A brilliant third Test century from Moeen Ali rescued England to a decent first innings total of 328 while Pakistan in reply closed the opening day’s play at 3 for 1 in the Fourth Test at The Oval.
Stuart Broad struck early for the hosts trapping the left-handed Sami Ali lbw in the three overs before stumps. Pakistan have got Azhar Ali, promoted as a makeshift opener at the crease along with night watchman Yasir Shah.
Earlier England decided to bat first after winning the toss despite the conditions being very overcast and the pitch looking green and tailor-made for the seamers. The brave decision from Alastair Cook seemed to have backfired as England were struggling at 110 for 5.
Jonny Bairstow with 55, Moeen Ali with 108 and Chris Woakes with 45 came up with the rescue act.
Moeen Ali smashed his 108 in 152 balls with 13 fours and two sixes.
Photo: England’s Moeen Ali celebrates his Century During Day One of the Fourth Investec Test Match between England and Pakistan played at The Kia Oval Stadium, London on August 11th 2016 (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
For Pakistan, medium pacer Sohail Khan captured his second five-wicket haul in Tests. Sohail Khan claimed a career best of 5 for 68. His victims included the well set Alastair Cook (35) and Moeen Ali, who was the last man to be dismissed in the English innings.
Also amongst the wickets were left-arm quicks Wahab Riaz with three wickets and Mohammad Aamer with two wickets.
Photo: Pakistan’s Sohail Khan Celebrates after bowling out England’s Steven Finn During Day One of the Fourth Investec Test Match between England and Pakistan played at The Kia Oval Stadium, London on August 11th 2016 (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
There was a highly controversial moment during the first day’s play when English opener Alex Hales was dubiously given out caught by Yasir Shah at squareleg off Mohammed Aamir. It was a low catch claimed by Yasir Shah off a flick shot. Replays were inconclusive and Umpire Bruce Oxenford’s original decision of ‘Out’ stayed, leaving the door open for a massive controversy end of the day with a couple of English players expressing their displeasure over it on social media.
Photo: LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 11: Alex Hales (L) and Alastair Cook (R) of England watch the replay screen just before Hales is controversially given out by the Third Umpire during day 1 of the Fourth Investec Test match between England and Pakistan at The Kia Oval on August 11, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Sarah Ansell/Getty Images)
Going into this fourth and final Test, Pakistan have given Test debut for the 25-year-old middle order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed. The right hander had played a couple of ODIs and one T20I last year.
Pakistan made two changes with Iftikhar Ahmed and Wahab Riaz replacing Mohammad Hafeez and Rahat Ali. England on the other side remain unchanged.
The hosts are leading the 4-match Test Series 2-1 and it is all up to Pakistan to force a win in this final Test to draw the Test Series.