Pakistan, England secure 13 points after second Test ends in a draw
Zak Crawley marked his appearance to the England team with a half-century as the rain-ruined second Test turned to a draw on the final day at the Ageas Bowl. The play did not begin until 3.20 pm as an overnight deluge left the field and especially the bowlers’ run-ups – in a soggy state, leaving only a box-ticking session of 38.1 overs to play out. England ended on 110 for four before the inevitable outcome was agreed, with Crawley helping himself to 53. Dom Sibley made 32 before being strangled down leg in familiar style, with Mohammad Abbas taking two for 28 in another fine spell and Yasir Shah claiming the last wicket of the match.
Root outlasted some pleasant bowling from Abbas to ensure he finished not out on nine but Ollie Pope was removed for just nine, Yasir clamping him lbw with one that went straight on. With a maximum of 41 overs needed before things could be wrapped-up Root opted to declare after one ball from Azhar Ali in the 39th with the theoretical change of innings taking up the remaining time. In the absence of handshakes, the players bumped fists as they left the field. Just 96.2 overs were possible across the first four days due to weather and ground conditions. Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan trapped the man-of-the-match award for his brave 72, which helped the tourists to 236.
With the draw, both England and Pakistan have secured 13 points in the ICC World Test Championship. The third and final Test, to be also played at the Ageas Bowl, will commence on Friday, 21 August, after which the two teams will play a three-match T20I series at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Babar Azam has established his status as the world’s most talented, skilled, and all-rounded batsman by returning to the top-five of the latest ICC Test batting rankings, by which he has become the only batsman to feature in the top-five across all formats. In the latest ICC rankings, released after the Southampton Test, Babar has leapfrogged Australia’s David Warner into the fifth position and now has New Zealand captain Kane Williamson firmly within his sights. The New Zealander leads Babar by 14 points, with Australia’s third-ranked Marcus Labuschange another 15 points ahead. If Babar produces a steady performance in the final two Test innings on the current England tour, he can probably achieve his career-high ranking in his young Test career, which is just 28 Tests old. The batting table is headed by Australia’s Steve Smith with India’s Virat Kohli in second place. Joe Root, who makes the ‘fab-five’ along with Smith, Kohli, Williamson, and Babar, is ranked ninth. Babar is the only batsman in the ICC player rankings to feature inside the top-five, which is a hallmark of a champion and highly-talented batsman. Babar occupies third place in the ODIs, just behind India’s duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and ahead of fourth-ranked Ross Taylor of New Zealand and Faf du Plessis of South Africa. Williamson is ranked eighth, Root ninth, and Smith 21st. In the T20Is, Babar sits on top of the tree, with Lokesh Sharma (India), Aaron Finch (Australia), Colin Munro (New Zealand) and Glenn Maxwell (Australia) to follow. Kohli is 10th, Williamson 16th, Root 34th, and Smith 52nd.