September 29, 2023

England fightback rocks Pakistan

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Late wickets for Graeme Swann and James Anderson rounded off a vastly improved England display against Pakistan on the second day of the first Test in Dubai.

Swann removed captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the penultimate over before James Anderson bowled Abdur Rehman to leave the hosts 288-7, leading by 96.

Stuart Broad set the ball rolling with two quick wickets and England worked their way through the middle order.

Misbah frustrated England with a battling 52 before Swann’s late strike.

The Pakistan skipper has now gone past fifty 12 times in 13 Tests since taking over the captaincy in November 2010 and a typically controlled display looked certain to take the gloss off England’s day as the hosts’ lead neared 100.

But Swann managed to get a ball to turn sharply into the right-hander’s pads, and although umpire Billy Bowden gave the decision the batsman’s way, England got their man on review as replays showed the ball would have gone on to strike leg stump.

Four balls later, Anderson nipped a ball through Rehman’s defences and England had ended the day on a high.

Only once in the past 20 years have England won a Test after making fewer than 200 in the first innings, but if they can finish off the Pakistan tail on the third morning, Andrew Strauss and his side will firmly believe they can turn this match on its head.

England’s showing was all the more impressive given the manner in which Pakistan’s opening pair had set about taking the attack to their opponents at the start of the day.

After resuming on 42-0, Mohammad Hafeez cracked the fifth ball for four to set the tone for a one-sided spell in which the Pakistan openers struck eight boundaries in 10 overs.

A missed run-out by Ian Bell when Hafeez had 44 was the only real scare as both batsmen brought up their half-centuries and became the first Pakistan opening pair to post five century partnerships in Tests.

Broad made the breakthrough in an eventful over as he reacted to the disappointment of seeing Chris Tremlett drop Hafeez at mid-on by clean bowling Taufeeq for 58 from the very next ball.


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