London: Moeen Ali made Pakistan pay for their latest fielding lapses with a century that saw England fight back on the first day of the fourth Test at The Oval on Thursday.
Ali’s 108 was the cornerstone of England’s 328 all out. And there was still time in the two overs before stumps for Stuart Broad to have Sami Aslam lbw for three.Pakistan ended the day three for one, with both Azhar Ali and nightwatchman Yasir Shah yet to score a run between them.
England, 2-1 up in the four-match series and bidding to become the world’s top-ranked Test side, collapsed to 74 for four before lunch after captain Alastair Cook won the toss.
England were still struggling at 110 for five when number seven Ali came in.
But Ali, missed on nine and 15, turned the tide in a fifth-wicket stand of 93 with Jonny Bairstow (55) that followed their key partnership of 152 in England’s 141-run win in the third Test at Edgbaston last week.
The off-spinning all-rounder also added 79 in just 86 balls with Chris Woakes (45).
Sohail Khan took five for 68 — his second five-wicket innings haul in as many Tests — including a burst of three for six in 13 balls that reduced England to 286 for nine.
At that stage, Ali was still 11 runs shy of a hundred. But last man James Anderson stuck in for long enough to allow Ali to go to a third hundred in 30 career Tests in style by dancing down the pitch and lofting leg-spinner Shah for six high over mid-wicket.
Off-spinning all-rounder Ali’s second Test hundred of the season, following his 155 not out against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street in May, took 140 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes.
Ali was last man out when he was caught in the deep by Shah hooking at Sohail, who kissed the pitch in celebration of his fifth wicket.
Brief Score: England 328/10 (Moeen Ali 108, Jonny Bairstow 55 ; Sohail Khan 5-68, Wahab Riaz 3-93) Pakistan 3/1
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