England believe they can pull off a stunning comeback to defeat Pakistan in the first Test at Lord’s, according to batsman Jos Buttler.
England were facing an innings defeat before Buttler and Dom Bess both hit fifties to give them a lead of 56 with four second-innings wickets in hand.
“The atmosphere in the ground and in the dressing room was really good at the end of the day,” said Buttler.
“It’s not going to be easy to chase a target if we set a challenging total.”
England had been outplayed for the first eight sessions of the match.
They were bowled out for 184 in the first innings and, after Pakistan made 363, the home side found themselves 110-6, still 59 behind, on the third afternoon.
But Buttler, recalled for his first Test since 2016, and debutant Bess shared an unbroken stand of 125 to take the hosts to 235-6.
“Partnerships are crucial and we managed a good one out there,” said Buttler, who ended the day unbeaten on 66. “We need to make it as big as we can.
“It’s a hard wicket to start on, but if you can get through it gets easier. Dom and I managed to do that, which allowed us to push on.”
Bess, aged only 20, was chosen primarily for his off-spin after Somerset team-mate Jack Leach suffered a broken thumb.
He made a maiden first-class hundred for the MCC against county champions Essex in March and moved to 55 not out at Lord’s on Saturday.
Lancashire’s Buttler said: “I haven’t seen him bat much but I’ve heard a lot about him from the guys at Somerset.
“It was a bit like watching Joe Root when he played his back-foot punches and cover drives.”
Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq said his side would not want to chase a target in excess of 150, while Buttler said England would prefer to set something in the region of 200.
However, former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that Pakistan remain firm favourites.
“If England get out of this with anything it will be a miracle,” Vaughan told Test Match Special. “It needs Buttler to play a 1981 Botham-esque innings.
“It’s going to be very difficult to survive for England to survive against the second new ball, but at least Buttler and Bess have fought and given everyone a glimmer of [hope on] Sunday.”