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Mohammad Rizwan’s second Test fifty and bad weather frustrate England as Pakistan reach 223-9

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mohammad rizwans second test fifty and bad weather frustrate england as pakistan reach 223 9

It’s not often England reduce their opponents to 223 for nine and still troop off feeling unfulfilled. But this has been a strange summer, and Friday was a strange afternoon.

For the second day in a row, the weather sliced the cricket in half, allowing only 40.2 overs as the second Test gropes for a narrative in the Southampton gloom. It was still enough time for England’s bowlers to produce one of their sporadic curate’s-egg performances: excellent in parts, otherwise unpalatable.

Joe Root’s team may still go on to win this second Test, and with it the series. But if they do it will be in spite of a madcap hour before the first of two stoppages for bad light brought an early tea.

Mohammed Rizwan hit a half century as Pakistan frustrated England at the Ageas Bowl

Mohammed Rizwan hit a half century as Pakistan frustrated England at the Ageas Bowl

Mohammed Rizwan hit a half century as Pakistan frustrated England at the Ageas Bowl

By then, Pakistan had moved from the mediocrity of 176 for eight to the semi-respectability – in these conditions at least – of 215 for eight, with Mohammad Rizwan completing his second Test fifty and generally making a nuisance of himself.

Stuart Broad emerged after the break to trap No 10 Mohammad Abbas lbw, and end a frustrating ninth-wicket stand of 39. But Rizwan was still there on 60 when the umpires whipped out their light meters moments later, despite the Ageas Bowl floodlights being on full beam.

Perhaps it was a good job there were no spectators around to let the umpires know what they thought. Over on the Nursery Ground, the players in Pakistan’s white-ball bubble practised undisturbed. Does any sport fuss and fret quite like cricket?

Pakistan, meanwhile, may now be wondering what damage Abbas and Co can wreak if the clouds remain low and the pitch juicy. A batting paradise this is not.

Babar Azam was caught behind from Stuart Broad's delivery on 47 runs

Babar Azam was caught behind from Stuart Broad's delivery on 47 runs

Babar Azam was caught behind from Stuart Broad’s delivery on 47 runs 

The fact is England missed a golden chance to bowl out the opposition for below 200 for the fifth time in six Test innings. West Indies’ last three totals during their failed defence of the Wisden Trophy were 198, 197 and 129, while Pakistan’s collapse to 169 in the second innings at Emirates Old Trafford contributed to their improbable first-Test defeat.

When Dom Sibley pulled off his second direct hit in two games to run out Shaheen Shah Afridi and gift England their eighth wicket, the bowlers ought to have wrapped things up. Instead they lost control – not for the first time.

In the first Test, they had been perfect Mr Hydes on the first two mornings, only to emerge after lunch on both days to spray it like Dr Jekyll.

Now they contrived to loosen the shackles they had been placing expertly on Pakistan’s batsmen, spooked from their off-stump line by the impishness of Rizwan. To his delight, the field began to spread to the fence. Suddenly, England looked as if they were chasing the game.

Babar Azam was key to Pakistan's first hour as they avoided losing any further wickets

Babar Azam was key to Pakistan's first hour as they avoided losing any further wickets

Babar Azam was key to Pakistan’s first hour as they avoided losing any further wickets

There had already been signs of sloppiness. Jos Buttler missed a leaping half-chance behind the stumps when Rizwan, on 14, gloved a pull off Broad. Soon after, Root allowed a low chance at slip to burst through his fingers after Afridi edged Sam Curran.

England’s captain claimed the catch, though not with the usual conviction, and umpires Kettleborough and Gough referred the decision upstairs, accompanied – randomly, it seemed – by a soft signal of ‘out’. That meant TV official Richard Illingworth needed conclusive evidence Root had grassed the ball. Replays showed he had.

Amid all the slo-mos, it was easy to forget that England had dropped another chance in the slips. Had they held everything that has come their way in this innings, they might have dismissed Pakistan for under three figures.

Rizwan began to enjoy himself, steering Curran over the cordon, then easing Chris Woakes through the covers. The second new ball arrived with comical timing: James Anderson was off the field for running repairs. Four leg-byes brought up Pakistan’s 200, and the psychological reassurance that they were in the game.

