MANCHESTER: England declared their second innings at 173 for 1 early during the fourth day of the Old Trafford Test, leaving Pakistan needing a massive 565 to win.
Captain Alastair Cook stayed not out at 76 off 78, after deciding not to enforce the follow-on yesterday – a decision that drew criticism from various circles against the backdrop of rainy Manchester weather.
Joe Root, who in the first innings scored his Test-best 254, was not out at 71 off 48.
At stumps on Sunday, England, looking to level the four-Test series at 1-1, were 98 for one in their second innings.
Shortly before the close, which took place in bright sunshine, England lost Alex Hales (24) when the opener was caught behind off Mohammad Amir.
Pakistan were dismissed for just 198 in reply to England’s 589 for eight declared — a huge deficit of 391 runs.
Yet Cook, on a day where four rain interruptions caused caused 27 overs to be lost, decided to bat again.
That reduced the time England had to bowl Pakistan out again, although there were, in fairness, still more than two days remaining in the match.
Pakistan’s first innings saw England pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes take four for 67, while Root held four catches at second slip.
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, top-scored for his side with 52 and shared a ninth-wicket stand of 60 with Wahab Riaz, who made a Test-best 39.
Pakistan, who resumed on 57 for four, saw their first-innings collapse continue in Sunday’s morning session as they lost a further four wickets for 62 runs.
But with Cook opting against using experienced paceman James Anderson and Stuart Broad after lunch, Pakistan added 79 runs in the second session.
Pakistan started Sunday’s play with opener Shan Masood 30 not out and Misbah one not out.
Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, marked his return to Test cricket on his Lancashire home ground, after missing Pakistan’s series-opening 75-run win at Lord’s last week with a shoulder injury, by taking the first wicket to fall on Sunday.
Left-handed opener Masood, who had held firm for more than two hours, exited in familiar fashion on 39 when he edged Anderson to Root.
Pakistan were now 71 for five, their total at the rain break.
Shortly after play resumed, Asad Shafiq (four) drove loosely at a Broad slower ball and lobbed a catch to Hales at point.
Sarfraz Ahmed may have come in at 76 for six but the wicket-keeper stuck to his attacking game and got off the mark when he cut Broad over Hales’s head for four.
Woakes, who took 11 wickets in defeat at Lord’s, saw his first over Sunday cost 11 runs as Sarfraz hit two well-struck boundaries.
But when Sarfraz (26) played defensively at Ben Stokes, he succeeded only in giving Root another easy slip catch.
Misbah, who made a fine hundred at Lord’s, completed a 108-ball fifty before, sweeping at off-spinner Moeen Ali, he was caught at short fine leg by Cook.
Wahab hoisted Ali for six. But going for another big hit off the spinner, he holed out to end a 61-ball innings also featuring five fours.
But left-arm quick Wahab was hit on the forearm by Woakes when batting and did not bowl later Sunday.