England face uphill struggle as Cook falls cheaply against Pakistan

London (AFP) –


Alastair Cook was dismissed for just one as Pakistan remained in charge of the first Test against England at Lord's on Saturday.

England were 37 for two in their second innings at lunch on the third day -- still needing a further 142 runs to make Pakistan bat again.

Joe Root, the England captain, was 22 not out and Dawid Malan nought not out on his Middlesex home ground.

Cook, making a record-equalling 153rd consecutive Test appearance, had top-scored with 70 in England's meagre first-innings 184.

But on Saturday the left-handed opener had managed just a single when impressive paceman Mohammad Abbas nipped one back into his pads and had Cook, England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, lbw.

So clear was the decision that Cook did not bother with a review, his exit leaving England one for one.

Mark Stoneman and Root then played and missed at several full-length deliveries from Abbas and Mohammad Amir.

Root cut all-rounder Faheem Ashraf for four but this was a rare example of a Pakistan bowler pitching too short and wide.

It was teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan who struck next, however, when a ball that turned towards Stoneman kept low and hit the off-stump to bowl the left-handed opener for nine.

England were 31 for two, and now it was not inconceivable they might lose inside three days.

Earlier, Pakistan were dismissed for 363 -- a first-innings lead of 179.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had spoken after stumps on Friday of ideally looking for a lead of 200 runs.

But that was before he knew Babar Azam, who top-scored in the innings with 68, had been ruled out of the second and final Test at Headingley next week.

Babar had to retire hurt on Friday after being struck just above the left wrist while facing Ben Stokes and did not bat on Saturday.

Pakistan, 350 for eight overnight, saw Amir go on to make 24 not out -- with a lofted on-drive off Stuart Broad worthy of a top-order batsman one of the tailender's four boundaries.

The innings ended when Abbas was caught behind off a short-pitched delivery from fast bowler Mark Wood.

Stokes, who deployed the short ball to useful effect, led England's attack with three for 73 in 22 overs.