Moeen Ali confident England can cause upset against Pakistan

Published Add your comment

Article continues below

Article continues below

Moeen Ali has blown his cover in the desert, but is increasingly confident in any case that England can inflict a rare series defeat on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Moeen figured in a century stand with Alastair Cook, on his first attempt as a Test opener in the drawn first match of three in Abu Dhabi.

While he was there, Cook had a secret weapon too - because his partner, well-versed in urdu thanks to his own Pakistani descent, was able to relay the hosts' plans against the England captain.

None worked, even long after Moeen was dismissed, as Cook stayed put for almost 14 hours to make 263 and help give his team a shot at a surprise victory until bad light prevented them completing the job.

Pakistan may be wise to keep their thoughts in whispers when the series resumes in Dubai on Thursday.

Even so, Moeen believes England have achieved a foothold in the sand and may be about to become the first tourists to beat Pakistan in a Test series since they relocated their home matches five years ago.

"I think they are a bit more aware," he said.

"They know we are here for the challenge, and have a good chance of winning the series."

Cook admitted to some frustration after England's near miss last week.

But the manner of their fighback, the captain's tireless double-century giving them a first-innings lead in reply to 523 for eight declared, has spread self-belief through the ranks.

"It's given us a lot of confidence and probably given Pakistan a bit of a nudge as well that we are here to be serious," added Moeen.

"We probably caught them off guard a bit in that last session, but I'm sure they'll come back stronger and be well aware of it now.

"It was a great effort by Cooky ... just what we needed, a big hundred for us, and it's great for the series.

"We know what he's like when he gets one score under his belt - he rolls them out."

Whether Cook will benefit again from Moeen's inside knowledge is questionable - but the all-rounder will be keeping his ear to the ground just in case.

"I do understand what they are saying," he said.

"When they had a plan for Cooky, I was telling him what they will do."

England's batsmen will face a new challenge this week, with Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah fit again after the back spasm which ruled him out of the first Test.

But Moeen does not sound too worried, even on a surface likely to favour ball over bat more than at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

"He's obviously their gun spinner and the guy they go to to win them games ... but we just need to play him as we would anyone, just get on with it.

"Batting will be tougher than Abu Dhabi, but we have some really good players of spin.

"I think Joe Root is probably the best player of spin in the world.

"So we aren't too fazed - we are preparing well, and full of confidence."

Moeen is a pivotal presence for England, not just with bat and ball, but as a close ally of his fellow spinner Adil Rashid too.

Rashid recovered from miserable first-innings figures of nought for 163 on debut to bowl England to the brink of a 1-0 lead - none of which came as a surprise to Moeen.

"I'm very happy for him.

"He took some stick in the first innings - but as a team we felt he bowled quite well actually."

Mid-match chats remained positive, and Rashid responded by taking five for 64.

Moeen said: "We just went out, got some food like we do every night, and just talked about how we are going to bowl in the second innings and maybe what he should have done.

"He felt he'd bowled all right - just (that) they attacked him on debut.

"He's not someone who gets down.

"We both have similar characters - we don't get down or get too over-excited.

"We kept telling him his wickets would come ... he's got so much talent, and if his confidence is high he'll be good."

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:


Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again