With their attacking approach, England took four wickets in the final session and reduced Pakistan to 499 for 7 at the end of day three of the first Test to keep their faint hopes of victory alive, here on Saturday.
On a flat surface, the visitors were made to toil in the field throughout the afternoon with little reward as Babar Azam led Pakistan’s resistance with a glorious hundred. The hosts were trailing by 158 runs at stumps on Day 3 with Agha Salman (10) and Zahid Mahmood (1) unbeaten at the crease.
Babar’s calm and composed innings of 136 came to an end before tea when he cut Will Jacks straight to the point and departed. It was the first sign of any spin in the track, and gave life to the rest of the England bowling attack, as Pakistan lost four wickets for just 88 in the final session.
Jacks finished the day as the most prolific of the England bowlers, with 3-132 from 32 overs. Naseem Shah was the final wicket to fall in the day, hitting to deep midwicket, but Jack Leach had a lot of ground to make up before taking a good catch.
Before Jacks’ late two wickets, Mohammad Rizwan drove the ball straight to Ben Stokes at short midwicket to give James Anderson his first-ever wicket in Pakistan. In the first over after tea, Ollie Robinson caught the edge of Saud Shakeel’s bat on the way through to the wicketkeeper, which had set the tone for the rest of the session.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan were almost in complete control for most of the time, with Babar becoming the seventh player to score a century in the match, and successfully building on the hosts’ overnight total of 181/0.
Stokes remained without one of his bowling options during the day, after Liam Livingstone remained unable to take the field with a right-knee issue that saw him replaced by substitute Keaton Jennings on Friday.
England had made inroads before lunch, with the spinners taking three wickets, after both openers — Abdullah Shafique (114) and Imam-ul-Haq (121) — brought up their centuries, with the Test becoming the first in history where both opening stands have been over 200, and all four departed having scored tons.
Jacks had only been brought into the side on the morning of the match when Ben Foakes was unwell with a viral infection that swept through the touring party, but in the absence of Livingstone had to step up as a bowler and proved a useful option for Stokes.
Brief scores: England 657 lead Pakistan 499/7 in 136 overs (Babar Azam 138, Imam-ul-Haq 121, Abdullah Shafique 114; Will Jacks 3-132) by 158 runs.