England retain command of Old Trafford Test


Pakistan face a major battle to avoid defeat in the second Test at Old Trafford after England secured a huge first-innings lead and then forged further ahead on a truncated third day.

Having resumed in a perilous position on 57-4, in reply to a total of 589-8 declared, Pakistan were dismissed for just 198 on Sunday - Misbah-ul-Haq and Wahab Riaz the only men to offer any real resistance with respective innings of 52 and 39.

England opted against enforcing the follow-on and stretched their advantage to a mighty 489 by reaching 98 for one, either side of three interruptions for showers during a gloomy evening in Manchester.

A declaration early on Monday now appears inevitable as England, for whom skipper Alastair Cook and Joe Root are unbeaten on 49 and 23 respectively, seek to square the four-match series following defeat in the opening Test at Lord's.

It did not take long for Cook's men to make further inroads on the third morning, Shan Masood (39) edging James Anderson to second slip, where Root - the scorer of 254 in England's first innings - held on.

Following a brief rain delay, Asad Shafiq (4) drove loosely at a slower ball from Stuart Broad and found Alex Hales at backward point, leaving Pakistan 76-6.

A brief counter-attack followed from Sarfraz Ahmed (26), but both the wicketkeeper-batsman and Yasir Shah (1) soon provided Root with further catches off Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes respectively - the latter earning his fourth wicket of the innings.

Misbah was struck on the grille by a Woakes short ball three deliveries prior to Yasir's dismissal, but Pakistan's skipper was unhurt and able to share a stand of 60 with Wahab after lunch.

Moeen Ali ultimately wrapped up the innings, Misbah top-edging a sweep to opposite number Cook at short fine-leg before Wahab holed out to deep midwicket.

Despite holding a mammoth lead, the hosts opted to bat again and runs flowed predictably freely.

England were frustrated by three further breaks for rain prior to Mohammad Amir having Hales caught behind for 24, but Pakistan's prospects appear bleak with a clear forecast for days four and five.