Southampton: Zak Crawley struck his maiden Test century after Pakistan saw off England captain Joe Root on the opening day of the series finale at Southampton on Friday.
Crawley, 97 not out at tea, took two down to fine leg off Mohammad Abbas before an offside glide off the paceman saw him to a 171-ball hundred, including 11 fours in what was his eighth Test.
This was just the fourth first-class century of the 22-year-old right-hander’s career and it was an especially valuable innings, with no other England batsman having made more than Root’s 29 as they reached tea on 184-4.
Yasir Shah had interval figures of 2-60 from 19 overs — a fine return for a leg-spinner on the first day of a Test.
England, 1-0 up in a three-match contest, need to avoid defeat if they are to win their first series against Pakistan in 10 years.
They suffered an early setback when Rory Burns nicked a full-length ball from fellow left-hander Shaheen Afridi that moved away late, with Shan Masood holding a good low catch at fourth slip.
Burns stood his ground but replays confirmed it was a fair catch and he was out for six, the batsman now averaging a lowly five from four innings in a tough series for openers.
Crawley, fresh from his 53 in the second innings of the drawn and second Test at Southampton, a match marred by bad weather, cut Yasir for four and glanced fast bowler Naseem Shah for another boundary.
But a second-wicket stand worth of 61 ended when Dom Sibley, going down the pitch to Yasir, was given out lbw for 22.
Sibley reviewed but, once again this season, a decision by umpire Michael Gough was upheld, with tracking technology indicating the ball would have hit middle stump.
Crawley brought up an 80-ball fifty off the last ball of the session when, tempted to drive after Pakistan reinforced the slip cordon, he struck Afridi to long-off for a stylish four .
England 91-2 at lunch, lost two wickets early in the second session to be 127-4.
- Naseem gets Root –
There was little Root could do on 29 when a full-length delivery from teenage paceman Naseem seamed away late to take the outside edge, with wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan holding a fine diving catch.
Ollie Pope was then once again this series undone by Yasir’s quicker delivery when clean bowled for three hanging back in the crease.
But Crawley surpassed his previous Test-best of 76, which he made last month against the West Indies at Southampton.