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Cook falls for 263 as England move ahead

Alastair Cook acknowledges applause after being dismissed for 263 on day four in Abu Dhabi
Alastair Cook acknowledges applause after being dismissed for 263 on day four in Abu Dhabi
©REUTERS / Action Images

England 569-8 (Cook 263, Root 85, Bell 63) v
Pakistan 523-8 dec. (Shoaib Malik 245, Asad Shafiq 107)
First Test, Abu Dhabi, day four

Alastair Cook was finally dismissed for 263 on day four of the opening Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi after batting his side into the lead, England closing on 569 for eight in reply to Pakistan's 523 for eight declared.

Ben Stokes and Joe Root also scored half-centuries as bat continued to dominate ball and it was not until the final session of the day that a spinner - Shoaib Malik - took a wicket for the first time in the match when he bowled Stokes.

Root's 85 and Stokes' 57 kept England on course although Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler missed out, making eight and 23 respectively as Wahab Riaz returned three for 116 and Zulfiqar Babar also grabbed a wicket.

Cook's 263 is the second highest innings of his Test career, behind only the 294 he managed against India at Edgbaston in 2011 and it helped England stretch their lead to 46 by stumps.

Sarfraz Ahmed dropped a tough chance off Cook behind the stumps very early into the day, before the first boundary of the day came off Cook’s bat, 12 overs into the first session.

Root survived a DRS review off Imran Khan (1-72), who was appealing for a lbw. The umpire's not out call stood as the replays indicated that the ball was barely clipping the top of the stumps.

Halfway through the first session, England were at 327 for three.

Root completed his fifty with a reverse sweep off Malik (2-97). The 100-run stand between Cook and Root came up in the 139th over.

The England skipper brought up his third Test double hundred, taking 395 deliveries to get there. 110 runs came from the first session, at the end of which England had reached 400 for three.

In the second over after the lunch break, Cook struck Khan for a boundary straight down the ground. Soon, Cook went past Mike Gatting to post the highest individual score by an England batsman in Asia.

Root missed out on a century when he edged one to the keeper off Rahat Ali (1-73) in the 153rd over. His stand with Cook was worth 141 runs.

Wahab Riaz (3-116) accounted for Bairstow by trapping him in front - Bairstow’s review went in vain as the ball was just clipping the stumps.

Stokes was handed a life when a tough chance went down at gully by Asad Shafiq. At the time Riaz was troubling the England batsmen with his fiery spell of reverse swing. England survived and at tea, had managed to reach 468 for five.

Stokes started the final session positively by hitting two boundaries in the first three overs. Meanwhile, Cook completed 9,000 Test runs as an opening batsman and soon brought up his 250.

Stokes reached a stroke-filled half-century in 77 balls as England went past Pakistan’s total of 523 in the 182nd over.

The swashbuckling all-rounder became the first victim of spin bowling in the match when he was castled by Malik.

Cook’s marathon innings ended when he holed out to square leg off Malik. His knock was the longest Test Innings by an England batsman in Asia in terms of minutes.

During the course of the day, he also went past Jacques Kallis as the highest run-getter among overseas batsmen in Asia.

Babar (1-180) finally accounted for a wicket when Buttler chipped a catch to cover after playing one shot too many.

Three overs later, the umpires called off the day’s play due to bad light. England scored 569 for eight at stumps on day four, with a lead of 46.

Riaz was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets while Malik accounted for two. With just one day left and first innings yet to be completed, a draw seems to be the probable result.

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