Overall though the match was dominated by Pakistan, especially after Riaz’s sensational burst on the third morning
Pakistan almost ran out of time and overs before dislodging an incredibly obdurate and plucky England lower-order to record a 178-run win in the second Test in Dubai. The writing was on the wall for the visitors at lunch, precariously placed as they were on 187 for six. Only a handful of overs after lunch should have been enough to administer the last rites. But Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood made Pakistan toil in the relentless heat. The fatigued fingers of spinners Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar momentarily lost their magic and bite; Wahab Riaz ran in ball after ball— all to no avail. At long last, however, Rashid fell to Yasir, but not before the rookie all-rounder had displayed exemplary defensive technique and application scoring 61 runs off 172 balls in four hours of defiance. Only 6.3 overs were left in the match when Pakistan went into a celebratory overdrive in the backdrop of the setting sun following Rashid’s dismissal.
Overall though the match was dominated by Pakistan, especially after Riaz’s sensational burst on the third morning, his brilliant bowling combined with the wiles of Yasir, ensuring a 136-run lead. The batsmen also gave a good account of themselves with Younus Khan, Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Hafeez scoring freely to set England an insurmountable target. Younus posted the 31st century of his Test career and has now become the first Pakistani player to amass 9,000 Test runs. In addition, his second-innings ton assured him of a place in the top-ten century makers’ list. Misbah’s captaincy was exceptional even in the dying moments of the Test when tired bodies and minds were struggling to concentrate. Pakistan now have a wonderful opportunity of recording a second successive Test series win over England in the UAE. Any complacent thoughts, however, can easily turn the tide the English way. A win in the third Test in Sharjah that starts on November 1 will ensure Pakistan’s rise to number two in the ICC Test rankings. That should provide great motivation to go all out for another memorable win.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.
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