I had written my analysis for the 2nd day and published it. For some reason that I cannot fathom the original post that I wrote disappeared even though I published it and people read the post. To avoid this problem I have started writing on Scrivener and then copy it into WordPress. England had lost their first wicket by the time I realised that there was a problem with my post. Two wickets fell by the time I started writing. By that point, I knew that it would be hard to be completely objective based on past data. For this reason, I decided not to rewrite the post. I will be referring to certain events that took place yesterday.
You can look at all the numbers you want to but at the end of the day the behaviour and attitude of the players on the field can tell you a lot more. Yesterday Mark Wood was interviewed by Ian Ward. There seemed to be a big hint of resignation in the way he spoke. I wonder what would have happened if Babar Azam did not get injured. I feel sorry for Babar Azam. He has not been able to reproduce his success in white-ball cricket in Test Matches. He may have had that chance on Day 2 and get his name on the Lords honour board. That would have been some achievement. It is disappointing that he got injured. The thing I like about us is that we support our opponent when they play well. This is one country where we not only support our team but we support all special performances. The only exceptions probably is Australia in the Ashes where we are very possessive of our urn. The catches that were dropped seemed to reflect a lack of trust. People either depended on other players to do well or did not trust the other person to get the runs. There was no reason for Stokes to jump in from Root. Today Jos Butler seemed more realistic. They have realised that they are not out of the woods yet. They do acknowledge that things could have been significantly worse. In effect England are 56/6 and Pakistan are one down. The one down scenario is not an option though. All the batsmen before Babar Azam are talented players and they have scored runs in Ireland and here. At the end of Day 4 of the Ireland test match; I stated that they had to last until lunch at least. They lasted for about 40 minutes. If they had gone on to bat then the rains would have come and they would have had a draw. There is about a 40% chance of the heavens opening up during the first session tomorrow. England will be hoping that they would not go on and off the field regularly. The ideal scenario for England in my opinion is that the first session in washed out and they bat on until the end of day at the minimum. There are chances of rain on Monday but I would say that England need to make Pakistan get close to 200 to make a game of it. Anything below 150 and I think Pakistan would win the game.
Here comes the fun part for me. As always I start off with referring to CricViz as currently, I rate it as the most accurate benchmark in assessing the chances of a team to win.
Yesterday the chances of Pakistan winning were 88%. Today it has increased to 94%. England has scored 47% of the points so far. However this is their second innings. My system allocates more points for batting. England have at this stage scored more batting points than Pakistan. If Pakistan are able to bowl England out for a lead of less than 100 then I think they will more or less be level on batting points. The bowling is where Pakistan clearly have been better than England. This is truly a surprising thing to say of a visiting side in England. The focus so far has been on the failure of the English top order. I do not deny that this is a problem. However a strong case can be made that there is not enough bowling strength. This is especially true of England’s spinner. Today England was saved because of the batting of Dominic Bess. I have my doubts whether Amar Virdi would have been able to pull it off. Another way of looking at it though is Bess’s batting would not have been required if he was more economical or taken a few wickets. Shadab Khan ended up taking two important wickets. Will Bess be able to emulate him? I suspect that Pakistan will be significantly ahead of England in the bowling department unless England pull off an unlikely victory. Stokes started to get his bowling act together in the latter half of the IPL. He seems to have brought that to the test match. However, unlike Jose Butler he has not been able to switch off from the T20 mode.
In terms of batting; Jos Butler has scored the most points with 175. The only other person who can realistically catch up to him is Asad Shafiq who is on 133. Pakistan will be on the back foot if it comes to that unless Shafiq is promoted to three. It should be an interesting and important day’s play tomorrow. I am certain that the weather will play some role in the proceedings. The gamble by Ed Smith to pay Jos Butler and Dominic Bess seems to be justified now. Jos Butler seems to have adapted from the IPL mode. I can see lightning as I close on finishing this. I hope that Zeus, Thor, Indra or Raijin will hover around St. John’s Wood tomorrow morning.