|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||Mohammad Aamer, Yasir Shah, SCJ Broad, AN Cook|
|Event:||Pakistan in England and Ireland 2016|
By Andy Jalil at Lord's
Pakistan bowlers have England struggling in first Test
England are having to battle hard in the first Test as they trail Pakistan on the first innings by 86 runs on 253 for seven. With the exception of Alastair Cook, who scored a valuable 81, no batsman was able to play a substantial innings although Joe Root managed 48. Leg spinner Yasir Shah was the pick of Pakistan bowlers finishing the day with five for 64, becoming the first leg spin bowler to claim five wickets at Lords in twenty years.
The tourists were quick to strike in the England innings which began a little under an hour before lunch with Rahat Ali, in his first over having Alex Hales held at third slip. It was an excellent ball which came into the batsman and yet took the outside edge as Hales played completely out of line. But thereafter Cook, who was dropped by Mohammad Hafeez in the slips on 22, off Mohammad Amir and Joe Root took control.
They scored briskly with the England 50 coming in 45 balls and lunch was taken on 64 for one. Cook went on to bring up his 49th Test half century off just 60 balls and 40 of those runs had come from fours. They brought up the England hundred scoring at the rate of under a run-a-minute. Pakistan had the opportunity of breaking the stand when Cook edged Amir but Sarfraz Ahmed, behind the stumps dropped the catch having got both hands to the ball as he dived to his let. It was a routine catch for a wicket-keeper and Amir was again the unfortunate bowler.
The second wicket stand of 110 was finally broken on 118 when Root, just two short of his 50, attempted a sweep at a ball slightly outside off stump and top edged to mid-wicket where Hafeez, this time, managed to keep his hands together. Yasir struck again 21 runs later trapping James Vince lbw for 16, the batsman asked for a review of the decision but the ball appeared to be hitting leg stump.
England were looking good on 118 for one before the picture changed to 139 for three within half-an-hour. It got worse for England in Yasirs next over when Gary Ballance, recalled to the Test side, was beaten by the spin as he played forward for the ball to go between bat and pad. But the major blow was struck by Amir when Cook, on 81 from 124 balls, dragged a ball on to his stumps from well outside off stump half-an-hour after tea which had been taken on 153 for four.
The combined pace and spin attack of Pakistan was proving to be very effective as Yasir then removed Jonny Bairstow twenty runs later to reduce England to 193 for six. Bairstow, on 29, was expecting a leg spin and as he attempted a hit to leg, the ball went straight on to his stumps. Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes who is having a splendid match with an all-round performance added 39 for the seventh wicket before Yasir claimed his fifth wicket of the innings with an lbw decision against Moeen who fell for 23 scored patiently over an hour and a quarter.
Earlier, resuming on the overnight score of 282 for six, with Misbah-ul-Haq on 110, Pakistan had the potential to build a total large enough to put England under pressure. But the first hour of play went Englands way with Chris Woakes adding two of the remaining wickets to the four he had on the previous day and Stuart Broad claiming the other two. In the 12.2 overs that were bowled during that period, the tourists added 57 before the innings was wound up.
Sarfraz Ahmed scored a fairly quick 25 form 29 balls before cutting Woakes straight into the hands of backward point and two balls later an in-swinger from Woakes flicked Wahab Riazs pad to bowl him with the total 310 for eight. With Misbah, after adding just four to his overnight score, beaten by pace from Broad, there was little else to come from the Pakistan innings. But the last wicket added 23 useful runs before Broad finished with three for 71 and Woakes had best Test career figures of six for 70 and a place on the Lords honours board.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 Andy Jalil)