CARDIFF, June 14 (Reuters) - England struggled on a slow pitch against a disciplined Pakistan attack to limp to a paltry total of 211 all out in the first Champions Trophy semi-final on Wednesday.
Pakistan bowled and fielded tightly to restrict the sluggish hosts who failed to master a lifeless wicket and collapsed from 128 for two in bright and sunny conditions which normally favour batsmen.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and England openers Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow, replacing the out-of-form Jason Roy, made a solid start.
Hitting boundaries proved difficult, however, and a frustrated Hales, on 13, spooned Rumman Raees to cover with a loose drive.
Bairstow, dropped twice, accumulated 43 runs through good shot placement and quick running between the wickets before he pulled seamer Hasan Ali to Mohammad Hafeez at deep square leg.
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan continued to score at about five runs an over against accurate Pakistan bowling and tight fielding.
But Root, on 46, nicked leg-spinner Shadab Khan to wicketkeeper Sarfraz and Morgan (33) aimed an expansive drive at the lively Hasan and gave Sarfraz another catch to leave England in trouble at 141 for four.
Jos Buttler (4) lasted seven balls before edging Junaid Khan to Sarfraz and Moeen Ali (11) was brilliantly caught by a diving Fakhar Zaman running round the mid-wicket boundary.
Adil Rashid was run out for seven trying to pinch a quick single and Ben Stokes, one of the most destructive batsmen in the world, took 30 deliveries to reach 10 and failed to hit a boundary in a scratchy 34 before skying Hasan to Hafeez.
Liam Plunkett made nine and England’s misery was completed when Sarfraz ran out Mark Wood for three with one ball of the innings remaining.
Defending champions India play Bangladesh in the second semi-final in Birmingham on Thursday. (Editing by Neville Dalton)