The England cricket team started their summer with a 2-1 Test series win against West Indies. But against Pakistan, they are struggling to build partnerships. At the end of day two, the hosts were stuttering at 92/4. Before that, the visitors scored 326 runs, courtesy of Shan Masood's fighting 156.
As the third day started, England's Ollie Pope completed his half-century. It seems that the hosts got away against an opponent like the Windies, but against a quality bowling line-up, they still need to prove their capabilities in order to reach the world number one Test ranking.
According to the BBC, former English captain Michael Vaughan said, "I've heard talk that England want to be the number one Test side in the world, but they're miles away. Tactically, they get it wrong often and there are question marks on some areas of the team. Against a team like West Indies, you get away with it, but Pakistan are a level up. Australia or India will blow England away. The basics of the game are trying to win the first 20 minutes of every session."
Vaughan, who led England to the 2005 Ashes victory, also criticised Joe Root's captaincy. The 45-year old said that the hosts should have brought the spinners early in the session. Instead, they appointed the spinners after lunch, and that gave Pakistan the momentum that they were looking for.
The visitors had lost two early wickets in the first innings. Despite that, they went on to score over 300 runs. And given England's batting status right now, it would be no less than a miracle if they avoid a defeat in the game. If they lose the match, it would be the sixth consecutive series where England would lose the first Test.
On the other hand, Masood's knock registered many records. He became only the second player in the sport's history to score three centuries in three consecutive innings against three different countries. Before him, India's Vinod Kambli had achieved the feat in 1993.
Also, Masood became only the fifth Pakistani opening batsman to score a Test century in England. Saeed Anwar was the last Pakistan player to score a Test hundred on English soil. Anwar did it in 1996 during the Oval Test.