Joe Root’s masterful 254 and three early wickets for Chris Woakes put England in a commanding position on the second day of the second test against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Root, who batted for more than 10 hours, struck 27 fours in his highest test score to lead the hosts to 589 for eight declared and Pakistan’s top order crumbled as they limped to 57 for four at the close.
England, 1-0 down in the series, resumed in the morning on 314 for four and nightwatchman Woakes dominated the early strike, peppering the boundary with crisp drives and cuts.
Root went past 150 for the fifth time in his test career but he did offer one chance that was spilled by Younus Khan at slip off leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
Woakes continued his fine run of form, hitting eight fours and a six on the way to his second test half-century before he poked a return catch to Shah and departed for 58.
Ben Stokes, returning to the side after injury, made a fluent 34, including five fours, and shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 57 with Root who went past 200 with a perfectly executed reverse sweep off Shah.
Stokes nicked a catch down the leg side to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Wahab Riaz. He was given out after a lengthy review but Jonny Bairstow kept up the momentum with a busy 58.
Root’s long vigil ended when he skied Riaz to Mohammad Hafeez running in from deep mid-wicket and the right-hander left the arena to a standing ovation.
“You strive to make contributions and want to set examples so it was nice to go on and make a big one,” Root told Sky Sports.
The 25-year-old right-hander’s 10th test century signalled a return to form after a disappointing series against Sri Lanka.
“The little scores give you more drive not to just make hundreds but make big hundreds,” Root said.
“I have given it away on occasions so I wanted to hammer it home. I didn’t score as quickly as I have before but if that helps me get bigger scores, then that’s a way I have to play.”
England captain Alastair Cook declared soon after Root’s dismissal and Hafeez and Shan Masood safely negotiated a probing opening spell by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Woakes then struck in his first over, Hafeez (18) nicking a low catch to Root at second slip, and the all-rounder also caught and bowled Azhar Ali for one.
Stokes had Younus caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Bairstow for one and nightwatchman Rahat Ali popped a short ball from Woakes to short leg.
Masood battled through to 30 not out at the close with captain Misbah-ul-Haq on one but the touring side face a huge task to save the match and prevent England from levelling the four-match series.