England put in a determined performance on the final day of their first warm-up match against Pakistan A. They restricted Pakistan A to 216 for five despite a gritty 92 not out by Ifitkhar Ahmed.
It ended up as a day when England had two vastly different sessions of cricket. In the morning, they performed strongly and held them to just 50 for three wickets, in 28 overs, two of them to Moeen Ali and one falling for the pace of Mark Wood.
The afternoon session produced the other end of the scale as England didn’t take a wicket as test hopeful Fawad Alam and Ahmed shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 112. England did not look like breaking the partnership and missed two half chances when Moeen Ali missed a hard caught and bowled chance and Alastair Cook dropped a straightforward chance at wide slip of Stuart Broad.
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These sort of half chances will need to be taken in a series where fine margins could decide the victor against a strong Pakistan side.
It was a promising start for Ali after his disappointing batting performance on the first day. He finished the day with impressive figures of 3-41.
Mark Wood also performed well and was arguably the pick of the four pace bowlers throughout the day with figures of 1-24 in his 13 overs.
It was a performance which is sure to boost his chances of being picked ahead of Steven Finn for the first test of the series and he felt pleased with how the two-day match went:
"I think this Pakistan side never got away from us... If we'd taken our half-chances it would have been a brilliant day.
“I’m hyperactive, I want to be in the action all the time, but I’ll have to adapt to keep my spot in the team.”
England's pace bowlers toiled on a day where none of the bowlers were used for any more than five over spells. Temperatures were in the 30s throughout the day and the bowlers were often given Ice filled towels to cool down throughout the day.
This day could come to serve England well though, in a series where they should expect many more tough and gruelling days like this one in the upcoming series.