Jimmy Anderson (right) looked to be aggressive in what were perfect bowling conditions

Jimmy Anderson (right) looked to be aggressive in what were perfect bowling conditions

Jimmy Anderson (right) looked to be aggressive in what were perfect bowling conditions

Well though Rizwan played, and resolutely though Abbas stuck by him, this was scrappy cricket by England, unbecoming of a team with designs on the No 1 ranking.

Play had begun 90 minutes late because of rain, and the tourists did well to add an undisturbed 29 to their overnight 126 for five in the hour before lunch.

If it was one of cricket’s many absurdities that food had to be consumed at that precise moment, even after a long delay, then England took the chance to regroup and remind themselves of their strengths.

In the third over after the break, Broad summoned up a beauty to have Babar Azam, Pakistan’s classiest batsman, caught behind for 47. And when Anderson induced an edge from Yasir Shah – his 593rd Test wicket – it was 170 for seven.

Pakistan managed to survive the first session and reached lunch on 155 for five

Pakistan managed to survive the first session and reached lunch on 155 for five

Pakistan managed to survive the first session and reached lunch on 155 for five

Six runs later, Afridi hared off for a single as Woakes half-heartedly appealed for lbw against Rizwan. Sibley gathered the ball in the gully, and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end, with Afridi diving in vain.

England’s fielders roared with laughter, but the smiles gave way to scowls – until Broad removed Abbas to pick up his third wicket. He has now taken at least three in seven innings since being inexplicably dropped for the first Test against West Indies, a sequence not achieved by an England bowler since Graeme Swann in 2009.

It is some riposte, reflected in a haul of 25 wickets at under 13 apiece – comfortably his best average in 13 home summers, beating 22 in both 2011 and 2015. He isn’t finished. But he knows Pakistan’s first innings should long have been consigned to history. 

Rain delayed play with the covers forced into use at an overcast Ageas Bowl on Friday morning

Rain delayed play with the covers forced into use at an overcast Ageas Bowl on Friday morning

Rain delayed play with the covers forced into use at an overcast Ageas Bowl on Friday morning

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Punters of doomed Layezy Racing syndicate set to receive 10p in the pound of their £40m investments

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punters of doomed layezy racing syndicate set to receive 10p in the pound of their 40m investments

Thousands of unsuspecting punters who poured life savings into a syndicate exposed by a Sportsmail investigation will receive a fraction of the money they thought they were due.

Administrators Duff & Phelps have been recovering assets from Layezy Racing, which collapsed following our probe last year amid concerns it was a Ponzi scheme.

It is understood investors — many of whom handed over their savings — are set to pick up 10 pence in the pound of sums they put into the scheme, minus any ‘winnings’. Some will receive nothing.

Mike Stanley is currently on bail having been arrested on suspicion of alleged fraud offences

Mike Stanley is currently on bail having been arrested on suspicion of alleged fraud offences

At the High Court, where syndicate founder Mike Stanley, 64, was made the subject of a 14-year bankruptcy order, it emerged that 6,000 members thought they were set to receive a total of £158.7million.

The Kent-based syndicate gave members their own online accounts. When they logged in, they found they had pocketed staggering returns on investments, and would often pour in more money and watch it grow thanks to Stanley’s system.

However, the court heard that Stanley, a former police officer, took £40.3m but only placed bets worth £1m.

Administrators Duff & Phelps have been recovering assets from Layezy Racing

Administrators Duff & Phelps have been recovering assets from Layezy Racing 

Of the remaining £39m, he is alleged to have used £27.4m for payments to make it look as though the syndicate was legitimate.

Those payments were not winnings but made up of investments from new members, it is alleged.

Stanley is being investigated by police and remains on bail until November.

A spokesperson for Duff & Phelps said: ‘We are in the process of preparing an update for creditors which we aim to issue in the early part of next week.’

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Chelsea ‘ready to send flop Kepa out on loan’ after Lampard finally replaces him with Edouard Mendy

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chelsea ready to send flop kepa out on loan after lampard finally replaces him with edouard mendy

Chelsea are reportedly ready to offer under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan after replacing him with Edouard Mendy. 

Frank Lampard made signing a new keeper one of his priorities this summer and finally completed a £22million deal for Mendy on Thursday.

