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Cricket news - Bowlers put England in position of strength

Anderson picked up a couple of crucial scalps

Anderson picked up a couple of crucial scalps

England made the most of the limited number of overs possible on a rain-hit Day 1 of the Southampton Test to assume a position of command. Despite Abid Ali scoring a fighting half-century, Pakistan lost quick wickets in the third session to go into Stumps at 126 for 5, having batted for only 45.4 overs. James Anderson picked up two wickets while Stuart Broad, Sam Curran - who replaced Jofra Archer - and Chris Woakes had one apiece in a collective bowling effort that helped England dominate the opening Day.

Pakistan, who opted to bat, managed to keep England at bay after losing the wicket of Shan Masood early in the first session, with Abid and Azhar Ali putting on a half-century stand. While Masood was trapped in front by Anderson, Abid had a couple of reprieves, with Dom Sibley and Rory Burns dropping catches in the slip cordon. Capitalising on the missed chances, Abid built a good stand with Azhar as they showcased good application to ensure Pakistan did not suffer anymore setbacks in the first session, with rain wiping off the last 10 minutes before Lunch.

Only 10.1 overs were bowled in the second session but England received a much-needed boost soon after the lunch break as Anderson ended a 72-run stand by finding the outside edge of Azhar's bat. The Pakistan skipper had settled down into a nice partnership with Abid, having kept the England bowlers at bay for more than 28 overs. However, Azhar's bid to improve his average overseas record suffered a setback when he went a bit hard at Anderson's delivery, having earlier played with soft hands. Babar and Abid then batted for three overs before a heavy shower came along and forced the players off the field.

An outside edge off Anderson helped Abid Ali bring up his fifty at the start of the third session, and he went on to score some easy runs on the legside off Sam Curran. However, a good length delivery on middle and moving away forced Abid to play at the Curran delivery and it ended up as an outside edge that carried to slip - thus ending a hardworking knock that had helped Pakistan make steady progress in testing conditions.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam played an attractive shot off his hip through midwicket for his first four but he was also beaten outside off a couple of times by Anderson. This was an area constantly targeted by the England pacers who tried to tempt Babar into playing at a ball away from his body. While Babar survived, Asad Shafiq fell prey to the tactic as he edged Stuart Broad to fourth slip. Fawad Alam, brought into the eleven in place of Shadab Khan and playing his first Test in 11 years, didn't have a memorable comeback as he fell for a duck, leg-before to Woakes with England using the review to overturn the onfield decision.

Three quick wickets in 11.5 overs, with Pakistan managing 41 runs, was as much play as could be managed in the final session as rain returned and this time ended the day's play for good.

Brief scores: Pakistan 126/5 (Abid Ali 60, Azhar Ali 20; James Anderson 2-35, Sam Curran 1-23) vs England.

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