Manchester: England was reduced to 92-4 at stumps as Pakistan’s attack followed up a career-best innings by Shan Masood to seize the initiative on day two of the first test at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Masood reached 156 after almost eight hours at the crease to lift the tourists to 326, and the bowlers then tore through England’s top order.
Openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley were taken care of inside four overs as Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas dovetailed perfectly with the new ball. The latter then cleaned up Ben Stokes for a duck and Joe Root was undone by Yasir Shah’s leg-spin.
Ollie Pope gave England a bit of hope by making 46 not out before the close and will continue his fightback on the third morning.
Masood faced 319 deliveries as he made his third test hundred in a row.
Pakistan lost three cheap wickets and scored only 48 runs in the morning session, but Masood and Shadab Khan were transformed after the lunch break.
They scored 27 runs in the first five overs after lunch, then England took the second new ball. But the Pakistan pair, especially Khan, was too confident to be confined again.
They were positive and rotated the strike, and the runs flowed as Pakistan added 125 runs in the middle session and reached 312-8 at tea.
Masood brought up his hundred from 251 balls, leaping with joy as his teammates packed the players’ balcony.
A wild hack from Shadab against Dom Bess ended a 105-run stand, opening the door for Broad and Archer to take two apiece as Pakistan’s last four fell for 35. Masood clubbed a pair of sixes before he was ninth man down, lbw to Stuart Broad.
The first century by a Pakistan opener in England in 24 years took 251 balls, with 13 fours.
Pakistan’s attack put England on the back foot right away, as Shaheen needed just four deliveries to open his account on English soil, racing through the crease from over the wicket and straightening one to Burns as he looked to work the ball off his pads.
Shaheen was only one part of the equation, though, as Abbas found a seaming delivery that was pinned Sibley in front for eight.
That brought Stokes to the arena and Abbas conjured something fitting of his illustrious opponent. Batting outside his crease and advancing, Stokes was foxed on the outside edge and paid with his off stump, bowled for a duck and briefly stunned at his own fate.
That left England in terrible trouble at 12-3. Root and Pope shut out the noise to put on 50 together, but Yasir snared Root’s outside edge for 14, an ambitious cut safely pouched by Rizwan.
Pope was playing a different game to his colleagues, finding six boundaries as he settled well to the task, and his side needs plenty more of the same to reclaim their footing.