Sohail prevails as England flounder in Edgbaston Test


Birmingham—Fast bowler Sohail Khan got his breakthrough with four early wickets on the first day of the third Test against England at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Sohail, recalled to the Pakistan side to replace Wahab Riaz for the third Test, left England’s top and middle order looking shaky.
The 32-year-old pacer had England opener Alex Hales caught behind at 17.
Sohail then sent newcomer Joe Root back to the pavilion at just 3, when the Old Trafford double-century scorer got a thick outside edge to Hafeez’s hands.
Rahat Ali had Captain Alastair Cook trapped for lbw at 45, before England reached lunch at 100 for 3.
Early in the afternoon session, Sohail struck again as James Vince edged to second slip at 39 and Jonny Bairstow was caught behind at 12, leaving England at 158 for 5.
Earlier, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq elected to field against England after winning the toss.
No side has won batting first at Edgbaston since the famous 2005 Ashes Test (and only then by two runs), after Ricky Ponting stuck England in, but it was still something of a surprise that Misbah did not take the chance to bat given one of his trump cards is the legspin of Yasir Shah in what remained a four-man attack.
The early overs were not entirely promising as Cook and Hales skipped out of the blocks, but after the opening half an hour Pakistan’s bowlers tightened their lines and the rewards came. Sohail found Hales’ outside edge having beaten him the ball before, continuing Hales’ lean series which now reads 73 runs in five innings.
If Pakistan were pleased by that success, they were positively ecstatic a short while later when Root, who made 325 runs over two innings at Old Trafford, edged to first slip as he tried to force Sohail off the back foot. He was safely held by Mohammad Hafeez – who is playing his 50th Test – which is not something that can always be said.
Cook looked in good order, except for when he almost inside-edged into his stumps against Rahat, timing the ball sweetly off front and back foot as he moved along at close to a run-a-ball. However, Rahat then got one to nip back and strike Cook in front of off stump; the captain’s use of DRS was more in hope that expectation.
Given that Vince and Ballance are playing to secure their places, they counter-punched impressively either side of lunch as Pakistan’s bowlers offered up a liberal supply of loose deliveries between the threatening ones.
Pakistan made two changes to the side. 20-year-old Sami Aslam replaced opening batsman Shan Masood while Sohail Khan is in for Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan won the first Test at Lord’s by 75 runs, only to be crushed by England’s 330-run win in the second Test at Old Trafford.
The four-match Test series sits at 1-1.—AFP

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