Eoin Morgan hits century as England dominate Pakistan
First Test, Trent Bridge (day one, close): England 331-4 v Pakistan Match scorecard
Morgan celebrates making a century in his third Test innings
By Sam Sheringham
Eoin Morgan made a superb maiden Test century as England reached an imposing 331-4 at stumps on day one of the first Test against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
He scored 125 not out and put on an unbroken 213 with Paul Collingwood (81 not out) in a record English fifth-wicket partnership against Pakistan.
Mohammad Aamer, 18, had earlier taken three wickets to leave England 118-4.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal dropped a catch and missed a routine stumping on a disappointing day for the tourists.
England will have concerns over the continuing poor form of Kevin Pietersen (nine) and Alastair Cook (eight), but to dwell on their shortcomings would be doing a disservice to Morgan, whose innings showed all the characteristics needed to succeed at Test level.
Watchful early on when the Pakistan bowlers were on top, he gradually eased into his groove, pulling off some trademark reverse sweeps off the spinners and bringing up three figures with a thumping straight six off Shoaib Malik.
Handed his opportunity in Test cricket against Bangladesh earlier this summer - and another chance following Ian Bell's injury - the Dublin-born batsman has gone a long way towards cementing his place in the England middle order for the Ashes, which start in less than four months' time in Australia.
It was a supreme display against Pakistan's talented young attack, which only last week was skittling Australia for 88 on their way to a first victory over Ricky Ponting's side for 15 years.
However, while Aamer picked up where he left off against the Aussies - swinging the ball both ways at pace - the other bowlers looked jaded and were unable to capitalise on helpful conditions after England had won the toss and chosen to bat.
Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria (0-100) served up some particularly easy pickings for England's batsmen despite the pitch offering considerable turn, and seamer Umar Gul (0-58) struggled with his run-up.
Aamer has taken more wickets than any 18-year-old in Test history
Teenage seamer Aamer should have claimed his first wicket in his third over when Strauss edged a sharp away swinger but Kamran inexplicably dropped the chance.
But Aamer kept plugging away and got his reward when a straight delivery seamed away from Cook, whose thick edge was comfortably held by Imran Farhat at first slip.
With the ball moving around in bowler-friendly conditions, Pakistan had the chance to make further inroads into the England batting order but instead, Strauss and Trott were gifted too many four balls, while defensive field placings meant singles were easy to come by.
Strauss looked to be marching towards a half century, only to be undone by a clever bowling change by captain Salman Butt, with Aamer brought back into the attack shortly before lunch.
The England skipper flashed at a delivery which moved away, feeding a simple catch to Kamran behind the stumps.
The controversial Umpire Decision Review System - being used for the first time in Tests in England - provided an intriguing sub-plot to the day with Jonathan Trott earning a reprieve after being given out lbw by umpire Asoka de Silva, replays clearly showing an inside edge.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's eagerness to get rid of Pietersen led to two unsuccessful reviews, one for lbw and another for caught behind.
The most crucial use of the system saw Morgan given out lbw by De Silva for 78, only for the review to show the delivery from Kaneria was missing leg stump.
Pakistan did not have to wait long to remove Pietersen though, with Mohammad Asif getting one to seam into the batsman and Pietersen - who has now gone 22 innings without a Test hundred - getting an inside edge onto his stumps.
Trott followed soon afterwards for 38, playing no shot to an inswinger from Aamer which rapped his front pad in line with off stump.
A slow and uneventful period of play ensued with Collingwood intent on rebuilding the England innings and Morgan resisting the urge to go for his shots.
But having seen off probing spells from Aamer and Asif, both batsmen opened up against Gul and Kaneria to send England into the tea interval on 190-4.
Morgan, in particular, started to relax, following a reverse sweep off Malik with a sweetly-timed cover drive to the rope and tucking into the wayward Kaneria at every opportunity.
ENGLAND'S HIGHEST TEST STANDS AGAINST PAKISTAN
267 (3rd wkt) GP Thorpe & MP Vaughan, Old Trafford, May 2001
248 (2nd wkt) MC Cowdrey & ER Dexter, The Oval, August 1962
233 (4th wkt) PD Collingwood & AN Cook, Lord's, July 2006
227 (3rd wkt) RA Smith & AJ Stewart, Edgbaston, June 1992
His fifty arrived shortly after tea as a confident lofted drive to the boundary off Kaneria was followed by a clip off his legs for a single.
Collingwood also reached fifty in the final session but only after he was given a lifeline by Kamran's second piece of sloppy glovework.
This time, the Pakistan keeper missed out on a straightforward stumping chance, fumbling the ball after the Durham batsman had completely missed an attempted heave off Kaneria.
With cloud giving way to bright sunshine in Nottingham, and Pakistan's bowlers running out of ideas, Morgan assumed total control over proceedings, unleashing boundaries on both sides of the wicket.
After bringing up his century in style, a square cut to the fence off Asif took the partnership past 193 to set a new record for England's fifth wicket against Pakistan on a fine day for Strauss's men.
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