Cricket

Second test hangs in the balance after England fight back

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Alastair Cook and Joe Root put on a hundred partnership as England reached 182-3 in reply to Pakistan's 378 all out on the second day in Dubai.

England produced a strong performance in the first session of the day finishing off the Pakistan innings by taking the last six wickets for just 96 runs.

The men in green had finished the first day with a strong platform to build from before disaster struck in the first over of the day. Stuart Broad gave the overnight centurion and Misbah-ul-Haq, a working over with four good short balls. One struck Misbah on the gloves, before pitching one up and getting the Pakistan skipper leg before wicket. His early dismissal meant the batsman has now scored less than 102 in six of his nine test centuries.

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Pakistan wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed then came to the crease to join Asad Shafiq, as they rebuilt the innings respectably with a 52 run partnership. Ahmed chipped up a catch to James Anderson at mid-on of the bowling from the impressive Moeen Ali. It was Ali's 50th test wicket and only three England spinners have reached the milestone faster.

The collapse truly began with Wahab Riaz top edging a wild swipe to Anderson off Ali, before Yasir Shah fell to Adil Rashid poking to slip. Mark Wood was then brought back into the attack and dismissed Zulfiqar Babar and Asad Shafiq, the latter for a valiant 82, to wrap up the Pakistan innings. Ali and Wood were the pick of the bowlers; both finishing with three wickets.

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England went out to bat and started shakily with Ali falling for just one after an extraordinary catch by short leg fielder Shan Masood. Ian Bell never looked settled at the crease before falling for four, edging Imran Khan to the wicket keeper.

The end for Bell?

This failure takes Bell's average to just 19 in his last 20 innings, in which he has fallen for less than 15 on 14 occasions. It may begin to signal the end of the career for a man who has played some fabulous innings over the years, as England look to usher James Taylor back into the side.

Joe Root joined Cook at the crease with the score 14 for two, as they batted intelligently to take the score to 127-3, before the captain was out for 65 to returning leg-spinner Yasir Shah. England reached the close 196 runs behind the hosts with three days left to play.

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Topics:
Cricket
England cricket
Pakistan cricket

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