A Day For Bowlers In Dubai
Pakistan 99 (Broad 4-36)
England 104-6 (Strauss 41 not out)
Third Test, Dubai, day one
A combination of sloppy stroke play and helpful bowling conditions turned the first day of the final Test between Pakistan and England into something of a farce as 16 wickets fell for the sum total of just 203 runs on day one in the desert.
Pakistan began the day well, by winning the toss and choosing to bat, but, as far as their batsmen were concerned, it was downhill all the way from there as Taufeeq Umar fell for a duck in the first over to an inswinger from Jimmy Anderson. Things barely improved from then on as Azhar Ali, Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez each fell to Stuart Broad (four for 36), and Misbah-ul-Haq played down the wrong line to a ball from Anderson to leave Pakistan on 21 for five.
Fortunately, Asad Shafiq, whose stock continues to rise with each passing innings, held firm with an innings of 45, and, along with useful contributions from Saeed Ajmal (12) and Umar Gul (13), he inched Pakistan past their lowest Test total against England and towards three figures. He eventually fell to Monty Panesar (two for 25) and the end followed soon afterwards as Anderson bowled Gul to collect his third wicket and bowl the ‘hosts’ out for just 99.
However, if England thought the match was already won, they soon had their minds changed for them by Umar Gul who dispensed with Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott before they had reached double figures. Cook poked at a wide delivery and Trott fell over a straight one, which, it was revealed later, he should’ve reviewed, as England started badly.
Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss looked to have got things back on course with a third wicket stand of 57, but Pietersen’s dismissal for 32 – again to the left-arm spin of Abdur Rehman – opened the door on England’s fragile middle-order. Ian Bell fell once again to his tormentor-in-chief Saeed Ajmal – this time spectacularly stumped by Adnan Akmal – and Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior both added to England’s woes, and Rehman’s joy, before stumps, falling for 10 and six respectively.
Jimmy Anderson was then sent in as night-watchman by England to protect Stuart Broad and end what was a truly bizarre day on almost as bizarre a note. England, then, ahead by five runs but with just three batsmen left in the hutch.
© Cricket World 2012