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Unbeaten Abdullah and Imam steal limelight after Zahid's four-fer

  • Media conferences of Zahid Mehmood and Naseem Shah available here for download; Harry Brook’s media conference available here for editorial use

Rawalpindi, 2 December 2022: Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq got themselves among runs on Friday as they took the home team to 181 for no loss in reply to England’s 657 in the first Test in Rawalpindi. England, who had started the day at 506 for four managed to score only 151 runs for the loss of six wickets on the second day.

At close on day two, Abdullah (89) and Imam (90) were approaching centuries when the umpires called stumps with 17 overs remaining. The home team still need 277 runs to avoid the follow-on.

Abdullah was lucky to survive a confident caught behind appeal by Ollie Pope off a rising delivery. Although umpire Joel Wilson gave a soft signal for out, television official Marais Erasmus overturned it after television replays confirmed that the ball touched the ground before disappearing in the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

Abdullah, who had also scored a hundred against Australia in the March Test, cracked two boundaries to reach his fifth half-century in his eighth Test, highlighting his rapid progress. 

Imam followed suit soon after, taking a single off Joe Root for his fifth half-century. The left-hander, who had scored a century in each innings on the same pitch in a Test against Australia in March, then pushed spinner Jack Leach for two to complete 1,000 runs in his 17th Test.

Earlier, resuming at 506-4, England added 151 runs in 125 minutes, with Harry Brook taking his overnight score of 101 to 153 -- one of four centurions in the innings.

Skipper Ben Stokes (41), debutant Liam Livingstone (nine), and Brook were all dismissed by pacer Naseem Shah, who finished with 3-140.

Leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood conceded 235 for his four wickets -- the most by a bowler on a Test debut. Undaunted by the dubious record, Mehmood said he was happy to have bowled his heart out.

“No doubt they played very well,” said Zahid. “I bowled my heart out and expect that this pitch would take spin on day four and five.”

Brook hoped England find ways to force a result.

It's a pretty nice wicket to bat on as you can probably tell by our score,” said Brook. “It would be tough to get 20 wickets but we will definitely give it a crack and the way the lads are playing over the last few years.

When we were batting, it started to get a bit lower so hopefully we can get some wickets. Hopefully, Ben Stokes can figure out a plan to get wickets.”

England’s total is their highest against Pakistan in all Tests, improving on their 598 for nine in Abu Dhabi in 2015.