Moeen Ali’s ton get’s England past 300: Moeen’s third Test hundred made England a strong innings against Pakistan. Coming in at 110 for five, staying until England’s score was almost tripled, and scoring so quickly there was still time to take Pakistan’s first wicket, England’s left-hander was on a roll.
It is “only” 15 months until England will be playing in the next Ashes and on this evidence only Cook and Joe Root of the specialist batsmen, along with Bairstow, Moeen and Chris Woakes of the all-rounders, appear ready to face Australia’s fast bowling.
The trouble with having Cook and Joe Root in the first three is that it is like a meal which goes almost straight into the main course (Alex Hales considered himself unfortunate but Marais Erasmus at square leg was the person best positioned to judge that his clip had carried to midwicket). When they drop their plates, as they did on Thursday, there is not much to follow.
England’s second innings, when they will want to make a mountain of runs before declaring, will be Vince’s last chance to break the 50 barrier this summer. Especially with the next Ashes series in mind – by which all players, and selectors, are judged – Ballance’s dismissal was the most disturbing. After Mohammad Amir, in his mid-80s mph, had bounced him, Ballance still played half-forward.
Pakistan’s bowlers, as much as the crowd, seemed to sense that Pakistan had lost their grip when Bairstow and Moeen were reprieved. Sohail persevered, and kept the ball up all day, meriting his second successive five-wicket haul, but Wahab lost his pace as the day wore on and Amir his patience.
England beat Pakistan by 141 runs at Edgbaston, after Misbah-ul-Haq’s side were asked to score 343 in 84 overs to take a 2-1 lead, or bat them out to secure the draw.