Wood slams the ball down the middle of the field, pressing hitters with his pace. So far, there is only one border for Pakistan… and Wood gets the breakthrough! Another short ball and Babar gets a superior advantage on a pull attempt that is easily swallowed by Duckett on the square leg boundary. First blood to Wood and England.
3rd over: Pakistan 17-1 (Rizwan 3, Masood 0)
2nd over: Pakistan 13-0 (Babar 7, Rizwan 3) David Willey looks for a left-handed swing on the other side, but there doesn’t seem to be much to do. He also struggles with his radar, throwing up some wide legs. Babar and Rizwan happy to accumulate. Ooh look – Mark Wood is coming. Hang on to your stovepipe.
1st: Pakistan 7-0 (Babar 6, Rizwan 1) Woakes starts with a leg-side half volley to Rizwan who throws a single. Babar shoots a short ball for a couple but then deploys a nice full ball to score the first innings boundary. Woakes a little rusty, looking for swing but little to find at first sight.
I punched out a packet of bourbon cookies and settled in for another run-fest, short limits and the terrain looked better despite yesterday’s rain.
The players head to the field. There are a lot of flying creatures at first sight, winged things appearing under the spotlight beam. CHRIS WOAKES is going to open bowling – it’s been a while since we’ve been able to type that on the OBO. He has a slip in place. The stadium is packed and the atmosphere is crackling. Let’s play!
Borrower size limits identified in Lahore:
FOUR changes for England: Dawid Malan, Sam des Currans, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are for England.
Three changes for Pakistan, Shadab for Qadir and Jamal for Hasnain.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf
England: Phil Salt, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
Moeen Ali follows correctly and inserts Pakistan. The outfield was apparently under water yesterday, with a gardener forcing the turf by hand to help with drainage. The ground looks good now, but what do I know sitting here at 5412.766 miles. I don’t even have my car keys in hand either. BUT this may not be a plunder match like the last ones. Famous last words…
Hello and welcome to the OBO of the fifth of seven T20Is between Pakistan and England from Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore (via a couch in South London).
There is always a danger that two-sided white-ball streaks will end up being almost instantly forgettable, lost to the relentless train of world cricket, another notch on the already heavily sculpted plays. But, this series didn’t feel that way. The sense of history no doubt helped, but so did the cricket on the pitch.
Both teams are tied and locked at two wins apiece with three games remaining. We had searing beats, mind-blowing spins, blistering pace, tight finishes, and many other side-tales. The longer series allowed these to play out and add to the plot.
As Autumn begins to bite here in the UK, a season of mist, mild fertility and the reservoir pound upon us, it’s nice to hunker down and have cricket as a distraction and comfort. There is a heat, which is just as well that the heating does not work in our apartment until the end of November (“Put on a sweater… another one!“)
Last night I curled up with The Carefree – Osman Samiuddin’s excellent book on the history of Pakistani cricket. A chapter titled “The Fields of Lahore” is beautifully evocative about Minto Park (now Greater Iqbal Park), the birthplace of cricket on the northwestern outskirts of the city, about 30 minutes from Gadaffi Stadium.
“There are few more symbolic properties in Pakistan…little about the park now suggests such importance. It doesn’t look epic or symbolic. The grass is green but not lush, and the mixture of gasoline fumes and cow manure is pungent. Pitches are mostly cement. Randomly everywhere in the park, every day, a stream of informal games criss-crosses, where games were once played that people still remember today. Even then, one game’s slip was still another game’s square leg deep.
Direction the second city of Pakistan therefore for this fifth match. The game is due to start at 3.30pm BST, I’ll be back with news of the teams and the draw very soon.
As always it would be a pleasure to hear from you, you can contact us by email or tweet @Jimbo_Cricket.