Kepa has endured a torrid time over the past 18 months, making a number of high-profile mistakes, and once again was in the spotlight after a costly error led to Sadio Mane scoring in their defeat against Liverpool last weekend.

Chelsea want to try and loan out Kepa Arrizabalaga before this summer's transfer deadline

Chelsea want to try and loan out Kepa Arrizabalaga before this summer’s transfer deadline

Eduoard Mendy has been bought in as Kepa's replacement after signing for £22m from Rennes

Eduoard Mendy has been bought in as Kepa’s replacement after signing for £22m from Rennes

Lampard is said to have lost patience with the Spaniard and according to The Sun has given his approval for the club to send Kepa out on loan despite Chelsea insisting they are yet to make a decision on his future.

The 25-year-old has struggled to live up to the world-record £71m fee Chelsea paid to sign him from Athletic Bilbao back in 2018.

Despite starting the season as Chelsea’s No 1, Kepa has already come under intense criticism having been at fault for Brighton’s goal in their opening-day 3-1 victory at the Amex and making another blunder against Liverpool. 

Pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have both said that Chelsea have ‘no chance of winning the Premier League with Kepa in goal’ but Lampard has finally resolved the situation by signing Mendy from Rennes.

Frank Lampard has given his assent to the club's plans to put Kepa on the loan list

Frank Lampard has given his assent to the club’s plans to put Kepa on the loan list

Mendy will become Chelsea's new No 1 after penning a five-year contract with the club

Mendy will become Chelsea’s new No 1 after penning a five-year contract with the club

Former Chelsea keeper Petr Cech played a key role in identifying the 28-year-old as a target to take the No 1 spot from Kepa.

Speaking after signing a five-year contract with Chelsea, Mendy said: ‘I am so excited to be joining Chelsea.

‘It’s a dream for me to be a part of this exciting squad. I can’t wait to get started.’

Mendy’s arrival effectively spells the end of Kepa’s time at Chelsea with the club now prepared to listen to offers for him. 

The writing was on the wall for Kepa after he made another error in Sunday's loss to Liverpool

The writing was on the wall for Kepa after he made another error in Sunday’s loss to Liverpool

Chelsea’s hierarchy are hopeful that Kepa can rediscover his best form to give them a better chance of recouping much of the £71m they signed him for next summer. 

It is not yet clear what clubs Kepa could sign for though a return to LaLiga is likely to be an option. Valencia and Sevilla were two clubs linked with him earlier this summer but were put off by Chelsea’s valuation. 

Now that they are keen to loan him out, Kepa has suddenly become a realistic target for any potentially interested parties.

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Gower admits he felt for axed Soccer Saturday pundits after his own dismissal from Sky last year

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gower admits he felt for axed soccer saturday pundits after his own dismissal from sky last year

David Gower has admitted he feels sympathy for Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas after the trio were axed from Sky Sports’ flagship Soccer Saturday programme last month.

The trio’s sudden dismissal last month in Sky’s search for greater diversity came almost 12 months after former England captain Gower, 63, and iconic all-rounder Sir Ian Botham, 64, waved goodbye to the broadcaster following two decades of service.

But while refusing to comment on whether Le Tissier, Thompson and Nicholas’ axing was further confirmation of the ‘element of implied ageism’ he had suggested was involved in his own dismissal, the former England batsman did pay tribute to his ‘excellent’ fellow former pundits and was eager to highlight the inevitability of punditry teams being freshened up.  

David Gower has admitted he feels sympathy for the Soccer Saturday pundits who were axed

David Gower has admitted he feels sympathy for the Soccer Saturday pundits who were axed

Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas were dismissed from the programme

Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas were dismissed from the programme

Gower and Sir Ian Botham 'were retired' last September following 20 years of service to Sky

Gower and Sir Ian Botham ‘were retired’ last September following 20 years of service to Sky

‘I feel for those guys on Soccer Saturday who had done a brilliant job, but there are trends around the world in the industry as a whole, which mean these things will happen,’ Gower – who is president of the Lord’s Taverners – told Sportsmail.

‘I know Matt Le Tissier from various contacts over the years and being vaguely associated with Southampton and Hampshire, and he was good, he was excellent at what he did, as were the others. 

