England batsmen share load and keep Pakistan under pressure in 2nd Test
LEEDS (Reuters) – Every England batsmen contributed but not one reached a half-century as Joe Root’s side ratcheted up the pressure on Pakistan in the second Test to lead by 128 at the end of a rain-affected second day at Headingley on Saturday.
By the late close, England had reached 302 for seven with Jos Buttler (34) and Sam Curran (16) still at the crease.
After the morning session was lost to the weather, England mixed watchful defence with occasional attack to increase their stranglehold on the game and further their chances of levelling the two-Test series.
Their batsmen were heavily criticised for lack of application during their nine-wicket first-Test defeat but looked much more impressive in Leeds, building a strong platform from which their bowlers can attack on Sunday.
The only thing lacking from England’s point of view was an individual score of note as Root (45), Dominic Bess (49), Dawid Malan (28), Jonny Bairstow (21) and then Buttler all kept the scoreboard ticking over without anyone threatening three figures.
Resuming on 106 for two when the rain relented, England showed their aggressive intentions by taking 21 in the first three overs, a flow of runs helped by some sloppy fielding from the visitors.
Root was first to go, edging a ball aimed across him by Mohammad Amir after adding 16 to his overnight score.
Malan also played himself in before departing to Amir’s first ball after tea while, at the other end, 20-year-old nightwatchman Bess fell one run short of his second successive Test half-century when he edged to slip.
With plenty of cloud overhead and the floodlights on, conditions were never easy and even the dashing Bairstow and Buttler failed to dominate.
The Yorkshire keeper looked at ease in his home surroundings and struck successive boundaries in the 80th over before thin-edging his next ball to the keeper.
That left Buttler, back in the side after being recalled for the previous Test, to again prove there is more to his game than one-day belligerence.
Just as at Lord’s in the first Test, where he led the resistance with a fine 67, Buttler looked perfectly at ease in the longer form of the game, taking full advantage of the occasional good fortune that came his way.
Pakistan will rue dropping him when still in single figures — Hasan Ali spilled a sharp chance at midwicket — and, try as they might, the tourists failed to coax him into another indiscretion.
When Chris Woakes (17) was out, Buttler was joined by Curran, who had a memorable final day as a teenager by becoming the ninth successive batsman to reach double figures.