Debutant Abrar takes seven wickets as England fold for 281

Debutant mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed claimed seven wickets as England failed to repeat their Rawalpindi exploits and were all out for 281 in their first innings in Multan.

In their first innings, Pakistan had responded well by scoring 107 for two. Babar Azam, the captain, was at crease with 61 and Saud Shakeel on 34.

The visitors had elected to bat in the second Test of series as they again opted for an assault on Pakistani bowlers. Ben Duckett (63) and Ollie Pope (60) scored breezy half-centuries for the touring side who are 1-0 up in the three-Test series.

In the process, 24-year-old Abrar became the 13th Pakistani to take five or more wickets in an innings on his debut, as Pakistan opted for a turning surface after preparing a docile track in Rawalpindi which backfired.

He is nicknamed “Harry Potter” by friends because he wears glasses similar to those of the fictional boy wizard — spun magic of his own on a turning pitch.

Pakistan, aiming to level the series after losing the first Test by 74 runs, included three spinners in the line-up after paceman Naseem Shah was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Despite losing wickets regularly, England scored at a brisk pace, with Duckett knocking nine boundaries and a six and Pope cracking five to the rope, as they 281 in 51.4 overs at a rate of 5.43 runs per over.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam employed spin as early as in the ninth over, and Ahmed bowled Crawley with a sharp incoming delivery with his fifth Test ball.

He then trapped Duckett and Root leg-before — both given out only after Azam reviewed the on-field calls. In fact, five of his wickets were leg before wicket or bowled.

Abrar got the scalps of England’s top seven batters while the remaining three were bagged by Zahid Mahmood – the other spinner.

England, who won the opening match in Rawalpindi by 74 runs, are on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005.

In response, Pakistan too adopted a positive approach – according to their standards while batting at a rate of 3.82 runs per over.

During the process, they lost the wickets of Imam-ul-Haq (0) and Abdullah Shafique (14). However, Babar and Saud have so far managed 56 runs in their unbroken partnership.

Teams

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zahid Mahmood, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali

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