England had a field day on the second day of the third Test against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, first declaring their innings on a massive 583/8 and then reducing Pakistan to a precarious 24/3 at stumps. After Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler smashed career-best scores to form the crux of England’s first-innings total, James Anderson rocked Pakistan, removing their top three batsmen cheaply.
Resuming their innings on overnight score of 332/4, England, as well as Pakistan’s players, were frustrated due to a couple of rain intervals early on Day 2. However, once the sky cleared, it remained sunny throughout the day. Crawley, who recorded his maiden Test century on Friday, converted it into a double ton, thus becoming the third-youngest England cricketer to score a Test double century at 22 years and 201 days.
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Buttler on the other hand, reached his 100 early in the day off 189 balls but with Crawley doing most of the scoring, the England wicketkeeper batsman looked content playing second fiddle. Buttler and Crawley also forged the highest fifth-wicket-stand for England, surpassing the 254 runs added by Keith Fletcher and Tony Grieg against India in Mumbai during the 1972/73 Test series. They stretched the stand to 359 before Pakistan’s wait for a wicket finally ended.
Asad Shafiq had Crawley stumped down leg side for 267 and as the batsman went off the field, Pakistan fielders knocked fists and elbows congratulating the batsman. Buttler, shortly after crossing 150, chipped a ball back to Fawad Alam for his maiden Test wicket. Chris Woakes and Dom Bess entertained with 40 and 27* respectively and once Shaheen Afridi knocked over Stuart Broad, Joe Root signalled the declaration.
Pakistan, who had to survive 13 overs in the day, were two down inside five. Anderson had Shan Masood out LBW – taking his wicket for the eighth time in his career and next over, accounted for the wicket of Abid Ali. Azhar Ali and Babar Azam struck a boundary each but with two overs to go to stumps, Babar was rapped on his pads by Anderson and given out LBW to take the fast bowler four strikes away from 600 Test wickets.