Test Match Day 3: England strengthen their grip after Woakes four-wicket burst
England took a firm grip on this 2nd Investec Test Match by bowling Pakistan out for 198 on the third day, with Chris Woakes taking four wickets, to give themselves a great chance of squaring this four match series.
With two days left to play Alastair Cook’s side are well placed to achieve that aim with England in their second innings on 98-1 and leading by 489 runs at the close of a third day that had four interruptions due to rain.
Resuming on 57-4 this morning, Shan Masood and Misbah-ul-Haq looked to have steadied the Pakistan innings during the early exchanges before James Anderson struck, finding the edge of Masood’s bat with Joe Root taking a regulation catch at second slip 25 minutes into the day.
The Pakistan opener had made 39 by then and had been the one steadying factor in the tourists poor start but his dismissal added significantly to Pakistan’s woes with the score on 71-5.
There was one spectacular delivery during the morning when Broad, bowling from the Statham End, dug one in only for the ball to leap and then swing to be taken by a slightly startled Alastair Cook at first slip.
Rain took the players from the field for an hour at that point but England were soon celebrating another success when play resumed, Asad Shafiq driving loosely outside off against Broad to slice an easy catch to Alex Hales at backward point to make the scoreboard read 75-6.
It was a poor shot in the circumstances with captain Misbah showing much more application, going scoreless for 27 deliveries after the break, before finally cutting Anderson for his first four from the 47th ball of his innings.
By contrast Sarfraz Ahmed hit his first boundary from his third delivery, a risky affair off Broad that only just cleared Hales at point. His square drive off the returning Woakes was much more authentic and the wicketkeeper produced an enterprising approach in making 26 off 18 balls before a defensive push off Stokes went to Root at second slip, 112-7.
Yasir Shah, who had the unfortunate experience of conceding 213 runs from his marathon 54 over effort in England’s innings, lasted for 11 balls scoring 1 before giving Root his fourth catch and Woakes his fourth wicket of the innings in the last over before lunch, with Pakistan a sorry looking 119-8 at the break.
Woakes came close on several occassions to adding to his haul, but the Warwickshire all-rounder can still be delighted with his contribution to the game thus far.
Misbah was joined by Wahab Riaz in the afternoon, and the pair batted positively in an entertaining partnership of 60 from 15 overs.
Misbah reverse swept Moeen Ali’s first ball for four and the skipper reached his fifty from 107 balls while Wahab thumped the off spinner for six over mid-wicket.
Moeen had the final say taking the remaining two wickets when Misbah swept him to Cook at short fine leg having made 52, and Wahab holed out to Hales in the deep for 39 as Pakistan were 198 all out.
England did not enforce the follow-on, deciding instead to add to their 391 run lead but rain frustrated their ambitions, halting play three times with a total of 27 overs lost, forcing Cook and Hales to bat with increasing urgency during the late evening session.
Their opening partnership had produced 68 runs from 15.5 overs until Hales feathered an inside edge off Amir to wicketkeeper Sarfraz for 24.
Cook and Root combined to swiftly add to that with Cook 49 not out and Root 23 not out at the close, with England on 98-1 and ahead by 489 runs.
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Photo © Simon Pendrigh