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England fight their way back as Pakistan let chances slip

By David Clough

Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali came to England's rescue on day one of the fourth Investec Test against Pakistan at The Oval.

England were in trouble on 110 for five, after Alastair Cook won the toss under heavy cloud cover and on a green pitch.

But Bairstow (55no) and Moeen (52no) adapted to the circumstances, putting on an unbroken 90 in a teatime 200 for five.

Wahab Riaz (three for 59) in particular had made short work of the hosts in a fast and fiery spell either side of lunch.

But then England's sixth-wicket pair cashed in on Pakistan mistakes, Bairstow caught at point on 13 off a Wahab no-ball and Moeen dropped twice.

England's earlier troubles began with the departure of Alex Hales, followed by that of Cook; then after Joe Root went to Wahab, the second of three wickets for the addition of only five runs, James Vince fell to a brute of a delivery from the left-armer.

Hales whipped a full ball from Mohammad Amir to midwicket, where Yasir Shah lunged forward to claim the low catch.

England recovered their composure in a second-wicket stand of 46 until Cook under-edged a pull at Sohail Khan down on to his stumps.

Root's anger was then directed entirely at himself when he followed a short one from Wahab and edged behind.

Wahab was behind the line when he had Gary Ballance edging low to Azhar Ali at third slip, and he then greeted Moeen by hitting him on the helmet with a bouncer first ball.

Amir was bowling well too from the pavilion end, but his reward would not come, as Azhar put down a straightforward slip chance, with Moeen on nine.

Bairstow survived another close call, DRS confirming he was not out lbw to more Amir swing, and Azhar failed to hold a second half-chance to shift Moeen - a sharp one at short-leg from the full face of the bat off Yasir Shah.

The profits for England were Bairstow's third half-century in his last four Test innings, and a third in succession for Moeen on the stroke of tea.

Belfast Telegraph


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