By Michael Stafford-Jones
- Pakistan beat England by 75 runs to take 1-0 series lead
- Yasir Shah takes 10 wickets and Misbah-ul-Haq makes first-innings century
- Chris Woakes records match figures of 11-102 in defeat
LORDS, ENGLAND – Yasir Shah spins Pakistan to 75-run victory over England.
Yasir Shah led the charge with match figures of 10-141 as Pakistan outplayed England to win by 75 runs in the First Test at Lords.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq set up the win with a superb 114 which guided Pakistan to a first-innings total of 339. Chris Woakes bowled brilliantly to take 6-70.
Shah then took 6-72 to restrict England to just 272 in their first innings. And forties from Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed guided Pakistan to 215 in their second innings to set the hosts 283 to win.
The target proved too much, as Rahat Ali ripped through the top order and Shah and Mohammad Amir did the rest after resistance from Woakes, Johnny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and James Vince.
England will wonder how different the match might have been if James Anderson had been fit enough to play. He is a genuine world-class performer and may have taken the early wickets that debutant Jake Ball, who took over new ball duties, was unable to take despite bowling well.
The hosts restricted Pakistan to 134-4 in Anderson’s absence, but then Misbah compiled a crucial partnership of 148 with Asad Shafiq, who made 73, to give the tourists the momentum.
England started their reply well, as Alastair Cook and Joe Root racked up a hundred partnership at quicker than five runs per over to power the hosts to 118-1.
But Root got out to a poor shot against Shah and the innings fell apart from there, as the hosts slipped to 193-6. Woakes made an unbeaten 35 as the lower order raised the total to 272, but that never looked like enough runs.
Led by Woakes, who took 5-32 to up his match tally to 11, England produced a disciplined bowling and fielding performance to skittle Pakistan out for 215 in their second innings.
Chasing 283 always seemed a tricky task, and it became much harder when Rahat Ali dismissed Cook, Root and Alex Hales to leave England in trouble at 47-3.
For a while, it looked as if Vince and Ballance might lead England to victory as they guided the side safely through to lunch. But Vince got out to a loose shot shortly after the break and the hosts were staring down the barrel of defeat at 139-6 when Ballance was bowled by a sharply-spinning delivery from Shah and Moeen Ali missed with a kamikaze swish against the same opponent.
Bairstow and Woakes refused to give in and battled hard during a gruelling 56-run partnership that last 31.4 overs. But the Yorkshireman’s brave rear-guard of 48 from 147 balls came to an end when he lost concentration and missed a straight ball from Shah.
And it was all over just five overs later, as Shah removed Woakes and Amir, back on the scene of his infamous spot-fixing offences, bowled both Broad and Ball to finish the match.
Reflecting on the reasons for defeat, Cook told BBC: “That 75-run margin (of victory) is the first innings. We left a few out there when the pitch was best to bat on. We paid the price for that.”
Head Coach Trevor Bayliss thought England’s problems started earlier than that, and told Sky Sports: “I was very disappointed with how we started. I think our fielding was ordinary (in the first innings) and set the tone for the rest of the match.”
Buoyed by the probable return of Anderson and Ben Stokes, England will expect to play much better in the Second Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Friday.
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