Category Archives: Cricket

England can still defeat Pakistan, says James Taylor

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James Taylor: England are still confident in winning against Pakistan

Despite falling considerably behind Pakistan, England are still confident of winning the third and final Test according to batsman James Taylor.

Pakistan are 146-3 after day three and have a lead of 74 runs over England, who must win to avoid a series defeat.

“We’re confident in chasing whatever target they set us,” Taylor, 25, told BBC Sport.

“The wicket is playing better than it has done all game and everyone can see that we are playing spin a lot better.”

England have the disadvantage of batting last on a pitch that has offered assistance to the spin bowlers throughout, with Pakistan’s slow bowlers taking eight wickets between them in England’s first-innings total of 306 all out.

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Pakistan vs England: Misbah-ul-Haq century stumps tourists

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It will take much for England to strike back against Misbah’s century.

Second Test, Dubai, day one

Pakistan 282-4: Misbah 102*, Younus 56

England: Yet to bat

A hundred from Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq seized the initiative after England threatened to take control of the second Test on day one in Dubai.

Misbah, 41, hit two sixes off Moeen Ali’s final over of the day to reach 102 and take Pakistan to 282-4.

A disciplined bowling performance had earlier seen Pakistan reduced to 178-4.

James Anderson, Moeen, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes took a wicket each, while Shan Masood (54) and Younus Khan (56) made half-centuries.

Misbah averages more than 57 with the bat as Pakistan captain, but may have felt in debt to his side after a rash stroke in the first Test sparked a collapse that set up England’s unlikely push for victory.

He initially looked uncomfortable against England’s pace bowlers and was hit on the head by a Wood bouncer, as well as edging Stokes just short of the slips.

But he swept the spin of Moeen and Adil Rashid with aplomb as well as hitting the inconsistent Rashid for three straight sixes.

England Pacers Impress

England can be pleased with their effort on a surface that holds few problems for batsmen, but one that has offered more encouragement for the pace bowlers than the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi.

Just as they did in Dubai, England’s quartet of pace bowlers impressed with both a constant wicket threat and the ability to keep Pakistan’s batsmen in check.

After Moeen had opener Mohammad Hafeez loop an inside-edge to short leg, Stokes got Shoaib Malik to push in the same direction, where Jonny Bairstow took a brilliant one-handed catch to grab a rebound off his own chest.

Anderson rolled his fingers over an off-cutter from the very first delivery after lunch to have Masood poking behind, while Stokes and Wood caused problems during a fourth-wicket stand of 93 between Misbah and Younus.

Stokes, described as “not 100% fit” by captain Alastair Cook following a stomach virus, found reverse swing in the air and movement off the seam, while the hostile Wood was eventually rewarded when Younus was caught down the leg side.

England Strikes Back

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Cook leads England reply with classy unbeaten 168

England’s Alastair Cook has now scored a Test century in all nine countries he played in.

First Test, Abu Dhabi, day three

Pakistan 523-8 dec: Malik 245, Shafiq 107; Stokes 4-57

England 290-3: Cook 168*, Bell 63

England trail by 233 runs

It was an uphill battle, but a resolute Captain Alastair Cook leads England’s reply with a splendid unbeaten 168 in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.

On Cook’s watch, England ground along to 290 for 3 by the close, a position of relative serenity given their travails in the field on the first two days.

The bulk of his work was split between two century partnerships, first with Moeen Ali, who was a qualified success in his first outing as a Test opening batsman, and then with a hard-grafting Ian Bell, who eventually found his feet, and his footwork, after a horrifically jittery start before slashing at a wide one from Wahab Riaz in the closing overs of the day.

He batted throughout the third day but England lost two wickets in three overs late on as they closed on 290-3, needing 34 more to avoid the follow-on.

Those two wickets for four runs boosted Pakistani spirits on another day when bat dominated ball, on a soporific surface which has been widely criticized.

Cook’s 28th Test century was typical of so many of his previous 27, founded on patience, discipline and excellent shot selection.

His approach was unaffected by the departure of Moeen, who was caught behind for 35 pushing at Rahat Ali shortly before lunch to end a patient first innings as a Test opener.

Cook had made 147 by the time he offered a chance, substitute fielder Fawad Alam dropping a tumbling effort at backward square-leg off a top-edged sweep.

Malik-Shafiq Duo Demolishes England

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Shafiq helped Pakistan put on a record score against England for the fifth wicket

Scoreboard: England 56 for 0 (Cook 39*, Moeen 15*) trail Pakistan 523 for 8 dec (Malik 245, Shafiq 107, Stokes 4-57) by 467 runs

Shoaib Malik registered his maiden Test double century to put Pakistan in a commanding position on the second day of the first Test against England.

Malik, playing his first Test in five years, hit 245 and shared in a record fifth-wicket partnership of 248 with fellow centurion Asad Shafiq (107).

Shafiq alongside him chipped in with a century of his own, and though both men survived notable moments of good fortune on the first day of the contest, neither offered another sniff of an opportunity.

It was until an improbable clatter of wickets after tea, when fatigue and the impending declaration enabled England’s toiling seamers to massage their stats, in particular Ben Stokes who emerged with the oddly respectable figures of 4 for 57.

The Malik-Shafiq partnership was a fifth-wicket record for Pakistan in Tests against England, beating the 197-run stand at Lord’s between Javed Burki and Nasim-ul-Ghani that had stood since 1962.

It continued their run of staggering batting form in Tests in Abu Dhabi, where they have never yet lost a match and where they have now recorded 11 hundreds in their last two-and-a-half Tests, dating back to the visit of Australia last October.

Too Hot for England?

England toiled in the Abu Dhabi heat, failing to take a wicket until the final session of the day.

However, Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali saw the tourists to 56-0 at the close.

Cook, in particular, looked fluent as he reached 39 not out while Moeen (15 not out) was more watchful against a combination of intimidating pace from Wahab Riaz and wily spin from slow left-armer Zulfiqar Babar.

Captain Cook, who has now shared in half-century partnerships with Moeen in each of their four innings batting together, did have one momentary scare when he almost chopped on.

In the same motion, the left-hander appeared as though he might try and handle the ball but, luckily for England, he resisted and saw England to the close 467 runs in arrears.

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England captain Alastair Cook stood firm to bring his team back.