PAK vs ENG, 2nd Test: With a lead of 1-0 in the series, England walked into this Test match with their tails up. They outplayed Pakistan in the first Test match that was played in Rawalpindi. It was England's sheer dominance in the red ball format that derailed Pakistan and their hopes of winning the first Test match. With four English centuries on day one in Rawalpindi, Pakistan could do nothing much but appreciate Stokes and his team.
The pitch in Rawalpindihad came under serious criticism. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja too was critical about the pitch and admitted to the fact that the Rawalpindi track was not a good endorsement for Test cricket. Come to the Multan Test, things have drastically changed for England and this time around the pendulum has swung in Pakistan's favour. Pakistan are playing without their pace ace, Haris Rauf who himself was a replacement for spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, but Pakistan have found a new hero and he is none other than debutant Abrar Ahmed. Ahmed, in his first outing for Pakistan, has claimed 5 wickets and has become the 13th Pakistan bowler to achieve this milestone on debut. If things can be put in proper perspective, Babar Azam had a plan in place. Before the Multan Test match, Babar dropped subtle hints about the pitch and how it was supposed to be played.
Babar opened up about the Multan pitch and said:
It looks as if it'll be a turning wicket. The wicket is dry, and the way it is behaving, I feel it'll help both spin and reverse swing. Our main focus is on the spinners though, and that's what we're looking to utilize.
The Pakistan skipper read the conditions perfectly and his faith in Abrar and his bowling prowess has paid off. England as of now are enchanted by Abrar's craft and are finding it difficult to take him on. If Pakistan are to win this Test match and stay alive in the series, Abrar will have to restrain Stokes and his side.