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Pakistan pounce as England’s top-order exposed again

May 25, 2018 12:00 AM
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Pakistan pounce as England’s top-order exposed again

LONDON: Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali took four wickets apiece as England suffered yet another top-order collapse at Lord’s on Thursday.

England’s hopes that a return home and a rejigged top-order picked by new national selector Ed Smith would help rid them of the batting slumps that plagued them during a run of seven straight Tests without a victory in Australia and New Zealand quickly proved illusory as they were dismissed for just 184.

Abbas finished with excellent figures of four for 23 in 14 overs. Hasan took four for 51 in 15.2 overs.Pakistan then consolidated the good work of their bowlers by reaching stumps having lost just Imam-ul-Haq to be 50 for one — a deficit of 134 runs.

Azhar Ali was 18 not out and Haris Sohail, missed in the slips when Ben Stokes dived across Dawid Malan, unbeaten on 21.Alastair Cook was the only England batsman to play an innings of substance, the left-handed opener making 70.

But shortly before tea, Cook was bowled by Mohammad Amir. The left-arm quick produced a brilliant delivery that cut away late off the pitch to clip the top of the off stump.England, who had been 165 for five at tea, lost their last five wickets for a meagre 16 runs in 27 balls.

Joe Root, the England captain, opted to bat first. But Pakistan were soon in the wickets with Cook looking on as the other three members of England’s top four all fell in single figures. Abbas made the breakthrough when he bowled Mark Stoneman (four) with a late swinging delivery.

Root, promoted up the order to number three, also fell for four when he drove at a wide ball from Hasan and edged behind to opposing captain Sarfraz Ahmed.Dawid Malan (six) also fell to the combination of Hasan and wicket-keeper Sarfraz.

England were then 43 for three.Cook benefitted from an ‘umpire’s call’ lbw review verdict on 23 and went to fifty with a four to third man off Amir.

But Jonny Bairstow, promoted up the order to number five, was bowled by Faheem Ashraf for 27.Ben Stokes, who had hoisted Shadab for six, was lbw on review to Abbas for 38.

And it was not long before England’s 168 for six became 168 for seven. Pakistan’s close-catching has often been a fallible part of their game.But the work of team fielding coach Steve Rixon was rewarded when Asad Shafiq held a difficult catch at second slip edge after Jos Buttler, recalled as a specialist number seven, edged a drive off Hasan and fell for 14.The innings ended when Amir held a well-judged catch running back at mid-on to dismiss Mark Wood.

Umpires: Rod Tucker and Paul Reiffel (Australia). TV Umpire: Bruce Oxenford (Australia).

Also read: Bilawal says Imran Khan should realise Pakistan can’t be run like a 'Khanate'


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