‘So I feel for them, because it seemed to come a little bit out of the blue I thought. I am not sure how much forewarning there was for them, and as Jeff Stelling has said they are mates of his and he was sad to see them go.

‘But they will now build a new team. Inevitably when you are building a team, a broadcast studio or a cricket or football team, there is a period where things don’t work as well as they might, where people are learning what their role is and bedding in, but once they are comfortable, things will go again.’

Gower at launch event of Lloyd Scott's Three Peaks Challenge at Captain Tom Moore's home

Gower at launch event of Lloyd Scott’s Three Peaks Challenge at Captain Tom Moore’s home

Gower caused a storm at the end of last summer when he hinted to The Telegraph that an element of ageism was behind Sky’s decision to remove himself and Botham from the commentary team, before stating in a separate interview with The Times that he pleaded with the broadcaster to change their minds.

But England’s fourth-highest Test run scorer of all time admitted he did not regret the comment he made last September but rather the ‘appalling’ reactions from some people to it as well as the overstated manner in which his words were taken. 

‘Yes I did say that. I used the expression that there was a hint and merest whiff of [ageism]. But we are all aware that things move on,’ he added.

‘It was true [what I said]. I don’t regret it. I regret some other people’s reactions to it, largely there was sympathy but it didn’t go down well in all quarters, and I think that was wrong. I think that was appalling actually.

‘I wasn’t trying to make a big point, I wasn’t trying to whinge, one point I always tried to say to people is I am very grateful for the 20 years, that was the most important thing, rather than worrying about the next 20 years. 

Gower admitted he did not regret his comment on ageism but regretted how overstated it was

Gower admitted he did not regret his comment on ageism but regretted how overstated it was

‘Much as I would love to still be doing what I used to do, much as I still feel very capable of doing it well and successfully, I know full well that is not happening at the moment. They know that, what has happened has happened. It is not a positive thing to be complaining about.’

Gower revealed last year he is keen to remain in the industry and touted the idea of moving to India.

And he remains adamant that there is still a spot for experience in a diverse broadcasting environment, warning that the quality of broadcasting could otherwise diminish if the ‘pendulum swung too far’ in the opposite direction. 

‘To be fair that [diversity] has always happened. But I do still think there is room in the industry for experience. 

‘The obvious thing for people in my position is that none of us feel old. As long as we can still speak and put words in the right order and observe and react and as long as we still have enthusiasm for what we do, then I think there is a perfectly valid position to hold there.

The former batsman remains adamant that there is still a spot for experience in broadcasting

The former batsman remains adamant that there is still a spot for experience in broadcasting

‘But we are all in the hands of outside forces on this one. Management and the broadcasters make their decisions, you look at it at Sky, at the BBC, you look at it around the world, this is a very strong trend.

‘I am so grateful that I got to spend so long in that business, six years at the BBC and 20 years at Sky, which is a large chunk of one’s life. The only thing I would say is that I was always keen in my role to understand what the job required in terms of promoting the game, of promoting people’s interests, using language well.

‘I think the one thing everyone needs to be mindful of is just maintaining the quality of the broadcast and the words that are broadcast. There is something very special about those who have the ability to use words well.

‘We should encourage diversity, absolutely we should, but just beware of the pendulum swinging too far.’

Gower also paid tribute to former Australia batsman Dean Jones, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 59 in Mumbai, where he was working as a commentator on television coverage of the Indian Premier League.

Gower also paid tribute to former Australian batsman Dean Jones, who passed away

Gower also paid tribute to former Australian batsman Dean Jones, who passed away

Jones and Gower were opponents in three separate Ashes series between 1986 and 1991, with the former one of the stars of Australia’s successful tour in 1989.

And the former England skipper honoured the two-time Ashes and 1987 World Cup winner following his passing.

‘I was very fond of Deano. I played against him every time we went to Australia covering Ashes series, we always got together. 

‘He was very very fine player, very brave and skilful, and a great thinker about the game. I am very sorry to hear it.’

Lord’s Taverners President David Gower is supporting the fundraising challenge of Lloyd Scott to complete the famous 3 Peaks Challenge dressed in a 130lb deep sea diving suit starting on October 4. Visit www.lordstaverners.org to make a donation

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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