Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas took two wickets on Monday as a weather-interrupted second Test against England at Southampton ended in a predictable and frustrating draw.
England were 110/4 in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 236 when home captain Joe Root (nine not out) declared to hasten the end of a match ahead of what would have been the statutory last hour.
Root’s declaration ended a match beset by delays, with the whole of Saturday’s third day washed out completely. Less than 135 overs were bowled in total — worth a day and half in total.
Abbas, who took 2/28 from 14 overs, removed Zak Crawley (53) and Dom Sibley (32).
The batsmen shared a second-wicket stand of 91 after Rory Burns fell for a duck to left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi on Sunday.
England, who enjoyed a three-wicket win in the first Test at Old Trafford earlier this month, remain 1-0 up in a three-match series ahead of Friday’s finale, also at Southampton.
An early morning downpour meant Monday’s play did not start until 1420 GMT.
England were then 7-1, with Sibley two not out and Crawley, playing after star all-rounder Ben Stokes opted out to be with his ill father in New Zealand, five not out.
Crawley, beneath sunny blue skies, confidently pulled and drove the usually accurate Abbas for two well-struck fours.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, perhaps wary of risking his frontline quicks in a dead match ahead of the third Test, brought medium-pacer Shan Masood, primarily an opening batsman, into the attack.
Mohammad Rizwan, who had impressed behind the stumps in the first Test before top-scoring with 72, then missed a chance to stump Crawley, on 37, off leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
Crawley makes fifty
Crawley completed a 97-ball fifty when he pulled Yasir for the seventh four of his innings.
But two balls later, Crawley was out when Abbas, with the first delivery of a new spell, had him lbw on the back leg after nipping one off the seam.
Crawley reviewed but Richard Kettleborough’s decision was upheld on umpire’s call.
It was the start of a mini-collapse that saw England lose three wickets for 14 runs to be 105/4.
Sibley, not for the first time, was caught behind down the legside as Abbas struck again before Ollie Pope was lbw to Yasir.
Azhar bowled one ball to Root, who then declared.
Kettleborough and fellow umpire Michael Gough had been widely criticised for their interpretation of the rules regarding rain and bad light even on a ground where the floodlights have been in use, with former England captain Nasser Hussain telling Sky Sports that “merely because conditions are not ideal is not a reason to walk off the field”.
But there was more activity by both the officials and groundstaff on Monday in a season where regulations have been adapted to create a bio-secure bubble that guards against the threat of the coronavirus.
Stuart Broad led England’s attack with 4/56, a return that took the in-form paceman’s tally in four Tests this season to 26 wickets at a miserly average of 12.38.
“The match was set up nicely and there was help for bowlers through out. Unfortunately the weather was the winner at the end”, Azhar Ali said after match, adding that he felt more in control with his batting in this match despite his string of low scores.
About the interruptions during this match, Root said he was not sure about using pink ball as an option when light worsens.
“Potentially start half hour earlier, think you want to protect Test cricket as much as you can in terms of the ball. We’ve had a week of strange circumstances, not often you see bad light play such a part,” he said.
Mohammad Rizwan was adjudged player of the match for his half century that rescued Pakistan.
(With AFP inputs)