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Cook dropped twice as England reach 153-4 at tea

Cook dropped twice as England reach 153-4 at tea

After being rattled out inside the first hour at Lord’s, Pakistan needed to take their chances with the ball in order for their first-innings 339 to assume more daunting proportions. They proceeded to drop Alastair Cook twice, with his unbeaten 75 anchoring the England reply, but three wickets during the afternoon session for Yasir Shah kept Pakistan in the hunt.

Chris Woakes’ maiden five-wicket haul in Tests had helped finish off Pakistan with only 57 added to their overnight score before the stage was transported back to 2010, as Mohammad Amir prepared to bowl to Cook once again. Amir had previously removed Cook three times in five Tests and he should have added to that tally here but for glaring errors by Mohammad Hafeez, at first slip, and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Cook put on 110 with Joe Root for the second wicket but Yasir struck for his first Test wickets outside of Asia to check England’s advance. Root, in his first innings replacing Nick Compton at No. 3, looked at something like his dynamic best before trying slightly too hard to force the pace and top-edging a slog-sweep off Yasir straight up in the air to be taken at midwicket.

That gave Pakistan a look at England’s reshaped middle-order, with James Vince moving up to No. 4 above the recalled Gary Ballance. Vince briefly shimmered on an otherwise dull, cloudy afternoon, before playing back to be lbw to Yasir – DRS confirming it would have clipped leg stump – for a fifth innings without a significant score at Test level. Ballance clipped one four but was then beaten by a gently turning legbreak, pushing down the wrong line, to leave England 153 for 4 at tea.

Amir’s first delivery in Test cricket after a five-year ban for his involvement in spot-fixing on this ground was met by a few pseudo-witty cries of “no-ball” from the crowd and it was unceremoniously tucked away into the covers for a single by Cook. Amir struggled with his line and length, leaking 33 runs from six overs before lunch, but ought to have removed the England captain when he had made 22, slanting the ball in to take the edge just as he did as a teenager, only for Hafeez to make a mess of a straightforward low catch.

Rahat Ali was more accurate with the new ball and he picked up Alex Hales in his first over, angling a delivery across to have him taken at third slip. Cook took advantage of too many deliveries on his pads to pick up seven boundaries – including another edge through the cordon off Amir – and score at more than a run a ball, as he and Root ticked up a fifty stand before lunch.

There was further anguish for Amir when he began his second spell during the afternoon, his first delivery luring Cook into a drive as the ball left him, only for the ball to hit Sarfraz on the wrist as he dived to his left.

In the morning session, a burst of three wickets in eight balls, including the dismissal of Misbah-ul-Haq for 114, had helped England wrap up Pakistan’s innings. Woakes collected two of them to finish with 6 for 70 and join Misbah in having his name added to the honours board. Having been 282 for 4 shortly before the close on Thursday, Pakistan would have been disappointed to make only 339.

Misbah, fresh from becoming the oldest captain to score a Test hundred, began the second day with designs on seeing his side up towards 400 and a secure position from which his bowlers could mount an attack. He could only add four runs to his overnight score, however, before Stuart Broad brought a delivery back to burst between bat and pad and rattle the stumps.

That dismissal meant Pakistan had gone from 310 for 7 to 316 for 9, with Woakes removing Ahmed and Wahab Riaz in the preceding over. Sarfraz had looked in dangerous mood, frequently stepping down the pitch to cut and drive on his way to 25 from 29 deliveries but he gifted his wicket when slapping a short, wide delivery to backward point to give Woakes his maiden five-for.

Two deliveries later, Wahab was following Sarfraz back to the pavilion, as Woakes followed up an excellent outswinger with one of the fastest balls of the match, full and ducking in past a flimsy defence to remove off stump from the ground.

As the crowd applauded Woakes’ achievements, Amir walked out for his first involvement in a Test since the corresponding Lord’s Test in 2010. This was not the main event, of course, but he helped add 23 runs for the final wicket with Yasir Shah in an eventful cameo: his first ball was inside-edged for four over his stumps, the second, also from Broad, went flying off the back of his helmet. There were a couple more genuine boundary strokes before Amir steered Broad to second slip to complete a good morning’s work for England.

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