Riaz strikes as England collapse

Wahab Riaz (Getty Images)
Wahab Riaz (Getty Images)

London - Wahab Riaz enjoyed fresh success at The Oval with a double strike on his Pakistan return as England collapsed on the first morning of the fourth Test on Thursday.

England, 2-1 up in the four-match series, were 92 for four at lunch.

All their top four had been dismissed including captain Alastair Cook, who won the toss and batted despite overcast conditions and a green-tinged pitch offering the promise of assistance for Pakistan's seamers.

Riaz, who took five wickets on his Test debut during Pakistan's four-wicket win at The Oval in 2010, had lunch figures of two for 26 in seven overs.

The Yorkshire duo of Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow were three not out and 13 not out respectively.

Pakistan had an early breakthrough when Alex Hales (six) clipped Mohammad Amir off his pads and was caught by Yasir Shah, diving forward at square leg.

Hales stood his ground and the umpires, who had given a 'soft signal' of out, called in third umpire Joel Wilson.

But with replays inconclusive, Wilson had no evidence on which to overturn his on-field colleagues' initial call and Hales, shaking his head, left the field with England 23 for one.

Pakistan, well-beaten by 141 runs in the third Test at Edgbaston last week, had brought in debutant batsman Iftikhar Ahmed for the struggling Mohammad Hafeez and recalled Riaz in place of fellow left-arm quick Rahat Ali.

Hafeez had also had a terrible time of it at first slip and so did Iftikhar on Thursday when he dropped a low but catchable chance offered by Cook, then on 34, off Riaz.

Fortunately for Iftikhar, his error only cost a single, with Cook (35) playing as he under-edged a pull off Sohail Khan.

That was the start of an England slump that saw three wickets lost for five runs in 15 balls as 69 for one soon became 74 for four.

Wahab had star batsman Joe Root out for 26 as he chased a lifting but wide delivery he could have left and nicked to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

James Vince was then left waiting for his first fifty in Test cricket when, on one, he edged a straighter and lifting delivery from Riaz he could do little about after opting to play straight to Ahmed.

Riaz had taken two for none in four balls before Bairstow hit back with three fours.

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