The second Test between England and Pakistan ended in a predictable draw on Day 5 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Monday (August 17). Only 134.3 overs were possible in the match, with the third day being washed out without a ball being bowled. There was finally some cricket in the final session of Day 5 but that was never going to be enough. The hosts will go into the final Test with a 1-0 lead.
In response to Pakistan's 236, England were 110/4 in 43.1 overs before the two captains shook hands and the match ended in a draw. For England, Zak Crawley crafted 53, while Mohammad Abbas claimed two wickets just before the end of the match.
Play in the final day finally got underway at 15:20 local (19:50 IST). There was no cricket played in the first two sessions because of rain and wet outfield. But following Monday's fifth inspection by umpires Michael Gough and Richard Kettleborough, it was announced the match would restart just after tea.
While the umpires have faced widespread criticism for their strict interpretation of the rules regarding both rain and bad light even on a ground where the floodlights have been in use - former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports "merely because conditions are not ideal is not a reason to walk off the field" - there was little they could do about an early morning downpour on Monday that saturated the outfield at the Ageas Bowl. But there was noticeably more activity by both the officials and groundstaff on Monday.
Pakistan had struck with just the fourth ball of England's reply on Sunday when left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi had Rory Burns caught by Asad Shafiq at second slip for a duck with a fine delivery that swung and seamed. Afridi and Abbas were almost unplayable in the five overs Pakistan bowled on Day 4 but when Crawley and Dominic Sibley walked out to bat on Day 5, it was quite bright and sunny. Despite not looking in control, Crawley kept the scoreboard ticking and also slammed Abbas for two boundaries in one over.
The surface was still offering ample movement but it was slightly better than Day 4. Both Afridi and Abbas tested Crawley and Sibley outside off before Naseem Shah kept attacking them with bouncers for two-three overs. The two batsmen however carried on and displayed good patience, bringing up the 50-run stand in the 20th over.
Legspinner Yasir Shah was then brought into the attack and he would have got rid of Crawley if Mohammad Rizwan wouldn't have missed a stumping opportunity. Crawley carried on and got to his third Test fifty by smashing Yasir for a boundary towards deep mid-wicket. Just after reaching his milestone, the right-hander fell to Abbas as he was pinned right in front of the stumps. Sibley too couldn't carry on as he was caught behind down the leg. The opener scored 32 before he became Abbas' second victim.
Coming in at No. 5, Ollie Pope (9) couldn't survive for long and was undone by Yasir's googly. The battle between Joe Root and Abbas was quite intriguing as the right-arm seamer got to move the ball both ways and troubled the England captain on a few occasions. Root and Jos Buttler however stood firm and only left the field when the curtains were drawn.
The third and final Test will be played at the same venue from Friday (August 21).
With inputs from AFP.