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England leave Pakistan in a spin to level T20 competition

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Pakistan’s Imad Wasim (centre) congratulates England’s Tom Curran (left) after England won the second T20 international cricket match at the Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds, northern England, on Sunday. AFP

England leave Pakistan in a spin to level T20 competition

England’s spinners took centre stage during a 45-run win over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 international at Headingley on Sunday.

Victory saw England level the three-match series at 1-1 ahead of Tuesday’s finale at Old Trafford.

England broke with convention by fielding two leg-spinners in Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson, with off-spinner Moeen Ali also included.

The hosts’ decision was vindicated by the leg-break duo taking a combined 3-55 from eight overs, with player of the match Moeen adding 2-32 to his useful 36 in England’s total of 200.

That proved more than enough for England to defend, with Pakistan finishing on 155-9.

Jos Buttler, captaining England in place of the rested Eoin Morgan, marked his return to international duty by top-scoring with 59.

Moeen praised Buttler’s faith in spin bowling by saying: “I don’t think it was a game plan, it was just Jos playing the conditions.

“I don’t think it was risky at all. Today it was great conditions to be a spinner.”

He added: “I thought our leg-spinners bowled fantastically well, Parky and Rash complemented each other brilliantly.

“They’re both very different but both very skilful.”

Earlier, Liam Livingstone – fresh from scoring England’s fastest T20 hundred on Friday – launched Pakistan quick Haris Rauf for a colossal six that soared straight over the redeveloped Football Stand.

“It was huge,” said Moeen. But I’ve seen him do that a couple of times now.

“I played with him in [South Africa’s] Mzansi Super League and he hit one out of Johannesburg!”

Buttler fell when he drilled a catch to mid-off with Livingstone’s innings ending on 38 thanks to a needless run out.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan shared an opening stand of exactly 50 before the skipper was caught at mid-off after driving at paceman Saqib Mahmood.

Rashid struck on his Yorkshire home ground when he had Sohaib Maqsood stumped by Buttler before a brilliant one-handed caught and bowled accounted for Rizwan.

With the tourists falling behind the run-rate, Moeen had Mohammad Hafeez caught in the deep by Jonny Bairstow before clean bowling a charging Fakhar Zaman.

Parkinson had a deserved wicket when Azam Khan became Buttler’s second stumping of the innings before Mahmood took his figures to 3-33 by bowling tailender Rauf for a duck.

“We started well, but they got 20 or 30 runs extra,” said Azam.

“We were trying to chase. After six overs, we couldn’t continue the partnership and lost wickets.”

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