Pakistan's Babar Azam Out Of England Series With Broken Arm

Pakistan's Babar Azam Out Of England Series With Broken Arm

Hopes that a return home and a rejigged top-order picked by new national selector Ed Smith would help rid England of the batting slumps that plagued them during a run of seven straight Tests without a victory in Australia and New Zealand quickly proved illusory as they were dismissed for just 184.

Jos Buttler, recalled largely on the back on his IPL form, had 14 from as many balls before he flashed Hasan to second slip. First it was Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail steering the side nearly all the way through the cliched crucial first hour, then 10 overs later with both of those men back in the hutch, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam took the reins.

Their efforts followed on from the disciplined and skilled bowling of Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali, who took four wickets apiece on Thursday. The first Test is scheduled to begin at Lords, London at 10:00 AM GMT or 3:00 PM PST.

Cook had managed only one half-century in 17 innings since 243 against West Indies at Edgbaston last summer, albeit if that was an unbeaten 244 in the fourth Ashes Test.

Alastair Cook in his 153rd consecutive Test, which equalled Australia great Allan Border's all-time record for successive appearances at this level, was the only England batsman to play an innings of substance, the left-handed opener making 70.

The tourists scored 300 runs in Friday's play, going from an overnight 1-50 to 8-350 at stumps on the second day of this two-match series.

Mohammad Amir wheels off in celebration after bowling Jonny Bairstow
Mohammad Amir wheels off in celebration after bowling Jonny Bairstow

Their readiness for this match shone through with the accuracy of their bowling and quality of their catching.

Many England fans may have emulated Stokes' reaction just two balls later when Buttler, playing as a specialist batsman at No.7, was caught brilliantly in the slips.

England is now placed in the fifth position on the ICC Test Championship rankings, while Pakistan is placed at the seventh position. Pakistan had drawn the four-match test series with England by 2-2. It doesn't matter what conditions have been in the last couple of years, they have generally been 100-4 - whether Joe Root is at three or four, whether Bairstow is four, fix or six. "England now have to win every day".

Shafiq and Azam took Pakistan to 136 for three at lunch and the pair continued to gather runs comfortably in the afternoon session.

Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman average 19 as an opening partnership from 19 innings, with a highest stand of 58.

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