England began their Test summer with a sorry nine-wicket defeat early on day four against Pakistan after failing to sustain the previous evening’s brief fightback at Lord’s.
Jos Buttler (67) and Dom Bess (57) could add only a combined three runs to the spirit demonstrated in their stand of 126 – and on the resumption, fanciful hopes of an improbable victory faded fast as England lost their last four wickets for seven in 25 balls to be bowled out for 242.
As Mohammad Amir (four for 36) and Mohammad Abbas (four for 41) shared the spoils, and Pakistan were set only 64 for victory, Joe Root’s team extended their winter woes on to home territory – losing their sixth Test in eight attempts since the end of last summer.
Fantastic performance Pakistan ... As good as it gets in English conditions ... #Lords— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) May 27, 2018
One – When the Buttler-Bess stand managed to add just a single on the resumption, hopes of a telling comeback victory were instantly on the retreat.
England are in a rut at present, but the seventh-wicket partnership hinted at the potential which lies within. There were shades of Headingley 1981 while debutant Bess and Buttler were at work – and although ultimately they merely delayed the inevitable rather than achieved the historic, the optimists may perhaps just glean promise of improvement on the horizon for this summer.
England were simply not competitive in this Test match. They ‘won’ a solitary session and lost most of them badly. Much better is needed quickly – starting on Root’s home patch in Leeds at the end of the week if his team are to avoid series defeat. No pressure, Joe …!
Headingley on Friday. England’s slide to defeat here has given them an extra day to recover their composure in time for the second and final Test.