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England v Pakistan – story of the first day of the second Test

It was a rare recent occurrence for England’s openers to put on 50 together.

England answered the rallying call from captain Joe Root as they dominated day one of the must-win second NatWest Test against Pakistan.

After Sarfraz Ahmed chose to bat under initially sunny skies at Headingley, England’s three senior seamers shared nine wickets in humid conditions and Pakistan struggled to 174 all out against the swinging ball.

By stumps, despite the late departure of Alastair Cook, the hosts were 106 for two on a good batting surface as they seek to square this series at 1-1 and avoid a seventh defeat in their last nine Tests.

Stat of the day

16 – Cook and Keaton Jennings put on 53 for the first wicket, the joint-best start England have made since last summer. But there has still been no century opening stand since the Chennai Test against India – 16 matches, and 18 months, ago.

Broad is back….again

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Stuart Broad duly took the most important wickets (Martin Rickett/PA)

Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and James Anderson all did the necessary in conditions they simply had to exploit. It was the former who was perhaps most under the microscope, and who duly took the most important wickets. After his blip at Lord’s last week, and subsequent suggestions from former England captain Michael Vaughan that he should perhaps be dropped, Broad was resuming a narrative which points to much-needed improvement – in New Zealand and then for Nottinghamshire – since his poor showing at last winter’s Ashes.

Tweet of the day

Stokes may be missing for a while

England were able to overcome the absence of key all-rounder Ben Stokes, whose hamstring tear provided an opportunity to hand teenager Sam Curran a debut two days before his 20th birthday. An update on Stokes’ likely availability is expected soon, but the outcome of scans are not promising for a prompt return. England may well need a replacement for their forthcoming one-day internationals against Scotland and Australia.

What next?

England ought to be able to consolidate on their very handy start here – although a mixed weather forecast for Saturday may make batting hard work again at times.

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