Ben Stokes was batting almost a foot outside of his crease on the second day of the 1st Test to negate the possibility of being caught lbw by Pakistan’s seam bowlers, but left a huge gap to be bowled out as a result. The man who got his wicket was Mohammad Abbas, the 30-year-old who could turn out to be Pakistan’s ace in the pack in this series.
Stokes was bowled out for a duck, his first in England in 50 innings, the first since 2017. His dismissal left England staggering at 12/3, from which they recovered to post 92/4 at the end of play on Thursday, trailing by 234.
We have lost three early wickets against the new ball.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 6, 2020
Michael Vaughan had said before the Test that the summer of 2020 could be remembered as that of Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis from almost three decades ago, but Abbas showed why he could turn out to be deadliest in the series because of his seam movement. Both Naseem and Shaheen bowled faster than Abbas on Day 2, but got less movement than him.
It was the scrambled seam that did Stokes in. Abbas drew him forward and just beat his outside edge with some late away movement, the ball crashing into his off stump. The ball seamed 1.8 degrees away from Stokes and swung 0.2 degrees in, calculated CricViz.
Abbas now has a record of 2 dismissals and 0 runs in the 12 balls he has bowled to Stokes, Cricviz said.
In fact, on the tour of England in 2018, Abbas had been one of Pakistan’s most successful bowlers, with match figures of 8/64 at Lord’s.
Wasim Akram said moments after the wicket: “What a story Abbas has! He was working in a tannery not long ago. In fact, he got to play his first season in Pakistan after he won a toss against another player. Then two seasons, he took 61 and 71 wickets, and then Misbah ul Haq picked him for Pakistan in 2017.”
Abbas, making his debut in West Indies three years ago, took a wicket with his second ball in Test cricket, getting Kraigg Brathwaite out. He has picked 75 wickets in 18 Test since then.
While he does not have the pace of his younger colleagues, what makes him especially dangerous in England is that he usually seams it slightly into the right-handed batsman, ensuring that he makes them play at nearly 80 per cent of his deliveries. That could be the telling factor in this series.
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