ENGLAND bowlers’ heroic attempt at batting out second test for a draw turned out to be in vain as Pakistan snatched a late victory with just over six overs remaining in the match. With England staring down the barrel of defeat, it was left to the bowlers to try to rescue the result.
Led by Adil Rashid, England’s final four faced more deliveries than any other in the history of test cricket in the 4th innings – alas it wasn’t enough as Rashid himself was the final man dismissed to seal England’s fate.
After winning the toss for the second match in a row, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq chose to bat in the Dubai heat. The Pakistan openers got off to a solid start until Moeen Ali found the edge of Mohammad Hafeez’s bat and the catch was snaffled at short leg by Jonny Bairstow. England went on to reduce Pakistan to a poultry 85-3 before Pakistan fought back through their middle order, led by skipper Misbah (102) and supported well by both Younis Khan (56) and Asad Shafiq (83). England eventually dismissed Pakistan for a respectable 378 on the stroke of lunch on day two – Mark Wood the pick of the English bowlers, getting three wickets after consistently troubling the batsmen with his pace and accuracy.
England’s reply did not start well after Moeen Ali (1) and Ian Bell (4) were both caught lazily inside the first five overs, leaving their team 14-2. However, captain Alistair Cook continued his good form, picking up yet another half-century before being dismissed off the bowling of Yasir Shah for 65. Yorkshiremen Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow continued England’s resurgence guiding them to 182-3 at the close with the match in the balance. The pivotal moment in the game came early on in day 3 as Root (88), Stokes (4) and Jos Buttler (0) were all dismissed after a breathtakingly fiery and fast spell from Wahab Riaz to put Pakistan in the ascendency. England’s tail was then quickly wrapped up leaving them 136 runs behind after the first innings’.
Spearheaded by Younis Khan’s incredible 31st test century, moving him to 10th on the all-time list, Pakistan were predominantly untroubled by England’s bowling attack and eventually declared with a massive lead of 490 – Misbah (87) and Shafiq (79) once again both scoring notable half-centuries.
Requiring a monumental effort of concentration and belief to bat out 145 overs for the draw, England got off to a horrible start as openers Cook (10) and Ali (1) were both dismissed cheaply inside the first 10 overs. Bell (46) and Root (71) showed some fight but were let down again by the middle order of Bairstow (22), Stokes (13) and Buttler (7), leaving England reeling at 193-7 with 50 overs for the bowlers still to bat out. Adil Rashid proceeded to show the rest of the team how it’s done by batting exceptionally well under the diminishing light to face an honourable 172 balls. Rashid was supported by the impressive application of Stuart Broad and Wood who faced 42 and 95 balls respectively, but Rashid’s hard work was undone when he mistimed a drive straight into the hands of Zulfiqar Babar to end England’s innings and leave them 33 balls short of a draw.
Pakistan will take a 1-0 lead in to the final test which is scheduled to start on Sunday in Sharjah, with England’s management needing to make some key decisions regarding their consistently inconsistent batting order.
Featured image: The Mirror