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Pak vs Eng: Shakeel hits 50 as Pakistan chase down tempting Test target

Pakistan´s Saud Shakeel (R) play a shot as England´s wicketkeeper Ollie Pope (2L) watches during the fourth day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 4, 2022. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Left-hander Saud Shakeel hit a solid maiden half-century Monday as Pakistan glided towards a tempting England target on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Rawalpindi.

The 27-year-old was unbeaten on 63 — with Mohammad Rizwan on 42 — as Pakistan reached 169-3 at lunch, needing another 174 in the final two sessions with seven wickets intact after being set a target of 343.

England toiled hard for wickets but managed only one in the extended 135-minute session, when pacer James Anderson had opener Imam-ul-Haq caught down the leg side by keeper Ollie Pope for 48.

England scored a record 657 in their first innings before dismissing Pakistan for 579.

The mammoth scoring prompted severe criticism of the Rawalpindi pitch, but the Test sprang to life after England batted briskly in their second innings before declaring at 264-7 on Sunday to set up an intriguing final day.

Resuming at 80-2, Pakistan added just 13 in the first 65 minutes with Rizwan not scoring off the first 23 balls he faced.

He changed gear, however, hitting five boundaries and two sixes to begin the chase proper in an unbroken 80-run fourth wicket stand with Shakeel.

Shakeel cracked Leach for two boundaries to complete his half-century off 104 balls.

England are on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005, having declined to visit in the interim years on security grounds.

The second Test is in Multan from December 9-13, and the third in Karachi from December 17-21.

Livingstone out of Pakistan tour with knee injury

England all-rounder Liam Livingstone has been ruled out of the rest of England’s tour of Pakistan with a knee injury, the team’s management said Monday.

The 29-year-old made his Test debut Thursday in the ongoing first Test in Rawalpindi, scoring nine and seven not out in England´s two innings.

But he jarred his knee while fielding on day two and did not bowl in Pakistan’s first innings.

Livingstone also missed the Twenty20 series against Pakistan a few months ago after suffering an ankle injury.

England have yet to decide if a replacement will be called up.

Azhar Ali fit to bat

Pakistan’s right-handed batter Azhar Ali is now fit to bat in the remainder of the ongoing Rawalpindi Test against England as he has recovered from an injury he suffered on the fourth day, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). 

Ali was hurt on the tip of his right index finger during the fifth over of the second innings on Sunday, after which he left the field for further medical treatment.

“The right-handed batter is fit to bat,” the PCB said in an update on the player’s condition.

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