Moeen's century puts England in charge
A superb century from Moeen Ali helped England to reach 328 all out on the first day of the fourth and final Test against Pakistan yesterday.
Fast bowler Sohail Khan (5-68) claimed his second successive five-wicket haul, but Moeen's 108 with 13 fours and two sixes rescued England after Wahab Riaz's 3-93 had reduced the home team to 110-5 at the Oval.
Pakistan, trailing 2-1 in the series, then ran into early trouble in their reply when Sami Aslam was trapped leg before wicket by Stuart Broad.
Pakistan finished the day on three for one, with Azhar Ali and nightwatchman Yasir Shah yet to score.
Left-handed Moeen, who was dropped on nine and 15 by Azhar Ali, cashed in on the chances by sharing half century stands with Jonny Bairstow (55) and Chris Woakes (45).
No. 11 James Anderson hung in as Moeen reached his hundred with a six over midwicket off leg-spinner Shah before eventually falling to Sohail while going for an expansive hook shot.
Moeen was under tremendous pressure after failing in the first two Test matches, but he looked to have regained his batting form with knocks of 63 and 86 in the last Test match at Edgbaston, where England won by 141 runs.
Riaz had rattled England's top order after captain Alastair Cook won the toss and opted to bat on a wicket which had extra bounce for the seamers.
Left-armer Riaz, one of two changes Pakistan made from the third Test, had Joe Root (26) and James Vince (1) caught behind off sharp bouncing deliveries. Cook (35) dragged Sohail's short ball back onto his stumps as England lost three wickets for five runs to reach 92-4 at lunch.
Riaz then removed Gary Ballance in the second over after lunch to reduce England to 110-5, but Bairstow and Moeen profited from fielding lapses by Pakistan.