England 'without a wheel' against Pakistan in Ben Stokes' absence – Vaughan

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England played like a “car without a wheel” as they struggled to cope without injured all-rounder Ben Stokes, with Pakistan in control after day two of the third Test at Edgbaston.

Azhar Ali scored 139 and Sami Aslam 82 as Pakistan closed on 257-3, 40 behind England’s 297 from day one.

Chris Woakes gave England a boost as he removed Azhar with the day’s last ball.

Former captain Vaughan said England looked unable to “move in the same direction” without Stokes.

The all-rounder misses the final two Tests of the four-match series, level at 1-1, with a calf strain picked up in the second game at Old Trafford.

“England miss Ben Stokes hugely – he’s an in-your-face player,” Vaughan said on Test Match Special. “On a day like this it’s been crying out for someone to do something different – and he does that.”

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Mohammad Hafeez was out in the first over of the day to James Anderson but Aslam – playing just his third Test – and Azhar put on 181 before Younus Khan added 21 in a 76-run stand with Azhar.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said captain Alastair Cook “doesn’t have any real feel for the game – he just bowls them by numbers”.

The TMS summariser added: “Stuart Broad and Anderson are usually the best two bowlers, but sometimes you get on surfaces where other bowlers bowl better.

“Pakistan were trying to make sure they didn’t lose cheap wickets – and they did it brilliantly. Which England bowlers looked as if they might get wickets?”

Anderson, who saw Azhar dropped on 38 by Joe Root at second slip off his bowling, was warned twice by the umpires about running on to the middle of the pitch during his bowling follow-through.

The Lancastrian’s frustrations were visible and he later said: “The situation of trying to help your team get wickets… the distraction of running on to the wicket doesn’t help.

“I had a bad half an hour, I got frustrated. It was unacceptable. I apologised to both umpires for my behaviour. If they want to take any more action it’s up to them.”

Pakistan ‘disciplined and patient’

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Azhar scored his first century outside of Asia after hitting 15 fours and a six in his 293-ball innings, and celebrated with some press-ups – as others in the Pakistan team have done this series – but edged a Woakes bouncer to be caught behind off the day’s final ball.

“It was very frustrating,” he said. “Being only two down as a team would have been good psychologically, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. But it’s always nice to score runs away from home.”

Boycott was impressed with Pakistan’s defensive play, saying: “It’s a credit to the discipline and patience they have shown.

“That’s not normally the Pakistan way, but they have shown strength of character to change their game and grind England down.”

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