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Pakistan defiant as England's hopes of unlikely win fade

Pakistan defiant as England's hopes of unlikely win fade
October 17, 2015
ABU DHABI - Pakistan reached 102-3 at tea on the final day of the first Test on Saturday, 27 runs ahead of England as the match ebbed towards a stalemate. Abu Dhabi's lifeless pitch has tormented both teams' bowlers. Pakistan declared on 523-8 on Wednesday, England then taking nearly three days to reach 598-9 in their first innings before skipper Alastair Cook called on the hosts to bat again mid-Saturday morning. Starting 75 runs behind, Pakistan's task was to remain at the crease for the rest of the Test, while England's hopes of claiming an improbable victory were boosted after James Anderson ripped into Pakistan's top order. The tourists began the morning on 569-8. Pakistan paceman Imran Khan clean bowled Adil Rashid (12), the ball moving off the seam to reduce England to 590-9 before Cook swiftly declared. Stuart Broad returned to the pavilion 17 not out, while Anderson -- unbeaten on three -- appeared annoyed. Cook's decision, however, was soon justified, the England skipper laying out an aggressive field and starting with seam duo Anderson and Broad in attack as Pakistan returned to bat. In his first over, Anderson bowled Shan Masood (1), the opener scuffing the ball onto his wicket as England's two dozen boisterous fans serenaded their hero. Four deliveries later, Shoaib Malik walked after lofting Anderson's bouncer to Jonny Bairstow for an easy catch at short leg. Pakistan's first innings hero was out for a duck and his team were reeling on 3-2, still 72 behind England. Mohammad Hafeez (34) and Pakistan's record run scorer Younis Khan then steadied the hosts as the afternoon session progressed before a misunderstanding and some brilliant fielding ended their 44-run partnership. Hafeez nicked the ball to the covers and Younis called a quick single. Hafeez fatally hesitated and Ben Stokes dislodged the non-striker's bails from 20 yards. Pakistan were now 47-3, still 28 behind England, with veteran captain Misbah-ul-Haq next to bat. Misbah, 41, and Younis went defensive, Pakistan making nine runs in the 10 overs following the run out, while England skipper Cook used six bowlers to little avail despite several appeals. Misbah was 25 not out at tea and Younis 40 unbeaten. Only about 100 spectators were present for the first Test's seemingly inevitable conclusion. The teams and fans alike will be hoping for more unpredictable pitches in the remaining two Tests in Dubai (Oct. 22-26) and Sharjah (Nov. 1-5). –Reuters
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