Captain Misbahul Haq anchored the Pakistan innings as England’s attack delivered the goods to keep the hosts down to 256 for seven on the opening day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
Paceman Stuart Broad took three for 47 and spinner Graeme Swann grabbed three for 52 to keep England’s hopes of squaring the three-Test series alive after they lost the first match in Dubai by 10 wickets inside three days.
Misbah, unbeaten on 83 at stumps with Saeed Ajmal, held the Pakistan innings together during a fighting stand of 100 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (58). The partnership helped Pakistan revive their innings after Broad chipped in with two wickets in the post-lunch session before the tourists claimed three more in the last session.
“I think we lost two wickets more than we would have liked,” said Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar. “But Misbah’s there and if we manage a total of around 300 to 350, our bowlers have a good chance because the spin on the pitch has surprised everyone.”
England could have had a more fruitful day had they not dropped four regulation catches, but Broad and Swann made sure their fumbles did not prove too costly.
James Anderson dropped Misbah on 30 off Monty Panesar, while Cook let off Shafiq on 53 before Andrew Strauss floored Adnan Akmal on nought in Anderson’s first over with the second new ball.
Misbah saves the day again
Meanwhile, Misbah notched his 12th half-century in 14 Tests – and 16th in all – since being made Test captain in October 2010 and holds the key for Pakistan to post a challenging total on a pitch that was expected to help batsmen.
The right-hander has so far hit five boundaries and four sixes – all off Panesar – during his fighting 168-ball knock.
England were rewarded for picking two spinners in Swann and Panesar and introduced spin as early as the 10th over. Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq, who put on 114 for the opening wicket in the first Test, negotiated the first hour without discomfort before Swann gave England the breakthrough.
Taufeeq misjudged a delivery and lost his off-stump after playing no stroke on 16.
Panesar, brought in to replace paceman Chris Tremlett – flying home after a recurrence of a back injury – dropped Hafeez off his own bowling but had the Pakistan opener bowled off the very next ball. Broad then chipped in with the wickets of Younus Khan and Azhar Ali, both bowled on incoming deliveries to leave Pakistan struggling at 103 for four before Misbah and Shafiq saved them from further trouble.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2012.
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