England’s leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed on Monday became the youngest men’s Test cricketer to take a five-wicket haul on debut during the ongoing third match against Pakistan at the National Bank Cricket Arena.
After making his Test debut at 18 years and 126 days, Rehan claimed three wickets in six overs on his way to 5-48 in the second innings, playing a key role in bowling out Pakistan for 216 in 74.5 overs on day three of the match.
Rehan broke the record of now-Australian captain, right-arm fast-bowler Pat Cummins, who was 18 years and 193 days when he took 6-79 on his Test debut against South Africa in 2011.
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After 41 overs of Pakistan’s second innings, Rehan was finally introduced into the bowling attack on Monday and had an immediate effect by breaking the partnership between Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel, which had put the hosts in control.
Rehan began his show by removing Babar through a long hop, which the Pakistan captain smashed straight to Ollie Pope at mid-wicket, departing for 54. Rehan then forced Pakistan keeper Mohammad Rizwan to come forward to a delivery that turned just enough to catch the outside edge, with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes taking a sharp chance behind to remove him for seven.
Rehan then removed Saud Shakeel, who was out for 53 after mistiming a sweep shot off a googly to a backward square leg. He then dismissed Pakistan debutant pacer Mohammad Wasim, who was caught at mid-off, before Agha Salman was caught at short fine-leg to give Rehan an unforgettable five-wicket haul.
His father Naeem Ahmed was watching the teenaged leggie achieve a monumental feat from the grandstand, clapping cheerfully and then wiping off tears of joy as the ecstatic Rehan held the ball aloft with the crowd also applauding him.
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Veteran England pacer Stuart Broad appreciated Rehan’s show in Karachi during the innings break on Sky Sports Cricket. “He looks like he bowls wicket-taking deliveries, which is a great sign and what you want from leggies in your team."
“He’s come into the side and the environment — the culture of the England side and the mentality — at the perfect time, because no one is going to be talking about economy rates or boundaries. They’ll just be talking about wickets. He looks like he’s going to be a natural wicket-taker."
“The best thing about it is that it was a game-changing five-fer. The game was slowly moving towards Pakistan while Babar was going on or at least in the balance. He has turned the game completely in England’s favour. It won’t be easy but this total should be got."
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