Edgbaston, Birmingham: Eventually, the sixth-wicket stand between Jonny Bairstow and Mooen Ali offered a defiant barrier between Pakistan and their outside chance of forcing a favourable result at Edgbaston. By stumps, the partnership had blossomed to 132, stretching England’s overall lead to 311.
The duo came together at a rather precarious 282 for 5 with the lead just about touching 180. Another wicket there and Pakistan would have entertained very plausible thoughts of having to chase around 250. It began cautiously, especially Yasir Shah’s leg spin against the left-handed Moeen made for an intriguing contest, with the leggie setting up a trap to have the all-rounder caught at backward short-leg, much like how he’d snared Gary Ballance for the third time in three innings.
England already have a lead that will take some getting, but whether Cook will be swayed into declaring overnight to give Pakistan hope, thereby increasing his own chances of forcing a win, is a matter of deliberation.
Brief Scores: England 297 & 414/5 (Jonny Bairstow 82*, Alastair Cook 66, Moeen Ali 60*; Mohammad Amir 2-73) lead Pakistan 400 by 311 runs
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