England head for heavy loss at Lord’s in first Test

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England collapsed in bright sunshine at a hushed Lord’s on Saturday as Pakistan closed in on a famous victory in the first test inside three days.

Trailing by 179 runs on first innings, Joe Root made a battling 68 before England slumped to 111 for six at tea, 68 behind the touring side and facing a humiliating first loss in a May test at the home of cricket.

Alastair Cook, who top-scored with 70 on Thursday, was trapped lbw by Mohammad Abbas for one and Mark Stoneman, under severe pressure for his place, made a scratchy nine before he was bowled by leg-spinner Shadab Khan with a ball that kept low and England limped to lunch at 37 for two.

Root batted patiently, content to defend and take advantage of the rare loose balls served up by a disciplined Pakistan attack.

He reached his 50 before Mohammad Amir took centre stage with two wickets in one over.

Pakistan’s left-arm seamer found the edge of Dawid Malan’s bat to dismiss him for 12 and two balls later Amir produced a brilliant inswinging delivery to bowl Jonny Bairstow and leave England in trouble at 91 for four.

Ben Stokes clipped his first ball through square leg for four and followed up with another crisp boundary but, on nine, he tried to clip Shadab through the leg-side and was well caught by the substitute fielder at short mid-wicket.

The packed crowd was stunned as Jos Buttler walked out to the middle and Root was next to go, snared lbw by Abbas and failing to get the decision overturned on review.

It was the 10th time in a row that Root has failed to convert a test fifty into a century and his dismissal ended England’s realistic hopes of winning the match.

Buttler survived to the interval on two not out with 20-year-old Dom Bess, making his debut, on nought, and England face a tough task even to take the match into a fourth day.