Stuart Broad believes England are “huge favourites” to win the second Test against Pakistan and clinch a series victory as they have the bonus of the second new ball in their quest for the final six wickets.
Pakistan closed day three in Multan on 198-4 from 64 overs in pursuit of 355 and need a further 157 more runs to level the three-match series at 1-1 following England’s 74-win success in Rawalpindi last week.
Imam-ul-Haq (60) was out late in the day to England spinner Jack Leach after sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 108 with Saud Shakeel (54no) from 83-3.
I think slightly England. They have that nous and Pakistan have that one collapse in them as we saw in that last session in the first Test in Rawalpindi. Pakistan have played the extra all-rounder and have a bit more batting depth, so it could be a fascinating fourth day.
England resumed on Sunday on 202-5 with a lead of 281 but lost their last five wickets for 19 runs to be bowled out for 275.
Broad, who is missing this series due to the recent birth of his child, told Sky Sports Cricket: “I think Pakistan have had a really good day – but I don’t think England have had a bad one.
“They had an average morning with the bat when they could have quite easily put the game to bed with another 50 or 60 runs. But this is not a team that will look back with any negativity or sadness or anything.
‘Pakistan have a chance but it is a lot of runs’
“It will be, ‘what can we do now to move in a positive direction?’, and I still think England are huge favourites on this pitch and with the new ball round the corner. It is England’s game.
“Pakistan have three genuine No 11s so as a bowling group you would be talking about that, saying ‘get one or two here and we are right into them’.
“England will be hugely confident and Pakistan will need to get the bulk of those runs before the new ball comes. Pakistan have a chance but it is a lot of runs.”
When asked whether England should take the second new ball as soon as it is available, former England seamer Steven Finn told Sky Sports Cricket: “Yes, I think so.
“The new ball has offered more purchase for the spinner so they will get that in Leach’s hand as soon as possible and there may be an opportunity for Mark Wood to rough up some of the lower order with a brand new, hard ball that is going to kiss off the surface more and rush those batters.”
Trescothick looking towards new ball
England batting coach Marcus Trescothick added: “We are only 16 overs away from the new ball and Jack [Leach] has definitely got more spin with the new ball than the older one.
“We are still in a very good position – a few more wickets would have been great but we are happy where we are.
“We have six wickets to go and it is going to be a massive day’s play. We have seen most wickets fall in the first session so we hope that continues.”
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan – bowled by a crackerjack delivery from James Anderson after opening the batting – insists the hosts can level the series ahead of next week’s final Test in Karachi.
He said: “We are down four wickets but everyone has hope because the pitch is slow and we have good depth in our batting. I hope we can chase these runs.”
Watch day four of the second Test between Pakistan and England, in Multan, live on Sky Sports from 4.40am on Monday.