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Azhar Ali, the compact Pakistan’s batsman answered his critiques with a special knock on the 2nd day of Edgbaston Test. He celebrated his ton in the same style as Misbah did on the first day of Lords Test with 10 push-ups. He came into bat in the first over when Mohammed Hafeez played a rash stroke to give away his wicket to James Anderson. The ball was swinging and seaming in first few overs but the classy no. 3 from Pakistan ground it out with temperament, technique and patience. He also got two chances when Joe Root dropped him off the bowling of James Anderson on 38 runs first and then Moeen Ali could not hold on to a return catch when he had made 69. The other shining star from Pakistan Cricket Team on the second day was Sami Aslam who replaced Shan Masood for this match and showed everybody his skill to leave the ball and ability to wait for the right ball to hit boundaries. He scored 82 runs before getting run out when he tried to sneak a suicidal run.

Unfortunately, Azhar Ali after making 139 runs got out on last ball of the day when Chris Woakes pitched one on a good length and he edged it to the first slipped which was accepted easily by Alastair Cook. He looked completely settled throughout the day and even the ball he got out to could have been left by him but the nerves got better of him as he edged it. On the other hand, Younis Khan despite being little shaky throughout his innings has fought it out so far and is not out at 21 runs. It is also a chance for him to score big and stamp his authority again. The pitch seems to play well and any lead over 100 runs could really make a big difference in this match.

England Bowlers certainly had a tough day and they had to go through consistent grinding. Bowlers could not pick a wicket after 4th ball of the innings till last ball of the day. Azhar and Sami hardly gave any chances to England bowlers but it was the wide line and short length of bowlers that cost them the new ball advantage early in the morning. James Anderson bowled well in patches but seemed to struggle throughout the day as he had been given two warnings by the Umpire Bruce Oxenford for running on the pitch. Stuart Broad looked flat and hardly could make any impact. Steven Finn tried his heart out but never got any reward. Moin Ali was continually attacked and leaked runs throughout the day. Chris Woakes remained the pick of bowlers who kept on threatening the batsmen consistently with his controlled swing bowling.

Pakistan’s batsmen especially Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam have certainly handed the team a clear advantage on the second day of the match from where they can build a strong lead. Misbah and Younis will start the day tomorrow with Pakistan still 40 runs behind the England score at 257/3. Pakistan will look to bat long in the third day so that they establish a stronghold in this match and make their best chance to win this match.

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