England v Pakistan: Dom Bess & Jos Buttler help hosts take first-innings lead

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Pint-sized TMS: England build first-innings lead of 128 after second day
Second Test, Headingley (day two)
Pakistan 174 (48.1 overs): Shadab 56, Broad 3-38, Anderson 3-43
England 302-7 (95 overs): Bess 49, Cook 46, Root 45, Faheem 2-43
England lead by 128 runs

England tightened their grip on the second Test against Pakistan on a rain-shortened second day at Headingley.

The home side pushed their first innings along to 302-7 – a lead of 128 – after persistent drizzle prevented any play until 14:45 BST and reduced the day to 59 overs.

Nightwatchman Dom Bess made 49, captain Joe Root 45 and Jos Buttler ended unbeaten on 34.

England v Pakistan: Dom Bess & Jos Buttler help hosts take first-innings lead
England v Pakistan: Dom Bess & Jos Buttler help hosts take first-innings lead

Buttler benefitted from being dropped on four by Pakistan’s Hasan Ali.

When the action did get under way under high clouds, Pakistan did not enjoy the same swing that England employed to dismiss the tourists for 174 on Friday.

England could perhaps have been in an even stronger position had one of their top order kicked on. All passed 20, but none reached 50.

Still, with such a healthy lead, England are set to end their run of eight Tests without a win and level the two-match series at 1-1.

England push on

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Root edges Amir to Sarfraz to fall for 45

England were bowled out for 184 and 242 in being defeated by nine wickets in the first Test and have shown a collective batting improvement in Leeds.

From 106-2 overnight, Bess and Root added 32 runs in the first half an hour before the skipper edged Mohammad Amir behind.

Dawid Malan, who drove nicely in his solid 28, was unfortunate Amir found extra bounce to take the edge.

After Bess fell, Buttler and Jonny Bairstow seemed intent to push on only for the Yorkshireman, who overturned being given out lbw on eight, to poke at Faheem Ashraf to depart for 21.

By that point, the fluent Buttler had burst the hands of Hasan at mid-wicket off the leg-spin of Shadab Khan.

When Bairstow went, Buttler had to face the second new ball with only the lower-order for company.

Chris Woakes resisted for 17 until he edged a beauty from Mohammad Abbas, leaving debutant Sam Curran to confidently survive the final seven overs.

Bess impresses with the bat again

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Bess out for 49 as England build lead

Bess was chosen for his off-spin, but so far in his two-Test career he has impressed most with the bat.

Following a half-century on debut at Lord’s, he was employed as nightwatchman in Leeds and, after surviving on Friday night, looked as comfortable as any of his team-mates on Saturday.

The 20-year-old played handsome drives through the off side off the front and back foot and energetically looked for singles, occasionally diving for his ground.

Bess was on the verge of a second 50 in as many matches when he guided Shadab to slip.

In proving his value with the bat and showing liveliness in the field, Bess has given the selectors a dilemma, assuming Somerset team-mate Jack Leach recovers from a broken thumb in time for the first Test against India in August.

He is so far without a wicket, having not been given many opportunities with the ball, so will be looking to further demonstrate his credentials in the Pakistan second innings.

Pakistan leave it late

Pakistan were exemplary in their win at Lord’s but, after being loose with the bat on day one, were below their best with the ball and in the field for much of Saturday.

The exception was Amir, who bowled beautifully from the Football Stand End. The delivery he produced to remove Malan spat off the surface to give the batsman little chance of avoiding offering an edge.

In contrast, fellow pacer Hasan was wayward, and his simple drop off Buttler has already been costly.

Still, the tourists improved when they took the second new ball late in the day, finding some extravagant seam movement.

The wicket of Woakes, to a delivery that Abbas got to dart away from the right-hander, gave Pakistan hope of running through the England tail.

As it is, they have no option but to take the remaining three wickets early on Sunday morning, then post a big second-innings total.

Sam Curran and Jos Buttler walk off at the close
Michael Vaughan said of Sam Curran, left: “He can bat, he’s got a confident aura about him, his body language was that of someone who has played 50 Tests. I hope I’m not putting him under pressure but I see a top six England Test match batsman straight away.”

Buttler drop decisive – what they said

Ex-England batsman Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special: “That drop of Buttler was key. If Hasan Ali had taken that, Pakistan could be looking at a deficit of just 80 or 90. Now they’ll be 150 behind at least and this could be over tomorrow.

“England will be bowling for victory, with their tails up. James Anderson and Stuart Broad will bowl the same length they bowled on day one and it will nip around.”

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England v Pakistan: Michael Vaughan questions Stuart Broad’s timing

ECB lead batting coach Graham Thorpe: “We’re pleased with the lead. The game isn’t in the bag, but we have shown some fight, character and application over the past couple of days, which has been pleasing.

“Naturally, players will get hurt if you put in a bad performance, but you also have to dust yourself down. You can’t feel sorry for yourself for too long. There are worse things going on in the world, but you are paid to do a job and you have to accept that.

“We’re pleased with what’s gone on over the last couple of days and we have to push home the advantage.”

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