Pakistani player Abrar Ahmed has said he was ‘no magician’ after taking seven wickets on the first day of his Test debut against England.
The 24-year-old claimed 7-114 on the first day of the second Test in Multan to help send the tourists away for 281.
After taking the first seven wickets, he was well on his way to becoming the first bowler in Test history to win 10 in one inning on his debut.
“I can’t express in words how happy I feel,” Abrar said.
“I won’t forget today. It’s great to have achieved what I set out to achieve.
“I am not a magician. I did my job, what I was charged with, and for that I am very happy.”
On a surface with plenty of cornering, Abrar recorded the best tricks of a spinner in its test debut for 14 years.
His scalps included eight-year lbw trapper Joe Root and England captain Ben Stokes, who was knocked down by a stunning delivery that launched the outside leg stump and struck through the middle and outside.
“Before the game I said in an interview that Joe Root and Ben Stokes would be difficult, so it’s great to have the wickets of both,” Abrar said.
“Ben Stokes was my favorite wicket. He’s my favorite player!”
Nominally a leg spinner, Abrar spins the ball back and forth with an unconventional flick of his fingers. The variation he used to bowl with Stokes and, earlier, with Zak Crawley, is often referred to as a “carrom ball”.
The first wicket-taker in Pakistani national cricket this season, he was controversially left out of the first Test at Rawalpindi, which England won by 74 runs.
“I was surprised that he didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the first test,” former Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis told Test Match Special.
“What a dream start. He has proven he is something very unique and can survive in Test cricket.”
Fly-half Ben Duckett scored for England with 63 from 49 before becoming Abrar’s second victim.
“We tried to put him under pressure and he had a good day,” Duckett said.
“It will be similar in the second sets. We’re not going to try to flatter him. Everyone will have their own strategies. I’m sure in the second sets we’ll go even harder.”
Pakistan moved to 107-2 at the end, 174 behind, with captain Babar Azam unbeaten on 61.
“Our 281 is pretty good, maybe a little under par,” Duckett said. “If we get a few wickets in the morning and keep them at a similar or lower score, it will definitely be difficult to score on this ground.
“We just have to hang in there, try to restrict them as much as possible and hope the wicket comes as a group. I think it will be another exciting test.”
The victory will give England, who hold a 1-0 lead in the three-game series, their first Test series win against Pakistan outside the UK in 22 years.