LONDON - Mohammad Amir took two wickets in three balls as Pakistan closed in on an innings victory inside three days in the first Test against England at Lord s on Saturday.
England were 111 for six in their second innings at tea on the third day, still needing a further 68 runs to make Pakistan bat again in the first of this two-Test series.
And after Amir had struck twice in quick succession to remove Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow, Mohammad Abbas captured the prize wicket of Joe Root, the England captain lbw for 68.
Overall, England -- on a sunny day and in the best batting conditions of the entire match -- had lost four wickets for 19 runs.
Their latest top-order collapse left England facing their sixth defeat in eight Tests after they failed to record a win at this level on tour in Australia and New Zealand.
Malan, who saw a piece of his helmet fly off after turning away from a Hasan Ali bouncer, struggled while making 12 off 50 balls.
The left-hander was undone on his Middlesex home ground after being drawn into playing at a good length Amir ball he edged behind, with diving wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, holding an excellent low one-handed catch that would not have carried to first slip.
Two balls later, Jonny Bairstow fell for a duck when left-arm quick Amir produced a superb delivery that cut back in to clip the top of off stump.
Amir, whose career almost came to a complete end at Lord s back in 2010 after he received a jail sentence and five-year ban from cricket for his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a corresponding Test against England, had taken two wickets for no runs in three balls.
England were now 91 for four and badly needed a batsman to support Root.
But instead Ben Stokes (nine) carelessly turned teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan off his pads to midwicket, where Fakhar Zaman -- on as substitute for Babar Azam -- held a good catch.
Root is the most talented batsman in the England side, but a point that is held against him when his record is compared to that of India s Virat Kohli or New Zealand s Kane Williamson is his conversion rate of fifties to hundred.
Saturday s innings was Root s 40th fifty in 68 matches at this level.
But there was no 14th Test hundred for the Yorkshireman, who was lbw to an Abbas ball that nipped back and hit him in front of his stumps.
England found themselves with a huge first-innings deficit of 179 runs after Pakistan, 350 for eight overnight, saw their first innings end on 363.
Babar, who top-scored with 68 before retiring hurt on Friday having been hit by a Stokes delivery, was unable to bat again after scans confirmed he had suffered a broken forearm which will rule him out of next week s second Test at Headingley.
England, faced with a mountain to climb, were soon one for one as Alastair Cook was dismissed for just a single.
The left-handed opener, making a record-equalling 153rd consecutive Test appearance, had top-scored with 70 in England s meagre first-innings 184.
But Saturday saw England s all-time leading Test run-scorer lbw to an Abbas delivery that nipped back. So clear was the decision that Cook did not bother with a review.
Shadab struck next when Mark Stoneman, neither forward nor back, was bowled off stump by a ball that kept low. - APP/AFP