Teenager Rehan Ahmed has justified the faith shown in him by England captain Ben Stokes with two wickets on his Test debut as Pakistan were bowled out for 304 on a slow, flat pitch on the opening day of the third Test in Karachi.
England started their innings as the sun began to set in the City of Lights and lost Zak Crawley out for a duck, ending on one for seven.
Legspinner Ahmed finished the day with two wickets for 89 runs across three spells.
Ahmed, who was handed his cap by former captain Nasser Hussain before receiving a warm hug from his father who was permitted to join the pre-match team huddle, only had to wait until the 17th over to bowl his first ball in Test cricket.
With only three first-class matches under his belt for Leicestershire, the 18-year-old took a session to find his line and length consistently after going into the lunch break with figures of five overs for 37 runs, but he was markedly more composed after the break.
Ahmed’s first wicket came when he cleverly set up Saud Shakeel with the Pakistan batter caught by Ollie Pope at short leg for 23.
It was a first glimpse of the talent spoken about by Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.
Ahmed’s second came in the evening session, when Faheem Ashraf was trapped lbw for four to leave Pakistan 7-237.
In between the key wicket of Babar Azam was secured by an exceptional bit of wicketkeeping from the returning specialist Ben Foakes.
Foakes, who was left out in favour of batter-wicketkeeper Pope for the second Test, combined with Harry Brook to run out the Pakistan captain for 78.
Mohammad Rizwan (19) was then caught in the deep off a low full toss from Joe Root.
In all spinners took seven wickets withÂ Jack Leach finishing with four for 140 from 31 overs, cleaning up the tail as Pakistan slid from 4-196 to 304 all out.
Quicks Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood also took a wicket apiece.
Only Babar and Agha Salman (56) were able to reach half-centuries in the Pakistan innings, with wickets falling consistently.
Crawley was leg before out to Abrar Ahmed in the opening over of England’s reply as they faced a tricky three overs.
In the morning, the tourists had turned immediately to spin, with Leach becoming the first England twirler to open the bowling in the first innings of a match since 1921, when Jack White did so against Australia at Headingley.
England claimed three wickets in the first session of play, which set the tone for the rest of the day as they continued to make breakthroughs at key times and limited Pakistan’s ability to form significant partnerships.
England already have a winning 2-0 lead in the series and are seeking their first ever whitewash in Pakistan.
Source: Riverine Herald