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England took two valuable wickets by lunch after losing the toss in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai.
It appeared in an ominous first hour that England would surely struggle to stop their hosts piling up a mammoth first-innings score - as they did in last week's drawn series opener.
But two catches at short-leg by Jonny Bairstow, the second a stunning one rebounding off his chest from the full face of the bat to account for Shoaib Malik off Ben Stokes, kept Pakistan in relative check on 85 for two.
Opener Shan Masood (54 not out) put his two Abu Dhabi failures behind him with an attractive 81-ball half-century, however, including some impressive timing and placement among his seven fours and a six off Moeen Ali over long-off.
There was little evident help for James Anderson and Stuart Broad with the new ball, and Alastair Cook turned to the spin of Moeen in just the eighth over.
Mark Wood then replaced Anderson, and tried the short ball several times against Masood - with leg-side catchers in and out - but to no avail.
Instead, it was Mooen who struck first when Mohammad Hafeez edged a hint of turn bat-pad to end an opening stand of 51 - and then three overs later, Shoaib was unlucky to fall to such an outstanding piece of work from Bairstow.