A below par batting effort in the first innings of the final test match England has left Pakistan in a precarious position at the end of day 1 at the historic Sharjah cricket ground. Although the pitch had assistance for the spinners but it was mostly the Pakistan batsman who played poor strokes.
Pakistan having won the toss elected to bat first and made two changes in their lineup. Azhar Ali came in for Shan Masood while the injured Imran khan was replaced by Rahat Ali. England decided to go in with three spinners as they brought in Samit PAtel for Mark Wood and Buttler was replaced by James Taylor.
The decision to put Azhar Ali in the opening slot did not work at all as he has dismissed for a duck by pacer Jamie Anderson. Hafeez and Malik tried to stitch a good partnership but their 44 runs stand was brought to an end when Hafeez tried to bludgeon Moeen Ali towards the mid wicket but in the process of trying to hit the ball to hard he top edged it to Broad. Pakistan were 87-2 at Lunch.
Straight after Lunch Pakistan lost another wicket in the form of Malik who poked at a ball outside his off stump and edged it to keeper Bairstow off the bowling of the bowling of Stuart Broad. Pakistan kept on losing wicket at regular intervals as Younis khan after having palyed himself in missed a full toss by Anderson to be declared out LBW. Asad Shafiq was dismissed by Samit Patel and at this stage Pakistan was reeling at 116-5.
Pakistan needed a partnership to stage a comeback and this was provided by the flamboyant Sarfraz and the dependable Misbah. The duo combined to make 80 runs but at this stage Sarfraz played a poor shot and was caught at deep midwicket off the bowling Moeen Ali. This was a critical juncture as Pakistan lost their last five wicket after adding just 38 runs and handed England a significant advantage on day 1. Captain Misbah scored 71 runs and tried to bat with the tail but played a rather poor shot to hand his wicket to Anderson during the late stages of the day.
James Anderson took 4 wickets while Stuart Broad, Samit Patel and Moeen Ali picked up two wickets each for the visitors. The English bowlers bowled a probing line and length which helped them reap rewards in the form of wickets. Their were spell where they dried up the run scoring rate of the Pakistan batsmen and made them play some extremely low key shots.
England had to survive just 2 overs before the close of play and that they did without losing any wicket and were 4-0 at stumps.
Pakistan will have to bowl out of their skins on day 1 but they should be happy to see the fact that the pitch will turn a bit and the spin twins in the form of Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar can trouble the batsmen. The catching by the Pakistan fielders should be spot on because they can not afford such mishaps on the field.
Finally this is perhaps the best chance for England to assert their authority over the Pakistan team and pile up a good total to strengthen their position even further in this test match.