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England flex batting muscle to regain upper hand on day four

England's Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali at the end of the days play
England's Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali at the end of the days play
©REUTERS / Action Images

England 297 & 414-5 (Bairstow 82no) v
Pakistan 400 (Azhar 139)
Third Test, day four, Birmingham

Led by an unbeaten 82 from Jonny Bairstow and fifties from Moeen Ali and Joe Root, England surged ahead to post a total of 414 for five at the end of the fourth day of the third Test in Birmingham and stretched their lead to 311 runs with five wickets in hand.

England began their innings on the overnight score of 120 for naught. In the third over of the day, Yasir Shah (2-152) pulled off a sharp catch at midwicket to dismiss Alastair Cook (66).

In the next over, Mohammad Amir (2-73) had Hales caught in the slip cordon, leaving England at 126 for two.

Root (62) and James Vince (42) stabilised the innings with a 95-run stand. The pair batted with caution and took England to 183 for two at lunch.

Early in the second session, England stretched their lead past the 100-run mark while Root went past his fifty.

The 125-run stand was finally broken by Shah, who had Root caught at short fine leg in the 76th over as he attempted a sweep shot.

Meanwhile, Vince’s patient 123-ball stay at the crease was brought to an end after a 36-run stand with Gary Ballance (28) as England went past the 250-run mark.

Bairstow (82 not out) and Ballance saw out four more overs, taking England to a position of strength at 262 for four after the end of the second session.

Though Bairstow and Ballance started steadily in the third session Shah struck in the 98th over to remove the latter by having him caught at leg slip.

Bairstow and Ali (60 not out) batted with a good mix of caution and aggression in the final session. Bairstow completed his fifty in the 110th over and the pair shifted gears as the session dawned to a close.

Ali brought up his second half-century of the game soon after the sixth wicket stand went past a 100 runs. At the end of the fourth day, England had posted 414 for five, scoring 101 runs in the last 20 overs of the game.

The hosts had taken their lead to 311 runs with five wickets in hand at stumps on day four.

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