Day 3 at Headingley and I decided to dress for sunshine, whether it came or not! I drove half the way and walked the other half, there’s plenty of street parking if you’re prepared to walk around a mile. I object to paying to park when I’ve paid for my ticket and accommodation.
England were in a strong position and had Pakistan on the rails after despatching them for 174 in their first innings, they started the day on 302 for 7 looking to stretch their lead. I shared my misgivings about the inclusion of Jos Buttler in the test team after Day 1 at Lords, but his innings at Headingley had me eating my words.
He played a superb innings, measured at times, but also explosive when he saw the possibility, as they said on TMS, he was in effect re-learning how to play red ball cricket in the middle of a test match. He most certainly got it right in this match. He scored 80 runs in 174 minutes, facing 101 balls, he hit 11 Fours and 2 Sixes, hitting one of those into the rugby league ground next door!! He frustrated Amir, Pakistan’s opening bowler, who shouted out in agony in his first over, worrying signs for Pakistan with a busy year ahead.
Sam Curran carried on his innings on his 20th birthday, I have the advantage of having seen Sam play a few times, he’s a very talented young cricketer, he finished with 20 runs on his 20th birthday, with 16 of those coming from Fours. He was out rather controversially, yet correctly, when a soft call of not out, over a catch by Shafiq from the bowling of Abbas was overturned by the 3rd umpire. England were 319 for 8.
Enter Stuart Broad, the crowd were willing he and Jimmy Anderson to stay in long enough for Buttler to get a deserved century, neither Broad or Anderson could hang around however. Broad was there to see Buttler to his 50, the first 50 in the England innings.
Broad was caught by Abbas from the bowling of Faheem for 2. Bringing in the always popular Jimmy, he hit a cracking 4, before following Broad back caught Sohail from the bowling of Hassan for 5. England were all out for 363, a lead of 189.
Pakistan came in to bat with a mammoth task ahead of them, Azhar and Imam opened the batting and started off at some pace, scoring 20 from the first 4.2 overs. The 2 opening batsmen were frustrating England’s opening bowlers, Anderson and Broad, and the England fielders were put to work.
Then along came one of those balls from Jimmy, straight and true! Azhar’s middle stump was sent flying! The most complete way to be out, if that makes any sense!
Pakistan were 20 for 1 and Haris Sohail was next in, he lasted for 12 balls, making 8 runs before Dom Bess took a great catch from the bowling of Anderson. I managed to get a photo of Bess advancing but I have a real blockage on getting photos of actual catches, I’m too busy watching them!
That was 30 for 2 and the test was becoming a memorable one for young Dom Bess. It was important for Imam that he gave a good account for himself, he’s been the subject of disquiet due to his Uncle Inzamam, I like what I’ve seen of Imam and enjoyed his innings on what was a very difficult day for Pakistan.
Asad Shafiq, a key batsman for Pakistan came to the wicket at 4, but his stay was to be a short one, he was caught by Jonny Bairstow from the bowling of Stuart Broad, England had to go to a review as the umpires were unconvinced, the review showed a feather of a touch and Shafiq was gone for 5.
That was something of a disaster for Pakistan, they were 42 for 3. The captain Sarfraz came in next, it was important that he stay in with Imam. The pair doubled the score to 84 before Dom Bess, bowling for the first time in the match caught Imam LBW for 34. Bess was rightly overjoyed as were his team mates. And Pakistan were 84 for 4.
Sarfraz had been batting sensibly having had a poor time of it at Lords and in the first innings at Headingley. Chris Woakes took a hard fought wicket when he trapped him LBW for 8, the captain wasn’t to make an important contribution again!
Shadab had been a hero in the first innings and the only player other than Buttler to get a half century. But this wasn’t to be his day, his wicket helped make Sam Curran’s birthday as he was caught by Alastair Cook, back to his best in the slips! Naturally I missed the photo of the catch, I really need to work on that!
I’d been enjoying a really interesting conversation with my neighbour, Paul Thorpe, a very knowledgeable cricket man, I told him how disappointed I was to see Shadab getting out so promptly, he’s great to watch with bat in hand! This was a game of mixed emotions for me, I wanted England to win, but I didn’t want to see Pakistan do badly. At 102 for 6 things weren’t going to last too long. It was a hard day to be a Pakistan fan, but they still managed to raise the roof!
Faheem became Bess’s second wicket when he was caught by Dawid Malanfor 3. Debutant Usman Salahuddin had been toiling away and seen partners come and go, he reached 33 from 102 balls before he was caught by Joe Root from the bowling of Bess! 49 runs, 3 wickets and a superb catch made the 20 year old my Man of The Match. The Sky TV choice was however Jos Buttler.
England cleared the tail up in quick order, with Hassan hitting a mighty Six from the bowling of Bess before he was out for 9, caught Cook, Bowled Broad. Abbas faced some nasty bouncer from Stuart Broad but was inevitably caught out, by Root from the bowling of Stuart Broad. Amir was the man not out, with 7 runs to his name. England had won the match by an innings and 55 runs in an almost mirror version of the Pakistan win at Lords.
England had rightly received a good deal of criticism after their performance at Lords, it was good to see them performing as we know they can. I just hope they continue to improve over the summer, no more test cricket now until August. Yet again it’s crazy that there’s no deciding test for Pakistan, 2 really aren’t enough!