England in command after Root epic


Joe Root progressed to a career-best 254 and Chris Woakes' excellent form continued as England seized total control of the second Test with Pakistan on Saturday.

Having resumed on 314-4 following opening-day hundreds from Alastair Cook and Root, England continued to make the tourists toil on a flat pitch before declaring on 589-8, their number three having batted for more than 10 hours.

Pakistan - 1-0 up in the four-Test series - then slumped to 57-4 in reply, Woakes adding three scalps to the 11 he claimed in a losing cause at Lord's last week.

Typically strong square of the wicket, Root offered a tough chance to Younis Khan at slip off Yasir Shah during the morning session, but was otherwise largely untroubled as he extended a masterful innings featuring 27 fours. Only Australia's Bob Simpson (311) and England's Ken Barrington (256) have scored more in an Old Trafford Test, during the same match 52 years ago.

There were also handy innings from Woakes and Jonny Bairstow, who each made 58 and shared in century stands.

Things soon got worse for Pakistan as Woakes (3-18) had Mohammad Hafeez (18) held at second slip by Root in his first over with the ball before taking a return catch to dismiss Azhar Ali (1).

Younis was then caught down the leg side off Ben Stokes for one and Woakes also accounted for nightwatchman Rahat Ali (4) to round off an excellent evening for Cook's side.

Woakes, England's nightwatchman 24 hours earlier, started the second day in fine style, collecting a host of boundaries - including an uppercut six off Mohammad Amir - in a partnership of 103 with Root.

By the time the all-rounder was caught and bowled by Yasir, Root - whose let-off came on 155 - had begun to show more attacking intent, epitomised by a handful of reverse sweeps.

It was that stroke that brought up Root's double-century, as a Yasir delivery was drilled to the third-man fence, prompting a standing ovation.

Pakistan claimed a sixth wicket when Stokes (34) was adjudged to have gloved Wahab Riaz (3-106) down the leg side following lengthy deliberations from third umpire Joel Wilson.

Yet England remained in complete command and there was frustration for Yasir, who finished with miserable figures of 1-213 from 54 overs, as wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed spilled a routine chance to reprieve Bairstow on nine.

England accelerated rapidly after tea to hasten a declaration and Root's mammoth innings finally came to an end when he aimed a heave across the line at Wahab and was well caught by Hafeez, running in from the deep.

Cook called his men in when Bairstow fell in similar fashion and the home bowlers made full use of the 24 overs that remained.