Pakistan v England 1st Test day two: Malik magic subdues visitors
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 14, 2015
England’s decision to pick two spinners for this 1st Test with Pakistan (6/4 favourites with Coral) in Abu Dhabi has really back-fired so far, as debutant Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and part-timer Joe Root took no wickets for a combined 297 first innings runs.
Hosts batsmen Mohammad Hafeez (98), Asad Shafiq (107) and Shoaib Malik were the ones to capitalise on a poor-looking visiting bowing attack, the latter in particular after smashing 245 off 420 deliveries, to help their side to 523-8 before declaring.
All-rounder Ben Stokes was perhaps the one shining light for Trevor Bayliss’ recent Ashes winners from the opening two days, taking four scalps for 57 runs in his 17.1 overs. James Anderson, now in the top 10 all-time Test wicket takers list, managed two, while Stuart Broad and Mark Wood took one apiece.
So poor were England with the ball, that it was only Malik’s third Test hundred, from 32 matches, and first over 150. Shafiq, who was dropped on 10 by Ian Bell on day one, meanwhile, got his first ever ton against England.
Alastair Cook and co had their spirits shattered even more earlier on Wednesday too, with the news that Steven Finn has been ruled out of the entire tour due to a bone stress injury to his left foot. Chris Jordan is his replacement.
England have had a promising start, though, to their batting innings, with Cook (39) and new opening partner Moeen Ali (15) managing to make 56 without loss at stumps, but with a remaining target of 467 to surpass it is difficult to see them win (11/1) with three days to go. A draw (odds-on at 8/11) seems their best chance of going into the second Test unbeaten.
The likes of Bell, hoping to atone for his dropped catch, Root, Jonny Bairstow, Stokes, Jos Buttler and Rashid are all to come in the batting order, plus the tail-enders, in attempt to make some sort of fight back.