Third test commences in Sharjah on Sunday 1st November
Dubai, UAE – England fell to a 1-0 defeat in the series as the Three Lions left themselves with work to do on the last day in the second test.
A century for Misbah-ul-Haq and half centuries for Shan Masood and Younus Khan put Pakistan in the driving seat with Misbah reaching the end of day one on 102*. The tourists took the upper hand early on, sending three of Pakistan’s batsmen back to the pavilion with Masood making a half century before being caught by Jos Buttler off of James Anderson’s off-cutter variation with the score at 85-3.
This wicket bought Misbah into bat with eventual half centurion Khan to take control from the visitors. The pair added 93 before Khan was caught behind by Buttler off of Mark Wood leaving his side 178-4 to bring Asad Shafiq to the crease. The partnership between the batsmen became increasingly troubling for the bowling attack as the runs kept increasing without the loss of a wicket. The pair reached the last over with their partnership on 89 with six balls left to face as Moeen Ali walked to bowl the last over of the day. Misbah hit the first two deliveries for six to take his total to 99 with a reverse sweep bringing up the century adding another run to finish on an unbeaten 102, with Shafiq ending the day four short of his half century in a partnership of 104 ahead of the second day of the second test.
On day two, Pakistan continued with Misbah and Shafiq at the crease only to lose their captain early on without adding a run, falling LBW to Stuart Broad after receiving a number of short deliveries followed by a pitched up delivery that dismissed the 41 year old for 102. Shafiq made his half century while making a 50 partnership with Sarfraz Ahmed who fell for 32 playing a poor shot to the hands of Anderson. Wood eventually got the wanted wicket of Shafiq for 82, finishing the innings with figures of 3-39, the best bowling figures for the visitors as the batting side finished on 378.
Ali didn’t help his case for opening the batting, falling for one run in a partnership of five. Ian Bell fell nine runs later for four to give confidence to the bowling attack yet to bring on their spinning threat. Joe Root entered the fray with all to do with the score at 14. The reliable Root provided much needed stability with Cook, similar to that of Misbah and Shafiq in a partnership of 113 when the captain was caught at leg slip bringing Jonny Bairstow to the crease. A nervy start saw the batsman provide a main stay for the rest of day two with Yorkshire batsman Root still also at the crease going into day three.
182-3 was where England resumed with Root and Bairstow still at the crease on day three, after star batsmen Root fell 24 runs into the day on 88 wickets fell fast as Trevor Bayliss’ side were skittled. Six wickets fell for only 36 runs with three wickets falling for six runs as Wahab Riaz’s pace and Yasir Shah’s spin ripped through England’s lower order with Buttler once again producing little or in this case nothing. Bairstow was caught LBW four short of his half century as the Three Lions finished on 242, 136 runs short of Pakistan’s 378.
Masood was caught behind for one run as Pakistan made a similar start to England with Shaoib Malik falling for seven, bowled by Wood. Just as England thought they had made a foothold in the game, Khan and Mohammad Hafeez quickly extended the deficit between the two sides on the scoreboard, Hafeez making an unbeaten half century before a Root catch off of Wood’s bowling allowed the threatening Misbah to create a deadly partnership with Khan. The pair saw out day three as a lead of 358 runs was going to be a hard feat to achieve with batting still to come for Pakistan with Misbah on 87* and Khan on 71* and the score 222-3.
Day four was upon the tourists with wickets needed and fast. Misbah fell early on the next day, similar to his first innings while Khan pushed on to make 118 and Shafiq made 79 before Pakistan’s declaration 491 runs ahead of England at 354-6. In an innings where 354 runs were scored, Anderson bowled seven maidens, achieving 2-22 as his side’s top bowler. The record chase started in typical England style, both openers falling with 19 on the board with Cook seemingly carrying an injury.
Bell made up for his lackluster first innings with Root not giving away any chances to a wicket hungry Pakistan bowling attack. Bell, four runs short of his half century, finally gave Pakistan a sniff which saw the batsman dismissed, a nick that was caught behind as once again a shaky Bairstow walked out to the middle. Once again, the pair saw England through to the close as Pakistan needed seven wickets on the final day to succeed in a likely victory with the batting side ending day four 121-3.
Root and Bairstow continued on day five and the Yorkshire batsman fell within the first hour for 71 with England 36 runs better off. Bairstow fell six runs later for 22 as the match slowly started to slip away from the batting side. Stokes and Buttler fell for a combined total of 20 runs as the lower order of Adil Rashid, Broad and Wood put up a brilliant fight to deny Pakistan a well-deserved win both in their batting and bowling performances throughout the second test. Broad and Rashid made a 60 partnership, 30 runs scored by Broad who was bowled by Riaz. The incoming Wood combined with Rashid to take England from 253-8 to 308-9. Anderson looked to put up the defensive wall required to claim a draw. Four runs later, Rashid played an unneeded attacking shot to cover point where the Yorkshire bowler found Zulfiqar Babar to catch off Shah’s spin and hand the second test to Pakistan with the opposition elated as expected.
After the defeat, Alastair Cook spoke to the BBC about the key areas of the game that contributed to the eventual defeat, stating the loss of seven wickets for 36 runs as being the biggest downfall:
“In these conditions you can’t afford those two or three hours.”
The England captain went on to state his disappointment as to getting so close, but not getting over the line:
“You always think that it is never over. Mark Wood and Jimmy Anderson are capable so it wasn’t impossible. Some good things have come out of this but we shouldn’t have been in that position.”
With one test match left in the series, questions are asked over how the team will shape up in Sharjah and whether changes will be made after two tests with an unchanged line up. James Taylor deserves a chance in place of Buttler with Bairstow moving into the wicket keeper role. With Cook’s spin options being that of inconsistency, Samit Patel becomes an option with Cook previously suggesting he has no problem selecting all three if required. The opening spot has also got no resolution with Ali not providing any permanent solution with a string of inconsistent performances over the tour.
England go into the final test with a 1-0 loss after drawing in the first test. The last test commences in Sharjah on 1st November with a win needed not to lose the series.
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