MANCHESTER: Yasir Shah took three wickets after lunch as Pakistan dismissed England for 219 to tighten their control of the first Test on the third day at Old Trafford on Friday.
The wily leg-spinner ripped through England’s middle and lower order with a burst of three wickets for four runs in 27 balls on his way to figures of 4-66 in 18 overs.
England, who had been 159-5 at lunch in their first innings, lost their last five wickets after the break for 60 runs.
At tea, Pakistan were 20-1 in their second innings, an overall lead of 127.
Shan Masood — who batted nearly eight hours for a Test-best 156 in the first innings — was out for a duck when caught behind down the leg side trying to glance a poor ball from Stuart Broad.
James Anderson should have removed Abid Ali for seven but the opener was dropped by second slip Ben Stokes, coming across Joe Root at first slip when the ball appeared to be heading towards the England captain.
Abid rubbed salt into England’s wounds with some well-struck boundaries to be 15 not out at tea.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, out for a duck in the first innings, was still sweating on a ‘pair’ having failed to get off the mark from 18 balls faced.
England resumed play on 92-4, which represented an improvement on their dire position of 12-3 on Thursday.
Ollie Pope was 46 not out and wicket-keeper Jos Buttler on 15.
Buttler, with just one hundred from his previous 44 Tests, was under pressure to score runs after costly mistakes behind the stumps.
He dropped Shan on 45 and then missed a chance to stump him on the same score — errors that intensified a debate about whether the World Cup-winner should remain England’s red-ball gloveman.
Pope completed a composed 81-ball fifty, including six fours, which followed the 22-year-old’s 91 against the West Indies in last month’s third Test at Old Trafford.
But there was little he could do when, on 62, an 87mph Naseem Shah delivery climbed late off a good length to take the shoulder of his bat, with Shadab Khan holding a good low catch at gully.
It was a wicket greeted with plenty of cheers by the fielders and reserve players watching from their hotel balconies in a series being played behind closed because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
England reached lunch five down but, at an increasingly sun-drenched Old Trafford, Yasir was soon in the wickets. He bowled Buttler between bat and pad for 38 as the batsman, playing for turn, was beaten by a straight delivery.
Yasir then took the shoulder of Dom Bess’s bat with a ball that turned and bounced, with the diving Asad Shafiq taking a good slip catch before Chris Woakes was bowled by a quicker delivery.
Broad, fresh from his 62 in the third Test against the West Indies, hit Yasir for a six before he was dropped next ball on the boundary by Shadab. He finished on 29 not out, with leg-spinner Shadab wrapping up the innings.
England’s decision to play an extra seamer with all-rounder Stokes struggling with a quad injury meant Woakes came in at number seven when they really could have done with a specialist batsman, while enabling Pakistan enjoy a decisive advantage with that three-figure lead.
PAKISTAN (1st Innings) 326 (Shan Masood 156, Babar Azam 69, Shadab Khan 45; S.C.J. Broad 3-54, J.C. Archer 3-59).
ENGLAND (1st Innings, overnight 92-4):
R.J. Burns lbw b Shaheen 4
D.P. Sibley lbw b Abbas 8
J.E. Root c Rizwan b Yasir 14
B.A. Stokes b Abbas 0
O.J. Pope c Shadab b Naseem 62
J.C. Buttler b Yasir 38
C.R. Woakes b Yasir 19
D.M. Bess c Asad b Yasir 1
J.C. Archer c Rizwan b Shadab 16
S.C.J. Broad not out 29
J.M. Anderson lbw b Shadab 7
EXTRAS (B-8, LB-4, W-1, NB-8) 21
TOTAL (all out, 70.3 overs) 219
FALL OF WKTS: 1-4, 2-12, 3-12, 4-62, 5-127, 6-159, 7-161, 8-170, 9-197.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi
18-4-51-1 (4nb, 1w); Mohammad Abbas 15-6-33-2 (3nb); Naseem Shah 16-4-44-1; Yasir Shah 18-2-66-4; Shadab Khan
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings):
Shan Masood c Buttler b Broad 0
Abid Ali not out 15
Azhar Ali not out 0
EXTRAS (B-4, NB-1) 5
TOTAL (for one wkt, 9 overs) 20
FALL OF WKT: 1-6
BOWLING (to-date): Anderson 5-2-14-0; Broad 4-3-2-1 (1nb).
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020