England vs Pakistan Day One: Visitors edge opening day of England's 500th home Test

Recalled Sohail Khan tore through England with five wickets after bursts of top quality bowling.

England vs Pakistan Day One: Visitors edge opening day of England's 500th home Test
Sohail Khan celebrates his maiden Test five-wicket haul (image via: AFP)

Pakistan will go back to their hotel the happier side, as an early spell of excellent line and length bowling caused England to struggle to 297 all-out on the first day of play at Edgbaston.

Root and Cook removed before lunch as new Pakistan tactics are effective

After Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and put England into bat, openers Alistair Cook and Alex Hales made a steady if not explosive start on their way to 36. Yet Hales has struggled with the bat in the series so far and his technique was brought into question oncemore when he found himself trapped in the crease with little footwork, as the incoming Sohail Khan tempted the edge to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps. Hales fell for just 17, bringing together the pairing of Joe Root and Cook, who Pakistan had "made plans for".

Just twelve runs and as many minutes later, those tactics paid dividends as Khan delivered a beauty to second Test hero Root. Another good length ball forced the world's number two batsman to edge a backfoot punch straight to Mohammad Hafeez at first-slip to fall for only three.

Khan celebrate sore venting Root reaching another mammoth total (photo : Reuters)
Khan celebrates preventing Root reaching another mammoth total (photo : Reuters)

The under pressure James Vince joined his captain at the crease, with Cook looking menacing at the other end. An array of well-timed drives took him to the verge of yet another half century, before more high quality seam bowling caught the England batsman out. Rahat Ali beat the Essex opener for pace, trapping him leg before wicket as Cook departed for 45. Vince and Gary Ballance batted England through to lunch but it had been the visitor's morning as consistent length bowling and aggressive field settings left the hosts 100-3.

Ballance closes in on 50 but England lose two more wickets

With both batsmen under pressure after a lacklustre first half of the series and considering the position England found themselves in after the morning session, it was no surprise to see both of them nudge and nurdle their way into the game. After Ballance survived a close LBW appeal from Rahat, the pair began to find the boundary regularly taking their partnership to 50 off 74 balls.

After a loose first over of his spell, the introduction of Yasir Shah slowed the pace down but it was to be Sohail who caused the damage once more. After struggling with his run up for a spell, the seamer struck back when he caught the edge of Vince, nudging the ball to the safe hands of Younus Khan at second slip. The number four batsman fell for 39 just when England threatened to take advantage of the solid partnership which was starting to flow. 

The in-form Jonny Bairstow came to the crease and looked busy and positive, a move that was to soon backfire on him. After reaching 12, the wicketkeeper-batsman looked to cut a shorter delivery from Sohail over the slip cordon, only to edge the ball straight to Sarfraz behind the stumps as a lack of concentration took over.

Ballance offered some resistance in the afternoon session (photo : Reuters)
Ballance offered some resistance in the afternoon session (photo : Reuters)

One beacon of light for England was Ballance who was building a very mature innings. After struggles this series and last summer in the whites of his nation, the Yorkshire batsman looked a lot more comfortable playing straight with the forward defensive and on-drive. The number five batsman ended the session on 49 off 108 balls as England went into tea at 184-5.

Ballance and Ali dig in but Pakistan continue to strike as Sohail takes five

Ballance faced five more balls after tea before reaching his eighth Test half century, after over two and a half hours at the wicket. Yorkshire's star then set about playing out the rest of the day with Moeen Ali as they looked to gradually work England back into the contest. The duo added England's second 50 partnership from 142 balls after a composed and patient spell at the crease. 

Moeen flirted with his wicket on 30 as he almost inside edged onto the stumps when trying to leave another tempting Sohail delivery. Eventually the partnership was broken when Ballance swiped at a Yasir Shah ball outside leg stump and clipped it into Sarfraz' gloves. A terrific innings of 70 came to an end after 150 balls.

Chris Woakes looked to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor with a patient innings as he left alone or defended all but two deliveries that he lashed through the covers for four. Yet, as had been the case earlier in the day, more efficient line and length seam bowling did for England's batsmen, as Woakes edged a Rahat delivery through to Sarfraz for his fourth catch of the day.

Amir strikes with the new ball (photo : Getty Images)
Amir strikes with the new ball (photo : Getty Images)

Moeen survived a joint caught and LBW appeal on 44, before reaching his half century off 99 balls in a rare conservative innings by the all-rounder.

Pakistan were on the peripheral and when Mohammad Amir picked up the new ball in the 81st over he was quick to work his magic. On the first delivery with the new leather Stuart Broad slashed it straight to Azhar Ali at third slip, before Moeen Ali departed in Amir's next over for a well composed 63 as he was caught behind to give Sarfraz his fifth grab of the innings. 

Steven Finn and James Anderson managed a handful of fours before Sohail trapped the latter LBW to pick up his fifth wicket of the innings and dismiss England for 297. In true Pakistan fashion he celebrated with the Misbah press-ups. The question now is can the visitors take advantage on day two at Edgbaston?