Visitors come agonisingly close to pulling off miracle draw but fall 39 balls short
Pakistan’s bowlers wore down a tough resistance from England’s tail to win the second Test by an emphatic 178-run margin that did injustice to the visitor’s defiance on the final day in Dubai on Monday.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah (4-87) and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (3-53) shared the bowling honours as England, set a daunting 491-run target, were bowled out for 312 late on the fifth day with just 6.3 overs left in the match at Dubai to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
A win earlier in the day was very much on the cards, but England’s ninth wicket pair of Rashid and Mark Wood (29) put up a valiant fight for 29.2 overs in a 55-run partnership.
2nd Test: Pakistan beat England in nail-biting finish
Babar ended Wood’s resistance while Yasir finished the match by ending Rashid’s 239-minute resistance by having him caught in the covers in the fading light as Pakistan fielders embraced each other.
Pakistan had sensed victory at lunch with just four wickets to take but first Rashid and Broad frustrated them through their 60-run stand for the eighth wicket and then the Rashid-Wood partnership lasted for nearly two-and-half hours.
Wahab bowled Broad before tea to bring Pakistan just two strikes away from the win, but Rashid and Wood carried England to 285-8 at tea with 31 overs remaining.
Teaching himself to Misbah-ave
Pakistan could have finished the game before the break but Mohammad Hafeez dropped a regulation catch in slip when Rashid edged a Yasir delivery on 42. Rashid completed his maiden Test fifty soon after tea, pushing for a quick single off Wahab. The victory was important for Pakistan after they narrowly escaped defeat in the first Test in Abu Dhabi when bad light helped them draw the match in the final minutes.
Qadir left unimpressed
Legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir has said that Pakistan may have won the Test but there is little cause to celebrate after England almost pulled off a draw.
Qadir referred to the improvements England have made since their 2012 tour, when they were whitewashed 3-0.
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“If I had to sum up the second Test, I would say that Pakistan were lucky to win it,” Qadir told The Express Tribune. “There is no reason to celebrate winning it with just six overs remaining in our ‘home’ conditions. This shows that England are improving quickly whereas Pakistan aren’t. For me, England have been the real winners.”
The 60-year-old said the match would not have lasted as long had the situation been reversed. “Put Pakistan in England’s position and we would never have survived for so long in English conditions. We should come out of the bubble of winning in the UAE.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2015.
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