London: Rahat Ali’s triple strike put Pakistan in firm control of the first Test match against England at the end of the morning session of Day 4 of the Lord’s Test on Sunday.
Set to chase 283 for a victory, after Stuart Broad cleaned up the Pakistan tail for the addition of just a solitary run in the morning, England lost their top-three for under 50 runs. James Vince started cautiously, and was dropped on 9, but switched gears soon after to help the home team reach 89 for 3 when the teams headed into the first break of the day.
Alastair Cook kicked off the chase with an elegant boundary off Mohammad Amir but Rahat got rid of the English skipper with the first ball of his second over. A visibly disappointed Cook marched off after feathering an edge to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed on 8.
Exactly four overs later, Rahat sent back the other English opener to reduce the home team to 32 for 2. Alex Hales, on 16, attempted to cut a delivery only to nick it to Mohammad Hafeez in first slip.
Joe Root, too, kicked off with a beautifully timed drive through the covers but his stay in the middle lasted only 11 deliveries as Rahat picked up his third scalp in the opening spell. The bowler trapped Root into attempting a pull and had Yasir Shah stationed at deep square leg, who completed a neat catch running to his right.
With England down to 47 for 3, Vince switched gears to pick up some quick runs and keep Pakistani bowlers at bay. Vince got a life when batting on nine as Younis Khan at second slip failed to pouch a low chance despite twin attempts. The 25-year-old batsman picked up pace and hit Wahab Riaz for three consecutive boundaries and followed it up with two more off Yasir in the next over to go past his previous best individual score of 35.
After getting out cheaply in the first innings of his comeback game, Gary Ballance started cautiously and stayed unbeaten on 14 at the lunch break with Vince (41*) for company.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan lose both their remaining wickets to Stuart Broad off successive deliveries to fold for 215.Brief scores: Pakistan 339 and 215 lead England 272 and 89 for 3 (James Vince 41 not out, Rahat Ali 3-36) by 194 runs.