Pakistan close day four in Rawalpindi on 80-2 having been set 343 to win in four sessions; Ben Stokes declares aggressively at tea after England thump 264 in 35.5 overs with Harry Brook nailing 87 from 65 balls - watch day five live on Sky Sports on Monday (4.45am on air)
Sunday 4 December 2022 18:35, UK
England's attacking batting line-up pummelled Pakistan yet again before skipper Ben Stokes' aggressive declaration gave his side a real chance of forcing victory on day five of the first Test.
Stokes declared at tea on day four, setting Pakistan a tempting 343 to win on the flattest of surfaces and handing his side four sessions to take 10 wickets after Harry Brook's blistering 87 from just 65 balls had been the standout knock as England raced to 264-7 in only 35.5 overs in their second innings.
Pakistan subsequently closed on 80-2, needing a further 263 more runs, having lost first-innings centurions Abdullah Shafique (6) and skipper Babar Azam (4) amid England's short-ball ploy and also seen Azhar Ali (0) leave the field hurt after taking a blow on the hand.
England now have a day to pick up eight wickets - perhaps seven depending on Azhar's fitness - with the pace at which they have smoked their runs across this Test giving them a good amount of time and the fact Babar and Shafique are back in the shed, plus the length of Pakistan's tail, handing them a great opportunity, even though the pitch in Rawalpindi remains dreadfully placid.
Brook followed his breath-taking 153 from 116 balls in his team's monster first innings of 657 all out with another scintillating knock on the docile deck, as for the second time in the game he had Gilbert Jessop's England-record 76-ball Test century in his sights.
The Yorkshireman's hopes of eclipsing that were dashed when he was bowled by Naseem Shah from the final ball of the second session, a dismissal that triggered the declaration and dangled the carrot for Pakistan to try and push for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series themselves.
The hosts refused to go into their shell despite losing Shafique and Babar to bouncers from Ollie Robinson and Stokes respectively and Azhar nursing that blow to the hand, with Imam-ul-Haq (43no) and Saud Shakeel (24no) adding an unbroken 55 from 88 balls - Shakeel dropped late on by sub fielder Keaton Jennings at short leg - and a grandstand finish now in store on the fifth and final day.
England batted with the intent we have come to expect from Stokes and Brendon McCullum's free-wheeling outfit after eventually dismissing Pakistan for 597 around 90 minutes into day four - off-spinner Will Jacks finishing with figures of 6-162 from 40.3 overs on debut as the tourists earned a first-innings advantage of 78.
Ben Duckett (0) and Ollie Pope (15) were unable to back up their first-innings hundreds but Zak Crawley followed his with 50 from 48 deliveries and Joe Root atoned for making only 23 on Thursday with 73 from 69 balls, scoring a 55th Test fifty and even batting left-handed at one point to emphasise England's new and uninhibited style.
However, the innings will be remembered most for Brook's batting, with a mix of power, placement and panache taking him to 240 runs for the match and England's tally across both innings to 904.
Brook, who came in at 96-3 in the 14th over after Crawley fell caught behind on review, scored only fractionally quicker than Root during their fourth-wicket stand of 96 from 86 deliveries, bur really ignited following a chat with Stokes after the captain had clothed spinner Zahid Mahmood to cover.
Stokes - who departed for a duck three balls after Root had top-edged to short fine leg on the sweep - spoke to Brook before he left the field, which appeared to be the cue for the batter, and new partner Jacks (24 off 13), to accelerate the run rate even further.
After clinching a 42-ball fifty with a single, Brook then donged Mahmood for six and swept him superbly for four a couple of overs later, and he went on to add four more boundaries before he was cleaned up by Naseem looking for yet another.
Jacks hit three sixes in as many deliveries faced during a pulsating partnership of 56 from 31 balls with Brook, before he holed out eyeing a fourth in four and a limping Liam Livingstone added an unbeaten seven during a breathless end to the afternoon session.
A leg injury prevented Livingstone from bowling in this game, which probably went a long way to Jacks - only playing because of illness to his Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes - getting through so many overs in Pakistan's first innings, which came to a close after 155.3 overs.
England's hopes of ripping through Pakistan's lower order on the fourth morning were thwarted by Agha Salman (53) and Mahmood (17) as the pair extended their eighth-wicket stand to 57 after the home side had resumed on 499-7 and 158 runs in arrears.
England had Salman given lbw on the sweep to Jacks on 45 but that decision was overturned on review with the spinner's delivery having pitched outside leg stump and Salman went on to clinch a 62-ball half-century, his second in Test cricket.
Jacks finally had his man an over later, with Salman caught low at slip by Crawley after trying to work the bowler leg-side - and Jacks went on to collect his fifth and sixth wickets by removing Mahmood and Haris Rauf (12) respectively.
The Surrey player had a long wait before his maiden Test five-for was confirmed, with third umpire Marais Erasmus taking his time before concluding that Mahmood had no part of his foot behind the line and confirming the stumping.
Jacks is the 48th player to take a debut five-for for England and the first spinner since Adil Rashid against Pakistan in the UAE in 2015, while he became the first English spinner to claim six wickets on his Test bow since Peter Such against Australia at Emirates Old Trafford in 1993 when Rauf swiped him behind to Root in the slip cordon.
England were soon scoring freely with the bat and then later on reduced Pakistan to 25-2 before Imam and Shakeel prevented any further breakthroughs and left all results possible heading into an absorbing-looking day five.
Watch day five of the first Test between Pakistan and England, in Rawalpindi, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 4.40am on Monday.