England’s pace battery set up a winning position when they restricted Pakistan to just 174 on the first day of the second Test at Headingley.
The batsmen then responded sensibly, grinding their way to 106-2 at the close.
It was, in comparison to Pakistan’s reckless effort, a perfectly weighted display of patience which featured a fifty opening partnership between Alastair Cook and the recalled Keaton Jennings.
Jennings had the unusual experience of being told to move back to his crease. Having been tormented by the full-length nibble of Vernon Philander last summer, Jennings tried to counter Mohammad Abbas by taking his stance several feet outside of his crease.
But this took him into the bowler’s so-called ‘danger zone’ and the umpires reminded him of the recently amended Law 41, pertaining to unfair play, which states: ‘The striker shall not adopt a stance in the protected area or so close to it that frequent encroachment is inevitable’.
Jennings fell at 29, but Cook moved on to 46 in a stand of 51 with Joe Root (29) until he was caught behind off Hasan Ali just 10 minutes before the close.
Pakistan will surely rue the decision to bat first, as did England in the first Test at Lord’s in ideal swing-bowling conditions. They forgot the old adage of ‘look up, not down’, when assessing the state of the pitch, especially at Headingley.
But in truth, they had themselves to blame for woeful discipline, starting with their opener Imam-ul-Haq who, having successfully challenged an lbw decision two balls before, took a mighty swipe at a Stuart Broad delivery angling away to be taken at third slip in the second over of the day. It set the tone for the top- and middle-order batsmen.
It was only the inability of the England bowlers to find the right length that kept Pakistan alive, but when they were shown the way by Chris Woakes, it was carnage. They were 68-4 at lunch after 26 overs, and 79-7 just after, with three wickets falling for one run.
The 19-year-old Shadab Khan once again came to the rescue, leading a rearguard fightback to haul Pakistan to a final score of 174.
Shadab’s 48-ball half-century was his third vital contribution in as many Tests, following two match-defining fifties at Malahide and Lord’s. He found key support from, first, Mohammad Amir and then Hasan Ali, as England’s bowling discipline slipped.
Nonetheless, there were three wickets apiece for Jimmy Anderson, Broad and Woakes and a maiden wicket for Sam Curran – brother of Cape Town-born Tom and son of Kevin Curran, formerly of Zimbabwe, Boland, Gloucestershire, Natal and Northamptonshire (where Sam was born).