|First Test, Lord’s day two:|
|Pakistan 339 all out: Misbah 114, Shafiq 73, Woakes 6-70|
|England 253-7: Cook 81, Root 48, Yasir 5-64|
England’s fragile middle order suffered another collapse as Pakistan’s bowlers tore into the hosts on the second day of the first Test.
After Pakistan were bowled out for 339, adding only 57 to their overnight total, the hosts appeared to be cruising at 118-1 midway through the afternoon.
But leg-spinner Yasir Shah once again exposed England’s weakness against the turning ball as he took four key wickets in a 15-over spell either side of tea.
And with Mohammad Amir, returning to Test cricket after his spot-fixing ban, dismissing Alastair Cook for 81, England closed on 253-7 – still 86 runs in arrears.
It could have been worse had Pakistan’s fielding matched the skill of Yasir and Amir, with Cook dropped twice behind the wicket and the out-fielding seldom more impressive.
Yet no English batsman appeared capable of dealing with the tests set by Yasir, despite the Lord’s track offering far less assistance than they can expect from subcontinental wickets in India this winter.
- How day two unfolded – highlights & analysis
- ‘Had we been at Headingley on a beery Saturday, or Edgbaston, it may have been very different’
England’s batting flaws exposed again
After Alex Hales had fallen early, caught at second slip pushing at one angled across him from left-armer Rahat Ali, Cook and Joe Root put on 110 for the second wicket, the runs coming at pace.
It was Root’s unnecessary dismissal for 48 that triggered the deluge – the Yorkshire right-hander swiping across the line at Yasir and top-edging into Mohammad Hafeez’s hands at midwicket.
James Vince was then trapped lbw for 16 by the same bowler before Gary Ballance, somewhat surprisingly recalled to the Test team after a year in the wilderness, was hit in front for just six to leave England 147-4.
Cook appeared to be cruising, becoming the first England captain to score 4,000 Test runs, only to aim a big drive at a wide one from Amir and play on.
And while Jonny Bairstow hit a rapid 29, he paid for his aggression when Yasir’s faster top-spinner ripped through his defences.
Moeen Ali fell lbw when the leg-spinner returned for his next spell, the five-wicket haul celebrated with an impassioned roar at the north London skies.
Woakes takes Test best
England had earlier wrapped up Pakistan’s first innings at pace, taking their last four wickets in the first half-hour of the day.
Once again it was Chris Woakes who made the breakthrough, having the attacking Sarfraz Ahmed caught by Vince at point for 25 off 29 balls as he cut loosely at a short one.
It gave Woakes his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, and two balls later he had six when he cleaned up Wahab Riaz with a beauty of an inswinger.
Amir inside-edged his first ball past his leg stump for four and then took a glancing blow on the helmet from Stuart Broad.
But it was overnight centurion Misbah-ul-Haq who went next, Broad bowling him when he had added just four to his overnight 110.
It appeared to have given England critical momentum in a series expected to be far tighter than the one-sided contests against Sri Lanka earlier. Then came Yasir, and an all-too-familiar malaise.
Test Match Special’s Geoffrey Boycott: “Joe Root came in at three and played like the class batsman he is – the feet were going beautifully and he was playing lovely length balls nicely. It all looked easy.
“Just when it all looked hunky dory, when the leg-spinner came on, Joe has a slog. He had a mental aberration. He couldn’t believe himself. I always say when Root gets out you add two wickets to the score.”
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja: “Yasir has deceived them with a bit of variety. It’s the inability to read spin.
“The fact is he’s been in marvellous form for the last 18 months, but it is an important performance for him.
“Normally you associate Yasir with UAE conditions – he had never played a Test outside of Asia before – so he had to convince everyone that he could perform in conditions that weren’t normal for him.”
England bowler Chris Woakes: “We’d like to get close to their total. Ideally, we can get past them in the first half hour if me and Broady are still there.
“This evening it was a different situation. On Saturday we have to come out and be positive. Hopefully we can move up quickly towards that score.”
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