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Pakistan's team effort builds hefty lead as England pay for mistakes

Asad Shafiq unfurls a perfect drive Getty Images

Pakistan 350 for 8 (Babar 68 rt hurt, Shafiq 59, Shadab 52, Azhar 50) lead England 184 by 166 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Don't act too surprised, but Pakistan have played their second consecutive day of consistent, sober, intelligent cricket. For their reward, they have a 166-run lead with two wickets in hand - though one of those batsmen may not return due to injury.

England, meanwhile, were shabby on occasion, missing four catches in the day - two in the space of four balls - and missing one tough run out chance. Their bowlers did not succeed going full as Pakistan had, perhaps because the pitch has settled slightly, but also because Pakistan were more skillful on day one.

Ben Stokes did lead one resurgence either side of tea, finding success with a series of brutish bouncers. But then the lower order stood firm for Pakistan. They quickly pushed the lead beyond 150. Nos. 9 and 11 even saw out 4.1 overs before stumps.

Three partnerships, involving six different batsmen, built this innings. Up the top were the overnight pair, Haris Sohail and Azhar Ali. Adding a 37 together on the second morning, they brought up their partnership tally to 75, withstanding the worst of England's swing bowling.

Haris fell for 39, edging Mark Wood behind. Azhar continued to his half-century, having batted a little more positively in this session, after having scored only 18 off 72 the previous day. He was out lbw, to a seaming delivery from James Anderson.

In the afternoon, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam - two men in need of runs for different reasons - took control of the game, and produced Pakistan's best partnership, amounting to 84.

Shafiq, once an excellent No.6 batsman, has seen his average retreat over the past 18 months when he has more often been asked to bat at No. 4. Babar, a blinding limited-overs talent, is yet to crack the Test format, averaging less than 25 before this match.

Together, though, the quelled the last of the swing England were able to generate, saw through one short-ball burst from Mark Wood, and batted positively against Dom Bess, the 20-year-old debutant offspinner. Babar's innings contained some of the regality that has made him a short-format force: the back-foot punches and cover drives in particular were in alluring flow. Shafiq, a little less flash, but more assured at the crease, strode purposefully along.

They both made smart fifties. Shafiq was out to a snorting Stokes bouncer on 59, able only to spasm evasively at a ball that was hunting his throat, the resultant catch off the shoulder of the bat floating to the cordon. Babar had moved to 69 when he too was victim to a Stokes bouncer, but in different fashion - the ball hit the bony part of his unprotected forearm as he attempted to duck beneath it. He went off the field, apparently unable to hold the bat, but did not go for an x-ray while play was on.

Stokes had also had Sarfraz Ahmed caught at fine leg, hooking irresponsibly just before tea to prompt a frustrated shaking of the head from coach Mickey Arthur on the balcony. But although three batsmen had fallen to stokes in relatively quick succession, a young, inexperienced lower order pair put on Pakistan's third excellent stand of the day.

Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf didn't just resist England; in fact, they actively attacked. Their 72 runs together came off 92 balls. This was all the more impressive for having come against a mostly-new ball - England's seamers getting less seam movement this evening, than they had on day one.

Anderson had success late in the day, dismissing Ashraf and later Hasan Ali, while another sharp Stokes bouncer had Shadab caught down the leg side for 59. But England's bowlers will largely be disappointed at having allowed the lead to swell this much. The pitch is flattening out gradually, but they were especially innocuous for stretches. Bess, bowling offbreaks on a still-green surface is yet to impose himself on the game too - his 17 overs have gone for 59 runs - no first Test wicket so far.