Cricket

Ben Stokes sure England spinner Adil Rashid will bounce back against Pakistan

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Adil Rashid's team-mate Ben Stokes is confident the leg-spinner will have no trouble putting his miserable Test debut figures behind him.

Rashid's none for 163 gives him the all-time worst analysis by any Test debutant, as the hopes England placed in spin came to nought in Pakistan's 523 for eight declared at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Shoaib Malik's 245, and a century too from Asad Shafiq, left England surely needing to bat the majority of the remaining three days to avoid going 1-0 down at the start of their three-match series.

Their slow bowlers, including one over of off-spin from Stokes - who took late wickets with his more accustomed seam to finish with four for 57 - conceded 302 runs without a single success.

But after Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali provided hope that England may be able to mount a credible rearguard by reaching stumps on 56 without loss, Stokes reported there will be no mid-match team inquest into what went wrong for Rashid and others.

"I think it's just to do with how good sub-continent players are against spin," he said.

"We aren't looking into that deeply at all."

Shafiq (107) shared a fifth-wicket stand of 248 with Shoaib - and confirmed afterwards that Pakistan had deliberately targeted Rashid in his first Test.

"We made a plan against Adil Rashid not to let him settle," he said.

"We wanted to attack him, because he was on debut."

Stokes believes the Yorkshireman has the mettle to bounce back, when his next chance comes.

"He doesn't seem to get down too much, or too high," the all-rounder added.

"I've played a bit of one-day cricket with him - and when he's done well he hasn't got outside of his box or celebrated over the top.

"I think he's a pretty level-minded cricketer, and I think he'll be able to put this behind him."

Rashid could be forgiven some doubts, after toiling on a pitch offering so little to the bowlers.

Stokes said: "It hasn't gone the way he would have wanted it to, but I heard Asad say he was on his debut and they looked to target him - so it could easily have gone the other way as well.

"We've been here for two weeks and know how well he's been bowling in practice.

"Next time he has the ball in hand, we hope he can deliver something big."

Performances in limited-overs cricket helped to win Rashid a place on this tour.

Stokes added: "Adil has done very well in one-day cricket recently, so we all know he can perform on the big stage.

"He's thoroughly deserved his call-up - and if he gets another chance, he can easily change the game.

"Leg-spinners can go for runs, but they can also change games."

England endured more than five sessions in the extreme heat, but the seamers coped admirably - with only Stokes conceding more than three-an-over.

"It was a very tough day-and-a-half," he said.

"That's the longest I have ever spent in the field - 40 degrees doesn't help either - but all the bowlers stuck at their task very, very well.

"The seamers, we knew we wouldn't get much from the pitch or in the air, so we just had to plug away and not get bored - let the batsmen get bored before we did."

England's openers had an early scare each, but came through unscathed.

"Cooky and Mo have set the tone for the next two days of batting," said Stokes.

"To come off none down, after what could have been a dodgy 25 overs, is a great effort."

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