England crumble to nine-wicket Lord's defeat to Pakistan

ENGLAND began their Test summer with a sorry nine-wicket defeat early on day four against Pakistan after failing to sustain the previous evening's brief fightback at Lord's.

Scant consolation: Pakistan's Azhar Ali is bowled by England's James Anderson.

Jos Buttler (67) and Dom Bess (57) could add only a combined three runs to the spirit demonstrated in their stand of 126 - and on the resumption, fanciful hopes of an improbable victory faded fast as England lost their last four wickets for seven runs in 25 balls to be bowled out for 242.

As Mohammad Amir (4-36) and Mohammad Abbas (4-41) shared the spoils, and Pakistan were set only 64 for victory, Joe Root’s team extended their winter woes on to home territory - losing their sixth Test in eight attempts since the end of last summer.

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But for the oasis of Buttler and debutant No 8 Bess’s seventh-wicket partnership - which more than doubled the total after they joined forces on a sorry second-innings 110-6, with 69 runs needed to avoid an innings defeat - England were outplayed in all departments here.

From the moment Root chose to bat first in awkward conditions, his team was unable to rise to the challenge with bat, ball or in the field.

The final act contained an early wicket, James Anderson seeing off Azhar Ali, but otherwise Pakistan completed their straightforward task without alarm and well in time for lunch.

England resumed with apparent reason for a minor spring in their step thanks to Buttler and Bess.

But the former was gone in only the second over - before Pakistan could even get their hands on the second new ball.

Buttler fell lbw on the front foot, shaping to push-drive Abbas, and Mark Wood then mustered one boundary past cover off the same bowler before he was caught behind off Amir at the other end.

Abbas had his fourth wicket when Stuart Broad also edged to Sarfraz Ahmed for a duck - and a pair - and then Bess was last out, bowled trying to attack Amir.

Pakistan had done all the hard work and produced a clinical performance almost throughout.

As they entered the home straight, Anderson managed to strike a blow when he brought one up the slope to knock back Azhar’s off-stump and make it 12-1.

The tourists were minus a frontline batsman, Babar Azam out with a broken arm after being hit by a nasty short ball from Ben Stokes in the first innings.

If there were any jitters, though, they did not last long.

Imam ul-Haq and Haris Sohail did the necessary in an unbroken half-centuy stand - and the mirage of England resistance which flickered for a session on Saturday evening had disappeared in the blink of an eye.

First Test, Lord’s: England 184 (A N Cook 70, Hasan Ali 4-51, Mohammad Abbas 4-23) & 242 (J E Root 68, J C Buttler 67, D M Bess 57, Mohammad Abbas 4-41,

Mohammad Amir 4-36), Pakistan 363 (Babar Azam 68, Asad Shafiq 59, Shadab Khan 52, Azhar Ali 50) & 66-1.