England vs Pakistan, LIVE cricket scores: Latest updates and scorecard from first Test, day four at Lord’s
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Jos Buttler and Dom Bess saved England from a three-day defeat against Pakistan with a memorable rearguard stand at Lord’s.
Buttler, fresh back from the Indian Premier League for this NatWest Series opener after 18 months out of the Test reckoning, joined forces in the unlikeliest of circumstances with debutant number eight Bess to give England hope where there was none.
Realistically, after being previously outplayed in every department, the best outcome for the hosts is surely still only respectability – but following a determined 68 too from captain Joe Root, the unbroken century stand for the seventh wicket has at least ensured Pakistan must bat twice to prevail.
A stumps total of 235 for six, and still-vulnerable lead of just 56, looked fanciful in the extreme when Buttler (66no) and Bess (55no) were thrust into damage limitation still 69 runs behind on 110 after England had lost four wickets for 19 runs.
After their first-innings 184 all out, the hosts were in danger of faring even worse second time round.
Buttler found himself batting with the 20-year-old new boy, chosen here only after fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach’s injury and who doubtless grew up watching his senior partner thrilling the crowds in Taunton before his move to Lancashire.
It was great credit to Bess that increasingly he was able to match Buttler shot for shot, as both scored freely off either foot through the off-side especially on the way to respective 93 and 89-ball half-centuries.
England’s evening well-being was a far cry from their previous struggles after they began their second innings 179 runs adrift once Mark Wood bounced out Pakistan’s last man Mohammad Abbas early on a sunny morning.
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