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2nd Test: Babar leads Pakistan’s response after Abrar claims seven on debut | Cricket news

MULTAN (Pakistan): Pakistan Abraham Ahmad made a stunning Test debut by claiming seven for 114 to knock England out for 281 in a frenetic opening day of the Second Test at Multan on Friday.
Pakistan answered 107-2, with skipper Babar Azam their bid for a series-leveling win with a smooth 61 failed to materialize.
Saud Shakeel was on 32 at the other end when bad light stopped play.
Pakistan are still 174 behind but will be happy with how they have recovered from the opening test defeat in Rawalpindi.
“I will not forget this day,” Abrar told Sky Sports through an interpreter. “I want to win this game for Pakistan and do well in the next games.”
“I bowled cross-seed to see what it took. Variations were key on this pitch.”
A bespectacled spinner mowing down the top half of England’s explosive batting line-up in the first session of his debut Test is hardly what visiting captain Ben Stokes would have expected after winning the toss and opting to bat .
Pakistan already had no pace spearheading Shaheen Afridi, ruled out of the series after having surgery for appendicitis.
Their fast bowling resources were further depleted after Haris Rauf (thigh) and Naseem Shah (shoulder) suffered injuries in Rawalpindi along with top class batsman Azhar Ali (finger).
Pakistan opted for a spin-heavy attack as they reshuffled the side, choosing Mohammad Ali as their only specialist sailor sharing the new ball with all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.
Their three replacements included Abrar and the leg spinner made an immediate impact after being introduced to the attack in the ninth over.
The 24-year-old tasted success with his fifth pitch which he spun through the gate to fire Zak Crawley (19).
Ben Duckett (63), one of four Englishmen to hit a hundred in Rawalpindi, raced to a 40-ball 50 before falling leg-fore in an eventful Abrar over.
It started with Duckett using revision to overturn a lbw decision against him and ended with Pakistan taking the same route to overturn a not out decision and remove the opener.
The Abrar review combination was also good for the wicket of Joe Root (eight) in an unforgettable day for the on-field umpires who had to reverse some of their decisions.
Ollie Pope used one such review to extend his innings and went on to smash a run-a-ball 60 before playing a reverse sweep too many.
Abrar got his fifth when Harry Brook offered a skier who took Mohammad Nawaz halfway.
Despite the surge in wickets, England did not abandon their aggressive batting philosophy and raced to 180-5 at lunchtime, the most scored by any team in the first session on the first day of a test match.
Returning after the break, Stokes (30) and Will Jacks (31) produced light-hearted cameos before both fell for Abrar.
Particularly impressive was the googly with which he threw Stokes, who was left open-mouthed by the dismissal.
Zahid Mahmoed turned down Ollie Robinson and Jack Leach in successive deliveries to finish 3–63 as England lost all 10 wickets by bowl.
Duckett refused to call Abrar a “mysterious” spinner, saying they would be better prepared to meet him in the second innings.
“There was no real mystery, but he bowled beautifully today,” said the opener. “I’m sure we’ll have our plans in the second innings, but I’m pretty sure it won’t block it.”
Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq early in their reply and the other opener, Abdullah Shafique, shortly after crossing the 50 mark, but Babar seemed in his element with nine fours and a six.

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