3 (Brook 10, Pope 41) Babar’s back on the field as Nauman twirls away to concede just one. Time for drinks.
Brian writes in: “My expectations of proper, sedate Test cricket were being somewhat disturbed by the jaunty rate of England’s run scoring, but after the quick dismissals of Duckett and Root perhaps we can expect young Brook and Pope to undertake a patient rebuild and restore decorum to proceedings.”
I’m not sure the kids are going to keep quiet for long…
17th over: England 76-3 (Brook 9, Pope 41) Outrageous from Brook, who launches Abrar for a straight six, his backfoot lifted up for that little bit of extra flair. An LBW shout follows as Brook comes down the pitch a couple of balls later, but he’s way too far out of his crease for that to be a problem.
16th over: England 69-3 (Brook 2, Pope 41) Pope comes down the track to bunt the ball to mid-on and steal a single.
15th over: England 65-3 (Pope 38, Brook 1) Abrar gets another one to keep very low, and Pope does very well to flick it away for a couple.
14th over: England 60-3 (Pope 33, Brook 1) No hat-trick as Brook gets off strike immediately. A wonderful over from Nauman Ali has livened up proceedings.
Nauman on a hat-trick! Brook is out there to face it.
WICKET!!! Root c Salman b Nauman 0 (England 58-3)
Another one! Beautiful from Nauman as he tosses one up to get Root poking forward, and the outside edge is gobbled up at first slip. The umpires check if it’s carried – and it has, no dramas there. A first-baller for Root. What a moment!
WICKET! Duckett lbw Nauman 26 (England 58-2)
And that’s hitting middle of middle! It was umpire’s call on impact. Nauman, from over the wicket, got some sharp turn there to trap Duckett on the back foot. That’s come slightly out of nowhere for Pakistan.
Duckett reviews after Nauman has him lbw…
13th over: England (Duckett 26, Pope 32) Big from Duckett! He comes down the track and smashes Abrar for a straight six. Lovely, lovely shot. The left-hander dabs to the off-side for a single a couple of balls later, and Pope then collects a boundary with a beautiful clip through the leg side. England are cruising.
12th over: England 47-1 (Duckett 19, Pope 28) Pope and Duckett tick along comfortably against Nauman, with the latter bringing out his paddle sweep for a single.
11th over: England 42-1 (Duckett 17, Pope 25) Abrar is tweaking away, and looking threatening, that low bounce giving him something to work with.
Here’s some love for Adam Collins, a regular on these pages. A great call on Mitchell Starc’s 300th Test wicket.
10th over: England 38-1 (Pope 22, Duckett 16) The quicks aren’t having much fun so it’s spin from both ends as Nauman Ali gets a bowl. Duckett swats away to the leg side and gets two after a misfield from Abrar, who was ambitious in trying the one-handed pick-up.
9th over: England 33-1 (Pope 20, Duckett 13) Duckett gets his beloved sweep out to fetch a couple off Abrar.
8th over: England 30-1 (Pope 19, Duckett 11) Wasim is given the boot after two expensive overs, with Faheem Ashraf called into the attack to replace him. He brings a bit more control, conceding just a couple.
7th over: England 28-1 (Duckett 10, Pope 18) Abrar gets one to keep low, giving Pope a little fright.
“Morning Taha.” Morning, Brian.
“I must confess I was almost distracted by the mayhem available in Australia, but the lure of proper, sedate Test cricket in your reassuring company was too strong. I am sure messrs Pope, Duckett and co will dig in and try to eke things out until lunch …”
Thanks, Brian, you’ve made the right call.
6th over: England 26-1 (Pope 17, Duckett 9) On the pads from Wasim, and Pope flicks through the leg-side for four. The debutant is too straight again with his following delivery, and Pope picks up two with another whip. Duckett finishes the over with a clip of his own behind square for four.
5th over: England 15-1 (Pope 10, Duckett 5) Abrar has the ball, and it’s Mohammad Rizwan who is calling the shots out there for Pakistan – Babar Azam is feeling unwell, says Nasser on comms. Maiden for the leggie.
4th over: England 15-1 (Duckett 5, Pope 10) Pope throws his hands out there at a wide one and, while not in total control, finds four over the cordon. We’re up and running on day two.
Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett are out there, and Mohammad Wasim has the ball.
Now, look, I don’t want people to leave me here. But there’s some madness going on at the Gabba.
Scott Boland – that Test average is still absolutely ridiculous.
This is just all kinds of lovely.
Morning, folks! The opening day in Karachi was a historic one, all thanks to a teenage kid with some very useful tricks. Rehan Ahmed became England’s youngest men’s Test cricketer and, after a nervy start, found his rhythm on a flat one to take two impressive wickets. The first, that of Saud Shakeel, was a lovely set-up: the googly followed by a leg-spinner that resulted in a terrific bat-pad catch by Ollie Pope. The second was a gorgeous wrong’un, beating the forward press of Faheem Ashraf to have the left-hander lbw. An 18-year-old leggie in this madly fun Test side – you can’t help but get a bit excited.
Rehan Ahmed helped England bowl out Pakistan for 304, and Zak Crawley fell for a duck to the twirly delights of Abrar Ahmed, leaving Stokes’ men on 7-1.
As ever, feel free to slide into my DMs with any thoughts/queries/song requests. I’ll be back shortly.