Cook, Root fifties lead England charge
Pakistan 378 (Misbah 102) v
England 182-3 (Root 76no)
Second Test, Dubai, day two
Pakistan resumed their innings on their overnight score of 282 for four before being bowled out for 378.
England went on to close the day on 182 for three with Root unbeaten on 76 and Cook out for 65.
Stuart Broad (1-48) got the big wicket of Misbah-ul-Haq (102) in the first over of the day, trapping him plumb in front. Four overs later, Asad Shafiq (83) brought up his fifty, taking 111 balls to get to the landmark.
Along with Sarfraz Ahmed (32), Shafiq put on a 52-run stand for the sixth wicket to calm things down after Misbah’s dismissal.
Just after the drinks break, Ahmed was foxed by Moeen Ali’s (3-108) flight and holed out to mid-on where James Anderson (1-40) took a good low catch. Ali got his third wicket when Wahab Riaz (6) looked to get a big hit, but found Anderson at mid-on instead. This was Ali’s 50th Test wicket.
Yasir Shah played a brief cameo, hitting 16, but soon edged one to the slips off Adil Rashid (1-84) to leave Pakistan at 370 for eight.
Mark Wood (3-39) picked up his second victim by trapping Zulfiqar Babar (3) in front with an inswinging yorker. A desperate review from Babar showed the ball to be clipping the leg stump.
Shafiq was the last man to fall as he looked to get one over mid-wicket, but picked out Root on the stroke of lunch. Pakistan were bowled out for 378 runs after losing six wickets for 96 runs in the first session.
Wood and Ali picked up three victims each while the rest of the bowlers managed one wicket apiece.
England began their innings after the lunch break. Riaz (1-51) delivered an early blow when Ali (1) flicked one straight into the hands of Shan Masood at short leg. A couple of overs later, Imran Khan (1-26) bowled a full length delivery and drew Ian Bell (4) forward, only to induce a healthy edge through to the keeper.
England were struggling at 14 for two at this stage. Cook and Root began to rebuild the innings after the two quick strikes. Root was slightly more aggressive in his approach while Cook preferred to hang in and play the waiting game.
The England skipper had a really close shave when he swept a delivery onto his stumps but the bails managed to stay on, after which England went into the tea break with the score at 105 for two.
In the third over of the final session Cook brought up his fifty, getting there after 95 balls. During the course of his innings, Cook went past Graeme Smith on the list of most runs by an opening batsman in Tests.
Yasir (1-59) got the all-important wicket of Cook when he induced a flick straight into the hands of leg slip, reducing England to 127 for three.
The partnership between Cook and Root was worth 113 runs. Root was next to score a fifty – his 15th in Tests.
Jonny Bairstow (27 not out) joined Root and put on a 55-run unbeaten stand which saw England through to stumps, taken early when the umpires took the players off due to bad light.
From the 51 overs that were bowled, England scored 182 for three. Imran, Riaz and Yasir shared the three England wickets equally.
England still have a massive deficit of 196 runs to surmount with a couple of recognized batsmen to come. The morning session on day three will be crucial with Root and Bairstow key figures for England if they are to take up a dominant position.
Pakistan will return with plenty of overnight rest and will go all guns blazing in the first hour of play looking for early wickets. The unrelenting Dubai heat will make things difficult for Pakistan if the English pair digs and sees through the morning session.
© Cricket World 2015