Centurion Moeen Ali has predicted an uncomfortable day for Pakistan’s batsmen after England successfully initiated a counter-attack from a position of peril during the opening stages of the fourth and final Investec Test at the Kia Oval.
England recovered from 110-5 to post 328 all out as Moeen, who was dropped on nine and 13, chalked up his third Test hundred with a knock of 108, while Jonny Bairstow weighed in with 55 and Chris Woakes 45.
Only three overs of the Pakistan reply were possible on a day when eight were lost due to slow over-rates, although there was still enough time for seamer Stuart Broad to trap opener Sami Aslam LBW. Pakistan closed on 3-1.
“With our bowlers, if they hit a good length, it isn’t going to be too easy,” said Moeen. “It was a great day in the end. We’d take 320 from where we were and the wicket at the end was a big wicket.
“It [batting with the tail] is not an easy situation but it’s something while playing for England I’ve become better at. I enjoy it and feel like I’m on top. I feel like I’m in good form now and I’m happy.”
England were staring down the barrel after opener Alex Hales, James Vince and Gary Ballance were all dismissed for single-figure scores, although a number of sizeable partnerships, including 32 between Moeen and tail-ender James Anderson, rescued the hosts.
Seamer Sohail Khan claimed 5-68 and fellow quick Wahab Riaz 3-93 as Pakistan made early strides in their bid to level the four-match series at 2-2 and potentially deny England top spot in the Test world rankings. England can reach the summit if they beat Pakistan 3-1 and India fail to overcome the West Indies 3-0.