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Cricket news - Anderson breaks stubborn stand in rain-marred session

Anderson removed Azhar to break the 72-run stand for the second wicket before rain arrived

Anderson removed Azhar to break the 72-run stand for the second wicket before rain arrived

The second session on the opening day of the Southampton Test was affected by rain, with only 10.1 overs possible in the post-lunch period. Pakistan were 85 for 2, having lost Azhar Ali at the start of the second session, while Abid Ali was batting on 49 with Babar Azam for company.

The wicket of Azhar early in the second session was a much-needed boost for England as James Anderson ended a 72-run stand by finding the outside edge of the Pakistan skipper's bat. Azhar had settled down into a nice partnership with Abid, having kept the England bowlers at bay for more than 28 overs. However, Azhar's bid to improve his average overseas record suffered a setback when he went a bit hard at Anderson's delivery, having earlier played with soft hands.

Babar and Abid then batted for three overs, with the former also playing his trademark cover-drive for three runs off Stuart Broad, followed by a flick off Anderson which also yielded three. But a heavy shower came along and forced the players off the field for the second time. Having earlier wiped off 10 minutes in the first session, the rain was heavy enough to wash out the remainder of the second session, with an inspection scheduled during the tea break.

Earlier, Pakistan managed to keep England at bay after losing the wicket of Shan Masood early, with Abid and Azhar putting on a half-century stand. While Masood was trapped in front by Anderson, Abid Ali had a couple of reprieves, with Dom Sibley and Rory Burns dropping catches in the slip cordon. Capitalising on the missed chances, Abid built a good stand with Azhar as they showcased good application in testing conditions to ensure Pakistan did not suffer anymore setbacks in the first session.

Brief scores: Pakistan 85/2 (Abid Ali 49*, Azhar Ali 20; James Anderson 2-24) vs England.

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