1st over: Pakistan 7-0 (Babar 6, Rizwan 1) Woakes starts with a leg-side half volley to Rizwan who flicks for a single. Babar pulls a short ball for a couple but then unfurls a lovely on drive off a full ball to score the first boundary of the innings. Woakes a bit rusty, searching for swing but little to be found on first evidence.
I’ve breached a packet of bourbon biscuits and am settling in for another run-fest, short boundaries and the pitch looks a belter despite the rain of yesterday.
The players are heading out onto the field. There are lots of flying critters by the looks of it, winged things showing up under beam of the floodlights. CHRIS WOAKES is going to open the bowling – it’s been a while since we’ve been able to type that on the OBO. He’s got a slip in place. The stadium is packed and the atmosphere is crackling. Let’s play!
Borrower sized boundaries spotted in Lahore:
FOUR changes for England: Dawid Malan, Sam of the Currans, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are in for England.
Three changes for Pakistan, Shadab in for Qadir, and Jamal for Hasnain.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf
England: Phil Salt, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
England win the toss and will have a bowl
Moeen Ali calls correctly and inserts Pakistan. The outfield was underwater yesterday apparently, with groundsman hand-forking the turf to assist the drainage. The pitch looks good now though, but what do I know sat here 5412.766 miles away. I don’t even have my car keys in my hand either. BUT It might not be a run plundering match like the last few. Famous last words…
Hello and welcome to the OBO of the fifth of seven T20Is between Pakistan and England from the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore (by way of a sofa in south London).
There’s always a danger that bilateral white ball series wind up to be almost instantly forgettable, lost to the relentless runaway train of global cricket, another notch on the games already heavily carved bedpost. But, this series hasn’t felt like that. The sense of history has no doubt helped but so has the actual cricket on the field.
The two sides are evenly matched and locked at two wins apiece with three games left to play. We’ve had blistering batting, bamboozling spin, searing pace, close finishes and plenty of other narratives running alongside. The longer series has allowed for these to play out and add to the intrigue.
As Autumn starts to bite here in the UK, a season of mist, mellow fruitfulness and the tanking pound upon us, it’s nice to hunker down and have cricket as distraction and comfort. There’s a warmth to it, which is just as well as the heating isn’t going on in our flat until November is breached (“Put a jumper on… another one!“)
Last night I curled up with The Unquiet Ones – Osman Samiuddin’s excellent book on the history of Pakistan cricket. A chapter entitled ‘The Fields of Lahore’ is beautifully evocative on Minto Park (now Greater Iqbal Park) the cradle of cricket on the north western fringe of the city that lies about 30 minutes away from the Gadaffi stadium.
“There are few more symbolic pieces of real estate in Pakistan… little about the park now suggests such momentousness. It doesn’t look epic or symbolic. The grass is green but not lush, and the mix of petrol fumes and cow manure is sharp. The pitches are mostly cement. Randomly dotted around the park on any day are a stream of informal games criss-crossing each other, where once were played matches that people still remember today. Even then, one game’s slip was always another game’s deep square leg.”
To Pakistan’s second city then for this fifth game. Play is due to begin at 3.30pm BST, I’ll be back with news of the teams and the toss very shortly.
As ever it would be lovely to hear from you, you can get in touch by Email or tweeting @Jimbo_Cricket.