Ali's hundred lifts England to 328 against Pakistan

LONDON (AP) " A superb century from Moeen Ali helped England to reach 328 all out on the first day of the fourth and final test against Pakistan on Thursday.

Fast bowler Sohail Khan (5-68) claimed his second successive five-wicket haul, but Moeen's 108 with 13 fours and two sixes rescued England after Wahab Riaz's 3-93 had reduced the home team to 110-5 at the Oval.

Pakistan, trailing 2-1 in the series, then ran into early trouble in its reply when Sami Aslam was trapped leg before wicket by Stuart Broad.

Pakistan finished the day on 3-1, with Azhar Ali and nightwatchman Yasir Shah yet to score.

Left-handed Moeen, who was dropped on 9 and 15 by Azhar Ali, cashed in on the chances by sharing half century stands with Jonny Bairstow (55) and Chris Woakes (45).

No. 11 James Anderson hung in as Moeen reached his hundred with a six over midwicket off leg-spinner Shah before eventually falling to Sohail while going for an expansive hook shot.

Moeen was under tremendous pressure after failing in the first two test matches. But he looked to have regained his batting form with knocks of 63 and 86 in the last test match at Edgbaston, where England won by 141 runs.

The two dropped catches on Thursday didn't faze Moeen as he drove and cut any loose deliveries with superb timing during his stay of more than 3-1/2 hours at the wicket.

Earlier, Riaz had rattled England's top order after captain Alastair Cook won the toss and opted to bat on a wicket which had extra bounce for the seamers.

Left-armer Riaz, one of two changes Pakistan made from the third test, had Joe Root (26) and James Vince (1) caught behind off sharp bouncing deliveries. Cook (35) dragged Sohail's short ball back onto his stumps as England lost three wickets for five runs to reach 92-4 at lunch.

Riaz then removed Gary Ballance in the second over after lunch to reduce England to 110-5, but Bairstow and Moeen profited from Pakistan's fielding lapses.

Bairstow was caught off Riaz's no-ball on 13 and escaped a review of leg before wicket against Mohammad Amir on 23 as the batsmen put on 93 runs to take England to 200-5.

Amir had Bairstow caught behind soon after tea, but Woakes played aggressively and hit eight fours that included four in one over off an erring Riaz as his seventh-wicket stand with Moeen yielded another 79 runs.

Although Sohail got rid of Broad and Steven Finn in quick succession, Anderson gave Moeen enough support to add another 32 runs, much to the frustration of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistan awarded a test debut to all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed and dropped Mohammad Hafeez. Surprisingly, Misbah gave the off-spinner only two overs as Moeen led England's remarkable recovery.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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