Pakistan turn the screw to frustrate England at Lord's
Pakistan’s batsmen battled hard on the second day at Lord's to put their side in complete control of the first Test against England.
Having bowled out their opponents for 184 inside three sessions on Thursday, the tourists responded by reaching 350-8 in their first innings, giving them a commanding 166-run lead by the close of play.
While no player reached three figures, it was a real group effort from Pakistan. Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Shadab Khan all made half-centuries, with each contribution crucially pushing their side further into the ascendency in the series opener.
England, in contrast, endured a frustrating Friday at the London venue, despite conditions being good for bowling.
James Anderson and Ben Stokes both claimed three wickets apiece, but a plethora of missed chances in the field dented their hopes of launching a fightback after such a disappointing beginning to their home campaign the previous day.
They had hoped to strike early and often in the morning under cloudy skies, yet instead picked up just the two wickets prior to lunch.
Haris Sohail was caught behind off the bowling of Mark Wood for 39, while Azhar’s determined knock came to an end on exactly 50 when an Anderson delivery coming back up the slope trapped him lbw in front.
Yet Shafiq and Azam combined in a fourth-wicket stand worth 84 that carried Pakistan beyond England’s meagre total.
Stokes eventually ended the partnership, getting Shafiq (59) to fend a short ball to Dawid Malan in the slips, and also dismissed visiting captain Sarfraz Ahmed, whose desire to go after a bouncer only resulted in Wood getting a spot of catching practice at fine leg.
Babar reached 68 before he was forced to retire hurt following a blow to the arm, with his departure potentially opening the door for England to work their way through the tail and be back at the crease before stumps.
Instead, Shadab (52) and Faheem Ashraf – who made 37 - added 72 to extend the advantage beyond three figures. While both fell late on, along with Hasan Ali, Pakistan are now firmly in the driving seat with so much time left in the contest.