Cricket: Yasir Shah’s five-for spells takes Pakistan on top against England

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London, July 15th 2016: Yasir Shah became the first leg-spinner in 20 years to register a five-for at Lord’s Cricket Ground and in the process restricted hosts England to 253 for 7 at stumps on Day 2 of the first Test match, on Friday (July 15). Shah finished the day with figures of 5 for 64 to dent England’s progress in the second half and help the visitors stay 86 runs ahead at stumps.

In reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 339, England got off to a shaky start as Rahat Ali sent back opener Alex Hales in the second over. Alastair Cook (81) and Joe Root (48) then launched a counter-attack and put on a brisk 110-run stand for the second wicket to keep Pakistan bowlers at bay.

Wayward bowling and some shoddy fielding meant the comeback man Mohammad Amir was twice denied the wicket of the English captain. Mohammad Hafeez grassed a low chance in slips when Cook was on 22 before Sarfraz grassed one behind the stumps shortly after he raised his second fastest Test half-century, off just 60 deliveries.

Cook, on 59, also went past Sunil Gavaskar’s tally of 9607 to become Test cricket’s highest run-getter as an opener. In his last spell before tea, however, Shah broke the flourishing stand, with the wicket of England’s No. 3 batsman.

Shortly after the drinks break in the second session, Root went for an uncharacteristic slog-sweep. Hafeez, who quickly ran to mid-wicket as the ball ballooned up off a top-edge, completed the catch. Shah triggered a batting collapse that saw the home team losing three of their middle-order batsman for just 29 runs. He sent back James Vince (16) and Gary Ballance (6) in successive overs, before the teams headed in for the tea break.

Third attempt proved to be the charm for Amir, as he got his maiden wicket on Test return when Cook dragged an inside edge onto his stumps, 19 short of what would have been his 29th Test hundred. England had barely erased off another 20 from their deficit before Yasir struck again, this time cleaning up Jonny Bairstow for 29.

Shah’s celebrations on completing the five-for were slightly delayed as Moeen Ali decided to review the leg before decision. Even through the impact area seemed outside the line of the stumps, third umpire Rod Tucker upheld on-field umpire Joel Wilson’s call and ruled it in the favour of the visitors. With that, Shah also became the third Pakistan bowler, after Khan Mohammad (1954) and Waqar Younis (1992), to claim a five-for on Lord’s debut.

Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad added 21 runs for the eighth wicket to prevent any further damage as fading light threatened an early end to day’s play. Woakes finished unbeaten on 31 as England closed the day 86 behind Pakistan’s total, with three wickets intact.

Earlier in the day, Woakes and Broad ran through Pakistan’s lower-order to restrict them to 339 in under an hour on second day’s morning session. The visitors crumbled from the outset and could add only 57 to their overnight total of 282 for 6. Woakes got the hosts an early breakthrough as he sent back Sarfraz Ahmed for 25 to register his maiden five-wicket haul and dismissed Wahab Riaz for second-ball a duck in the same over.

Broad picked up the remaining two wickets, including the prized scalp of centurion Misbah-ul-Haq who could add only four runs to his overnight score of 110.

Brief scores: Pakistan 339 (Misbah-ul-Haq 114, Asad Shafiq 73; Chris Woakes 6-70, Stuart Broad 3-71) lead England 253 for 7 (Alastair Cook 81, Joe Root 48; Yasir Shah 5-64) by 86 runs.

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