England facing defeat as Pakistan control fourth Test
Yasir Shah's triple strike left England struggling to survive in the fourth Test on 88 for four at stumps yesterday after Younis Khan's double century gave Pakistan a first-innings lead of 214 runs.
Leg-spinner Shah shredded England's top order on the third day at the Oval - dismissing Joe Root (39), Alex Hales (12) and James Vince (0) in the second innings. England still need 126 runs to avoid an innings defeat, with Pakistan looking likely to level the four-match series.
Jonny Bairstow is 14 not out, with Gary Balance on four.
Earlier, Younis hit 218 in more than 71/2 hours, blasting 31 fours and four sixes before Pakistan were bowled out for 542 at tea after resuming on 340 for six.
Sarfraz Ahmed (44) and Younis stretched their seventh-wicket partnership to 77 runs against a four-man seam attack before Bairstow caught Ahmed with a one-handed diving catch off Chris Woakes (3-82) in England's only success of the first session.
England thought they had claimed Younis before lunch when onfield umpire Bruce Oxenford adjudged him leg before wicket (lbw) on 133 off a rising delivery from Steven Finn (3-110), but the batsman successfully appealed the decision.
Younis, 101 overnight, was finally trapped leg before wicket by James Anderson's off-cutter, but not before increasing the lead after partnerships with Wahab Riaz (a stubborn 4 off 32 balls) and Mohammad Amir (39 not out).
Younis perfectly shielded Riaz and stretched Pakistan's lead to 106 runs before off-spinner Moeen Ali (2-128) had Riaz stumped - two balls after Cook had dropped England's fourth catch of the innings.
THWARTED ENGLAND'S PLAN
Amir then thwarted England's attempt to fold the innings quickly as Younis chased quick runs.
Such was Younis' dominance that he was on 160 when Riaz was dismissed and, when he raised his double century with his fourth sixth, Amir was yet to score.
Amir's first scoring shot came off his 24th delivery when he heaved a big six over mid-wicket off Ali and stayed unbeaten for his career-best score. Finn finally ended the innings by taking the last wicket of Sohail Khan.
Cook and Hales carefully played out the new ball pair of Amir and Sohail before Riaz and Shah brought about a top-order collapse.
Cook fended off Riaz's short delivery and the thick edge flew to newcomer Iftikhar Ahmed in the slips.
Shah ran England into further trouble when he had Hales lbw off his sixth delivery that didn't spin. In the next over, Vince's poor form in the series continued when he lobbed a gentle catch to captain Misbah-ul-Haq at short cover.
Ballance survived a close Pakistan television referral for lbw in Shah's next over, bt Shah got the key wicket of Root when the batsman misread a straight delivery and went on the back foot. He was struck right in front of the wicket.