LONDON: Pakistan’s Rahat Ali removed England’s top three batsmen as the first Test at Lord’s hurtled towards an exciting climax on Sunday’s fourth day.
At lunch, England were 90 for three in their second innings, needing a further 193 runs to reach their victory target of 283.
James Vince was a Test-best 41 not out and the recalled Gary Ballance 15 not out after Rahat had taken three wickets for 36 runs in eight overs.
England captain Alastair Cook launched the chase with a four off the very first ball of the innings when he cut a loose Mohammad Amir delivery to the boundary.
All the pre-match focus had been on Amir, making his return to Test cricket after six years out at the scene of his 2010 spot-fixing crime.
But it was fellow left-arm quick Rahat who stunned England.
His back-off-a-length ball had left-hander Cook (eight) edging through to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
Cook’s opening partner Alex Hales made a brisk 16 before carelessly chasing a wide ball from Rahat outside off stump, with Mohammad Hafeez holding a good catch at first slip.
Rahat had taken two for eight in 13 balls and England were 32 for two.
Joe Root, England’s new number three, got off the mark with a back-foot cover drive for four off Rahat and also drove him through the same region, off the front foot, for another boundary.
But with a man set back for the shot, the star batsman fell into a hooking trap when he paddled s short ball from Rahat to Yasir Shah at deep square leg.
Root was out for nine and England were 47 for three.
Vince too had gotten off the mark with a cover-driven four off Rahat.
Yet to play a major Test innings, Vince was almost out on nine when his edged drive off Rahat flew to Younis Khan at second slip.
Younis dropped the low one-handed chance and just failed to cling on to the rebound.
Vince struck three fours in as many balls off Wahab Riaz, the third of Pakistan’s three left-arm quicks.
And the Hampshire batsman made it five fours in six balls faced when an edge over point and more authoritative cut off leg-spinner Shah, England’s first-innings tormentor, took him to 39.
That saw Vince in his fourth match at this level, surpass his previous Test-best of 35 against Sri Lanka a Chester-le-Street in May.
Earlier, Pakistan added just one run to their overnight 214 for eight as Stuart Broad had both Shah, out for a Test-best 30 and Amir caught behind.
Pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes led England off the field after taking five for 32 for a match haul of 11 for 112.
England now needed to surpass their record fourth innings-winning chase in a Lord’s Test of 282 for three against New Zealand in 2004 if they were to go 1-0 up in this four-match series.
Only the West Indies, with 344 for one in 1984, had ever made more in the fourth innings to win a Test at Lord’s. –AFP