England’s bowlers set up a thrilling finish to the first Test against Pakistan, digging deep to drag the tourists back from a dominant position at Emirates Old Trafford.
The tourists leveraged an imposing first-innings lead of 107 when they bowled England out for 219 on the 3rd afternoon, before losing regular wickets of their own as they failed to bat their opponents out of the game.
At stumps, they were 244 ahead on 137 for 8, still strongly poised but suddenly vulnerable to a 4th-innings chase.
That was largely down to in-form seamers Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, who shared 4 cheap wickets, but there was also a vital double strike from Ben Stokes.
Not deemed fit enough to play a full role with the ball due to a nagging quad injury, the all-rounder stepped up late in the day to add the sheen to a strong fightback.
England began the day on 92 for 4, with Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler looking to repeat the rescue job they had started the previous evening.
Pope quickly turned his 46 not out into a half-century, but the first hour was little more than a trial for the batsmen.
Buttler edged the 3rd ball of Naseem’s spell just short of second slip, but after that, it was a list of plays and misses as the bowlers weaved away tirelessly.
In some way, the duo reached drinks intact and, when both hit the cover boundary after the break, there was an idea of better things to come.
Instead, Naseem simply upped his game again to see off Pope for 62, with a length ball that nicked and flew to gully. Incredibly that was the solitary success of the morning, Buttler and Woakes steering the score to 159 for 5 as scoring chances belatedly opened.
Buttler, still burdened by 3 missed chances behind the stumps, had scrapped hard for his 38 but fell to his second ball after lunch. Yasir Shah was his downfall, sneaking one in between the bat and the pad to clip the top of off stump.
Yasir finished Dom Bess, ousting him with turn and bounce before taking his 4th of the innings when Woakes heaved towards leg and hit fresh air.
England was in trouble at 170 for 8 but had Broad to thank for 2 tail-end stands, which added 49 to the total before Shadab Khan intervened on both. He finished unbeaten on 29, with 3 boundaries in a row off Shaheen and a slog-swept 6 off Yasir under his belt.
There were 9 overs before tea for England to strike back and Broad did so almost instantly, Shan Masood strangled down the leg for a duck for a deflating follow-up to his impressive 156. Buttler, who let him off two times in the first innings, was the most relieved man in the park when the ball settled cleanly in his gloves. The second opener Abid Ali reaching 20 before hacking Bess to deep midwicket.
Woakes held the catch safely but had an even greater job to do with the ball. He was the 5th bowler used but made a major impact, rousing England with the 2 big middle-order wickets.
First was Babar Azam for 5, feeling outside off stump and giving Stokes the chance to make up for his mistake, and next came to skipper Azhar Ali, pinned lbw full on middle stump.
Dom Sibley obliged when he rushed in from the point to run out Shafiq after a poor call from Mohammad Rizwan, and Stokes put concerns over his quad complaint aside to volunteer for his first bowl of the match.
He struck with his 8th attempt, forcing Rizwan back and earning a tight lbw, and when Broad picked up Shadab by means of DRS, the tail was well and truly open.
Stokes bounced out Shaheen in the final over of the day, leaving everything to play for on Day 4 of the 1st Test Match.
Check the Day 2 Report here: Pak vs Eng 1st Test Day 2
Watch England vs Pakistan 1st Test Day 3 Highlights 7th August 2020