Pakistan win first Test at Lord's

July 18, 2016

England's hopes of holding all nine bilateral Test trophies they compete for suffered a huge blow after Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the Test series with a 75-run win at Lord's. 

Set 283 to win after dismissing the tourists for 215 in their second innings on the fourth morning, England were bowled out for 207 as legspinner Yasir Shah picked up four wickets to finish with ten in the match. Yasir now has 86 wickets from just 13 Tests and has jumped to the top of the ICC Test bowling rankings.

Reaching the target would have represented the second highest run-chase in a Lord's Test and the highest for England, but it was just one run more than the 282 they made for the loss of just three wickets against New Zealand in 2004. The difference between now and then was the consistency in batting, with the current side falling short with the bat and playing some poor shots, both in the second innings and in the first, where England were bowled out for 272 to concede an important first-innings lead of 67.

Acknowledging this failing, skipper Alastair Cook told Sky Sports: "We left a few runs out there [in the first innings] when the pitch was best to bat on. We paid the price for that. We were always slightly behind.

"I thought we were okay on the first day, and then on the second day to allow Yasir to take six wickets when the ball wasn't turning - he bowled beautifully - but that hurt us.

"There's a bitter taste in the dressing room right now. Some of the shots [in the second innings were risky] but we’ll never tell people how to play, it is up to the individuals to change."

Cook was the only England batsman in the match to pass 50 when he made 81 in the first innings, with a succession of scores in the 40s proving crucial to the outcome of the match. Joe Root made 48 in the first innings before holing out with a wild slog-sweep and was left berating himself again after hooking Rahat Ali to square leg for nine in the second innings. The final day also saw James Vince make 42, Gary Ballance 43 and Jonny Bairstow 48 as nobody was able to play the decisive innings to take the side over the line. 

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the final Test at the Kia Oval may be watching closely to see how England respond, and despite the batsmen being under fire it is the bowling where changes are most likely. James Anderson and all-rounder Ben Stokes are both expected to return for the second Test at Old Trafford, which starts this Friday. Debutant Jake Ball, who took just one wicket, and Steven Finn - who took none despite an impressive but luckless spell on Saturday afternoon - are likely to make way.  By contrast with their struggles, Chris Woakes had an outstanding game, taking 5-32 in the second innings after picking up 6-70 in the first. 

Pakistan celebrated victory in style by mimicking captain Misbah-ul-Haq's century celebration at the end, saluting and then doing a series of press-ups. It was an outstanding win for them, but it remains to be seen if their batsmen can cope with the much faster and bouncier pitch in Manchester.
By Sam Coates

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