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Woakes backing England to find a touch of quality

By Matt Gatward

Chris Woakes admitted England were guilty of throwing wickets away on the second day of the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s as his side find themselves in a sticky situation.

Woakes was the England hero of day two, adding two wickets in the morning to finish with six for 70 and digging in at the end to make an unbeaten 31 as the hosts ended the day on 253-7, still 86 behind Pakistan.

England had been plodding along nicely at 118-1 but Joe Root’s heave at leg-spinner Yasir Shah, which sent the ball high but not long, put the skids under the home side, who will have their work cut out to surpass Pakistan’s first innings of 339.

Shah took five wickets — the first leg-spinner to do so at Lord’s for 20 years.

“We are a little bit disappointed with a couple of dismissals,” Woakes said. “(Alastair) Cook and Root got us in a good position but Root won’t be happy with the way he was out. We feel we gave them one or two wickets but Yasir bowled very well too.

“If Root had hit it for four or six we’d have been clapping on the balcony. We are encouraged to take our options — unfortunately it has not gone his way. Occasionally you’re going to get out to them.”

Woakes did not feel the Lord’s wicket could share some of the blame either.

“It is a pretty good pitch,” he said. “There are no demons. Shah got a couple to turn and a couple went straight on. But we are an honest group and we have to go back to the drawing board.

“We are still in a decent position. We are not out of it. We just had a tricky spell in the middle order. Me and (fellow not out overnight batsman) Stuart Broad have a bit of a job on. We need to get up to their score or past it. If we can get a lead the pressure is on. Then we need to bowl well, put the ball in the right areas.”

On a personal note, Woakes was overjoyed to get his name on the Lord’s board for his five-for.

“I didn’t envisage getting it with a long hop, caught at point,” he said of his fifth wicket, taken by James Vince. “But I am delighted. It was nice to hold the ball up. My dad and my brother were here so it is special.

“It’s been a nice summer so far. I’m in good form. I did well against Sri Lanka and I’ve done really well here. But it’s important that I continue this form from now on.”

Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir knows all about second chances — but he would much rather his team-mates hadn’t offered Cook one (and a third) during the second day of the first Test at Lord’s.

The captain was the mainstay of the innings with 81. Had he gone earlier, as he would have done if the Pakistani fielders hadn’t been doing their England impression, the hosts would possibly be flat on their backs.

It would have been a different tale had Mohammad Hafeez or wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed gobbled up easy catches off the bowling of the returning Amir, playing his first Test since his readmission to the game following his ban for spot-fixing.

Amir’s return to the scene of his well-documented crime in 2010 was greeted with gentle applause and the odd boo but he was quickly into his stride.

In his fourth over he tempted Cook, on 22, to nibble at a delivery and the captain nicked it only for Hafeez to grass the most straightforward of chances.

Later in the day, with Cook on 55, Amir returned to the attack, this time from the Nursery End, and the captain pushed at his first delivery only to get a thick edge through to the keeper. Sarfraz lost it and it slapped into his wrists and up into his face.

Luckily for Pakistan, their little leg-spinner Shah was working his magic and picked up his five wickets to keep the match in the balance — he got Root before James Vince and Gary Ballance, both for single figure scores, followed. Jonny Bairstow and Mo Ali fell after tea.

Cook also fell after tea when Amir finally got his man. The captain drove away from his body and a thick edge clattered into his stumps.

Alex Hales had fallen early, caught at second slip pushing at one angled across him from left-armer Rahat Ali.

Meanwhile, Waringstown and Instonians have broken free at the top of the Ulster Bank Premier League after winning last night’s rescheduled games.

The champions made it five wins out of five with a 38-run victory over North Down at Comber and Instonians stay four points behind after their game at Shaw’s Bridge against Carrickfergus was cut short by rain, with the home side on 68 for three in the 10th over, chasing Carrick’s 108, but DLS gave them a 20-run victory.

And the weather has already played havoc with today’s games. The Challenge Cup semi-final between CIYMS and Carrickfergus was called off yesterday along with the Section One game at Downpatrick.

It’s even worse in the North West with all three scheduled games in the Long’s SuperValu Premiership today called off and last night’s action was also wiped out.

But Drummond had done enough on the first two nights in their game against Bready to claim their first points of the season. With 27 overs gone in the second innings, they were seven runs ahead on DLS.

At The Green: Waringstown 175-7 (J Hall 78, L Nelson 25, A Dennison 20, A Shields 4-41); North Down 137-4 (P Malan 51, A Shields 39 not out, P Davison 23 not out, K McCallan 2-17, G Kidd 2-31. Waringstown won by 38 runs.

At Shaw’s Bridge, Carrickfergus 108-8 (P Botha 38, A Haggan 25; R McKinley 3-24, N Smith 2-12, R Theron 2-20) Instonians 68-3 (9.3 overs, J Shannon 44). Instonians won by 20 runs DLS.

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