Taylor's gritty half-century gives England edge on day two
England 222-4 (Taylor 74) v
Pakistan 234 (Misbah 71)
Third Test, Sharjah, day two
James Taylor, made a remarkable comeback in the longer format with an unbeaten gritty knock of 74, taking England to 222 for four at stumps on day two, just 12 behind Pakistan's first innings total, in the third Test in Sharjah.
Taylor (74 not out) along with Jonny Bairstow (37 not out) added an unbeaten 83-run stand for the fifth wicket, putting a halt to the momentum built by the Pakistan bowlers in the first two sessions.
England restarted their innings on the overnight score of four for naught.
Six overs into the day’s play, Moeen Ali (14) tried to slog Shoaib Malik (1-16) across the line but could only manage a top edge that was caught at slip.
Ian Bell (40) got going with a powerful six down the ground and then settled into his game.
Along with Alastair Cook (49), he began playing with caution and took fewer risks as the session ticked by. Halfway into the session, England were 45 for one.
Bell and Cook brought up their fifty-run stand for the second wicket in the 27th over.
Towards the end of the session, Cook eased up by hitting a couple of boundaries. England ended the first session positioned at 87 for one.
It took Pakistan just three overs in the post-lunch session to break the 71-run stand between Cook and Bell.
The England captain was caught at short leg off Yasir Shah (2-79). It was the third time in the series that Shah had dismissed Cook.
Joe Root (4) too did not last long at the crease as he edged a fuller delivery through to the keeper off Rahat Ali (1-35). England were reduced to 97 for three at that stage.
In the 55th over of the day, Pakistan reviewed a lbw appeal against Taylor (74 not out). Replays showed that the ball was missing the stumps completely.
Bell and Taylor managed to take England through to tea without further ado. England had reached 135 for three entering into tea.
In the very first over of the final session, Pakistan reviewed a caught behind decision against Bell, only for the third umpire to stand with the onfield call. Replays were fairly inconclusive giving a respite for the veteran batsman.
There was more drama in the over as Bell drove a delivery which hit Azhar Ali (0-7) at silly-point and lobbed up in the air, but the fielder was caught unawares.
However, Bell ran out of luck when he decided to attack a Shah delivery which drifted in and turned away. He was unable to lay bat on ball and the wicket-keeper effected a quick stumping.
England were 139 for four when Jonny Bairstow (37 not out) came in to bat. After seeing himself in, Bairstow attacked with a couple of boundaries as the game went into the final hour of the day.
Soon, Taylor reached his half-century, needing 100 balls to get to the milesone.
A few overs later, Bairstow and Taylor notched up a fifty-run stand. England reached the 200 run mark in the 86th over.
The pair scored at a slightly better pace towards the end of the day. At stumps, England managed to score 222 for four, just 12 runs away from Pakistan’s first innings total.
Shah was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Rahat and Malik got one wicket each. Wahab Riaz (0-23) was the most economical bowler on display.
© Cricket World 2015