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Brook’s century takes England on top as Pakistan trail by 29 runs

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KARACHI: Centurion Harry Brook and Ben Foakes played astounding knocks to help England gain a vital lead in the first innings as they were bowled out for 354 before the close of the second day’s play, here at National Bank Cricket Arena on Sunday. 

Brook smashed his second hundred in consecutive innings to help England close in Pakistan’s first innings total of 304 and stitched a valiant 117-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ben Foakes to elevate the batting side after were stuck at 145 for the loss of five wickets.

Wicket-keeper Foakes contributed 64 from 121 balls while tailenders Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson chipped in with 35 and 29, respectively to help England finish on a 50-run lead in the first innings.

Pakistan openers, on the other hand, trod very cautiously and denied England a breakthrough before the day’s end as Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood remained unbeaten on 14 and 3, respectively.

At 21 without loss, Pakistan will resume the play on day 3 with a deficit of 29 runs.

With Brook and Foakes on the charge for the most part of the day, spinners topped the bowling charts for Pakistan as Abrar Ahmed and Nauman Ali bagged four wickets each while Mohammad Wasim took one wicket.

After finding three key wickets in the morning session, Pakistan went through a submissive second session with Ben Stokes’ chaotic run-out proving to be the lone cherishing moment for the team.

Stokes and Brook ended up on the same end of the wicket following a miscommunication for the third run.

Earlier, Ollie Pope starred with an impressive half-century in a spin-dominated first session that helped Pakistan keep England under control.

Nauman Ali struck back-to-back wickets, dismissing Ben Duckett and veteran Joe Root on consecutive deliveries to jitter England’s top order and aided Pakistan to contain England on 140/4 before Lunch.

At 58 for three, overnight batter Pope and Harry Brook braced England for a while before Abrar Ahmed provided a breakthrough to Pakistan and dismissed Pope soon after he made his fifty.

England, who are already 2-0 up in the series, were petrified by the mystery spinner Abrar when he removed Zak Crawley on the stroke of day close after Pakistan were bowled out for 304 in the first innings.

Skipper Babar Azam and Salman Agha notched-up fifties while retiring Azhar Ali managed 45 on the opening day of the Karachi Test when England spinners were on the charge.

Jack Leach and debutant Rehan Ahmed shared six wickets between them with a wicket to part-time Joe Root’s credit as well.

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