Joe Root’s unbeaten half-century helped England reach 182-3 at stumps on day two of the second Test on Friday after restricting Pakistan to 378.
Pakistan were bowled out before lunch, with some erratic slogging causing the hosts’ last five wickets to fall for just 44 runs.
Wahab Riaz and Imran Khan were entrusted with the new ball and skipper Misbahul Haq set an attacking field as he looked for an early wicket. Wahab had Moeen Ali (1) caught brilliantly by Shan Masood at short-leg.
England’s in-form skipper Alastair Cook was then joined at the crease by Ian Bell but the veteran right-hander was once again found wanting, feathering a full Imran delivery after making just four to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed as England slumped to 14-2.
Root and Cook — Test cricket’s top two run scorers in 2015 — repelled Pakistan’s ferocious onslaught to reach 105-2 at tea, although England’s skipper was fortunate to survive a scare on 27. Attempting to sweep Zulfiqar Babar, the ball struck his pad and skidded on to the stumps but the bails miraculously stayed on.
Misbah brought Yasir Shah to the fore as the light faded. The leg-spinner, the fastest man to 50 Test wickets for Pakistan, missed the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi with injury and initially did little, with England’s batsmen scoring freely until Pakistan’s skipper positioned a leg-slip.
Cook tried to guide a delivery round the corner but only found the hands of the newly-stationed fielder. England’s skipper walked for 65, his partnership with Root worth 113 runs.
Root remained unmoved, however, claiming a 15th Test half-century with a single through short-leg. He will resume on 76 with Jonny Bairstow on 27.
Pakistan had begun the day on 282-4, Misbah and Asad Shafiq resuming their partnership of 104 looking to once again post a daunting total for England. Mark Wood (3-39) partnered Stuart Broad as Cook opted to begin with an all-seam attack.
Broad’s impact was immediate, trapping Misbah lbw with the day’s fifth ball on his overnight score of 102.
Shafiq brought up his 12th Test half-century with a four through the slips as he and Sarfraz put on 52 before the wicketkeeper was caught at mid-on for 32.
Shafiq (83) was the last man out, caught at short midwicket.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.
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