17th over: England 97-1 (Duckett 48, Pope 27) Abrar chews his (extremely long) right thumb pensively, as Duckett reverse-sweeps him twice for four in the over. As Vic Marks says, he’s not bowled badly, it’s just England are out to un-nerve him.
They take DRINKS! England continue to accumulate at an extremely fast rate, against two wrist spinners.
16th over: England 86-1 (Duckett 39, Pope 25) Tip and run for England, who are sweeping for fun.
15th over: England 79-1 (Duckett 38, Pope 19) Abrar shimmies through another over, which England tuck into, picking up ten, though not without peril. A flamboyant twinkle-toed four by Pope, who is very busy this morning.
14th over: England 69-1 (Duckett 34, Pope 13) Imam ul Haq gets cracked on the shin by a sweep from Duckett and magic spray is applied liberally. A super first over from Zahid Mahmood, who immediately finds fizz. Pope gropes at a couple and is then given out to an lbw that looks very out, but on review it turns out it hit his glove. Pope reverse-sweeps immediately next ball, the cocky young pup.
13th over: England 66-1 (Duckett 33, Pope 11) A good riposte by Abrar, containing England to just the one run.
12th over: England 65-1 (Duckett 32, Pope 11) Mohammad Ali it is, under grubby skies, almost lit up by a wintry sun. Duckett, who has a touch of the Mike Gattings about him, though in a 21st century way, pulls with authority for four. Pope picks up a handy fistful of singles.
“Good morning Tanya (and John Starbuck!).” Hello Brian Withington.
“Looks like the fog is slowly burning off in Multan, whilst here in Dorridge, ‘it’s bloody freezin’ innit?’, as Cery Matthews might put it. Can I confess to being quietly relieved that England’s openers have refrained from too many pyrotechnics so far, as some of us more mature OBOers are still recovering from the utter glorious madness of the first test.”
11th over: England 55-1 (Duckett 27, Pope 6) Ok, England are obviously try to slap Abrar out of the attack. Oh cruel Duckett, sweeping two looping deliveries for two consecutive fours.
10th over: England 44-1 (Duckett 18, Pope 4) Just a couple off Mohammad Ali, who continues to plug away.
Ben Barclay asks, “ In the picture, the stands are empty. Can you please elaborate?” Hi Ben, there only seems to be handful, though they are lively enough – some Jersualem-singing Barmy Army and some Pakistan musicians. The commentators were saying they expect more to come in as the day passes. Play started at 10am Multan time.
9th over: England 42-1 (Duckett 16, Pope 4) Aha! The debutant rolls up, a touch of sun cream and a pair of glasses. He tosses up his first ball, Crawley picks up two. He continues to toss it up and what a way to start Test cricket! Crawley done by one that he flicks away. Pope, in a power Bazz move, reverse-sweeps him for four first ball.
A wicket with his fifth ball in Test cricket! Crawley done like a kipper playing around a highfalutin googly. Bat under arm, he marches off as Abrar is mobbed.
8th over: England 36-0 (Crawley 16, Duckett 16) Two sweet boundaries for England, another imperious drive from Crawley and a mid-on flurry from Duckett.
7th over: England 27-0 (Crawley 12, Duckett 12) Duckett slams Faheem through backward point for four and another three off his waist. England picking up the pace here.
6th over: England 18-0 (Crawley 5, Duckett 7) A maiden for Mohammad Ali, who is having a much better start to this Test than the last.
“Any news about the pitch?” asks Andrew Miles. “Dusty road again or any signs of something different?
“I’m only up because I thought I heard an intruder, but I’m pretty certain that there’s no one there. I’d get up and check but it’s cold.”
I have no evidence for this but I feel burglars are less common when it is below freezing. It would put me off anyway. Perhaps turn up the volume on TMS, I’m sure that will scare him off. Anyway, the pitch looks slightly less road-like and ore likely to crack up and take spin.
5th over: England 18-0 (Crawley 11, Duckett 5) Ooof, a touch of spin from Faheem as he sends down a cutter. Another snazzy on drive for four from Crawley.
4th over: England 14-0 (Crawley 11, Duckett 5) The drums beat out a rhythm in the stands. A good scattering for now, but they’re expecting more in later. Lots of excitement about 24 year old bespectacled mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed. Just three off Ali’s over.
3rd over: England 11-0 (Crawley 4, Duckett 5) This is the first time Faheem Ashraf has taken the new ball in 15 Tests. Crawley off the mark with a long-legged square drive in a top hat and tails.
“Good morning, Tanya,” hello John Starbuck!
“For once, I’m up before the larks (in both senses). I suppose one might say ‘before the bats have gone to bed’ except in this weather they should all be hibernating in their roosts. Before the owls turn in?” Too-whit, Too-who.
2nd over: England 6-0 (Crawley 0, Duckett 5) Duckett tickles Mohammad Ali behind and picks up a squeeze of a boundary. Some smart fielding in the ring cuts off another and all in all a much better start for Pakistan.
1st over: England 0-0 (Crawley 0, Duckett) Faheem Ashraf has the ball on a pitch cracked like a hard-boiled egg given a medium crack. And, against all the odds, he pulls out a maiden.
There’s a touch of fog in the air but they start on time!
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zahid Mahmood, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali
Three changes confirmed: the injured Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf plus Azhar Ali miss out, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed makes his Test debut, joined by slow left armer Mohammad Nawaz and seam bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf.
England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
Just the one change, Wood for the injured Livingstone.
One definite issue is today’s air quality in Multan, rated as unhealthy. Polluted air is particularly detrimental to people doing exercise, as well as children, pregnant women and old people. Where is the ICC?
Greetings from a cold and frosty UK. The carols are playing and from here things look bright in Multan, one of the least high-profile cricket stadiums in the world. The ground only made its Test debut in 2001, today’s second Test between England and Pakistan will be its fifth bells and whistles Test cap.
What have we learned in the, er, three days since the totally amazeballs end to the last Test with all those men prowling close enough to pull the loose threads on Mohammad Ali’s shirt and the light dramatically drawing in? Well, Ben Stokes has stroked his beard and suggested he might go for some even more extreme tactics because of Multan’s early-morning fog and the late-afternoon dusk. At this stage, nothing would be surprising.
Team wise, Mark Wood replaces the injured Liam Livingstone, in a not-like-for-like swap; while Ollie Pope keeps the gloves over the recovered Ben Foakes – which is rotten luck, if understandable from an England point of view.
Pakistan look as if they will be without Naseem Shah after he hurt himself in the first Test, and are definitely without the injured Haris Rauf. Babar Azam is reported to have asked for a spinning pitch – but let’s wait and see.
Right , I must go to bed and get a few hours sleep. See you soon – play starts at 5am GMT.