LEEDS: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was left pondering his decision to bat first after a collapse handed England the advantage on the first day of the second Test at Headingley on Friday.
England were 106 for two at stumps, just 68 runs behind Pakistan’s lowly first-innings 174 all out.
England captain Joe Root was 29 not out on his Yorkshire home ground, with nightwatchman Dominic Bess unbeaten on nought.
The one sadness for England was that Alastair Cook, their all-time leading Test run-scorer, fell shortly before stumps for 46.
Earlier, Shadab Khan took Pakistan to three figures as the teenage leg-spinner made his third fifty in successive Tests.
But the tourists’ top order struggled as England’s veteran new-ball duo of Stuart Broad and James Anderson, much criticised for bowling too short in Pakistan’s nine-wicket win in the first Test of a two-match series at Lord’s, produced a succession of fuller-length deliveries.
Pakistan arrived in Leeds knowing that if they avoided defeat they would be able to celebrate their first Test series win in England for 22 years.
Friday’s pitch looked a good one to bat on but humid and overcast conditions offered to assist the bowlers.
Sarfraz’s decision to bat was an especially bold move given England made just 184 in their first innings at Lord’s.
And it was not long before Broad was on his way to a return of three for 38 in 15 overs, with Anderson taking three for 43.
All-rounder Chris Woakes, one of a trio of changes, took three for 55.
Pakistan saw all their top four dismissed before lunch and early in the second session they lost three wickets for one run in 14 balls to be 79 for seven.
But Shadab, fresh from Test fifties against Ireland in Dublin and England at Lord’s, inspired a late-order revival as Pakistan’s last three wickets added 95 runs.
In the morning, Broad almost had opener Imam-ul-Haq lbw for nought before removing the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq for a duck in any event.
England’s catching, as well as their batting and bowling, had been below standard at Lord’s but after Root held a sharp, high chance at third slip following Imam’s edged drive.
Azhar Ali ground out a two off 29 balls, an innings that ended when the opener was lbw to a Broad inswinger.
Warwickshire seamer Woakes removed Haris Sohail, who had battled his way to 28, when the left-hander opened the face and edged a simple catch to second-slip Dawid Malan.
Asad Shafiq hit five fours in his 27 before edging a good ball from Woakes to Cook at first slip.
Cook dropped several catches at Lord’s and needed a juggle to hold this one.
Shadab, a shining light for Pakistan, commandingly pulled Woakes for four to complete an impressive 48-ball fifty featuring nine boundaries.
He was last man out when dismissed by fellow 19-year-old Sam Curran as the Surrey left-arm seamer, included after Ben Stokes was ruled out with a torn hamstring, marked his Test debut with a wicket.
England collapses have featured prominently in their current run of six defeats in eight Tests.
But Keaton Jennings, one of 12 openers to have partnered Cook in the six years since Andrew Strauss retired, helped justify his recall by making 29 in a stand of 53 before he was caught behind off medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf.
Cook had rarely looked in any trouble until he gloved a hook off Hasan Ali to wicket-keeper Sarfraz.