England's tormentor turns game on its head

Pakistan 257 England 207-5: Cook and Trott heroics but late wickets for Ajmal give Pakistan hope on absorbing day

Sheikh Zayed Stadium

Two elements were vital for England to win the second Test. They had to bowl as well as they had in the first and bat about 15 times better. Towards the end of a gruelling second day here in Abu Dhabi yesterday, the initial objective having been achieved, the second began to unravel before a profusion of high-class spin bowling.

An agonising battle for survival that England seemed to be winning turned into a form of torture. Each ball delivered by Pakistan might have brought a wicket and when it did not there was usually a vociferous, unsettling appeal to create further discomfort. The ball was turning, bouncing and generally behaving in a diabolical fashion. Fielders crowded round the bat, jostling for the batsmen's attention, daring them to avoid hitting it in their direction.

Four wickets fell in the final session, all to spin and three of them to the man who has come to torment England, Saeed Ajmal, and his third to the final ball of the day. He had to toil for 25 overs before he struck, kept at bay by a diligent, though never assertive, second-wicket partnership of 139 between Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott.

It was the fourth stand between them of three figures in 14 innings and they both did as they do. It was difficult to watch Cook against the slower bowlers early in the innings as England added 30 runs in the first 19 overs after their introduction. But Cook is the kind of batsman who will never be embarrassed out. It is his bounden duty to occupy the crease.

If anything, he was more fluent than his partner as the day wore on, at least planting one foot down the wicket, but these things are relative. The feeling persisted that one breach could lead to terrible damage.

From 166 for 1, England hobbled to the close on 207 for 5, the cream of their batting once more painfully exposed, and in the last 30 minutes all they wanted in the world was for proceedings to end. It was enthralling stuff, all the better for being witnessed for the first time in the series by nearly enough people to meet a lexicographer's definition of a crowd.

England started batting earlier than they might have expected when they brought Pakistan's first innings to an end in 16 balls at the start of the day with only one run added. The key wicket was that of Misbah-ul-Haq, who was leg before to another probing ball from Stuart Broad that nipped back.

Misbah asked for a review, presumably exercising the captain's prerogative since the ball was hitting middle. It was the forerunner of a bad day for Pakistani reviews. Had England's captain, Andrew Strauss, been offered a Pakistan total of 257 he would not have bothered bartering. But he might, just, have settled for the opponents scoring a few more if he could have had some runs himself.

The batting gods have deserted him in the desert. Barely had spin been introduced – though it was long enough for him to show his defective footwork against it – than he prodded a catch to short leg off part-time spinner Mohammad Hafeez.

But there was to be no reprise of what happened in Dubai in the first Test. England exuded diligence and throughout almost two sessions' worth of cricket, their second-wicket pair repelled what came their way.

It was never pretty, partly because that would be a contradiction in terms when Cook and Trott are batting, partly because they had to atone for their inexplicable approach last week in Dubai. Trott survived overambitious reviews of lbw appeals by a Pakistan side eager to make swift inroads.

The batsman was unperturbed. On his way to 74, he overtook Peter Richardson as the England batsman to have scored most Test runs without having hit a six. The idea of him hitting a six in these circumstances was preposterous and he played strictly within his limitations, largely ignoring any cross-batted shots. He still has plenty of other high-scoring, non-six-hitting names in his way but all the signs yesterday were that he can overhaul the likes of Glenn Turner, Bill Ponsford and the non-six-hitting daddy of them all, Vijay Manjrekar.

Just as it seemed possible that England might somehow see out the day with only one wicket down, the nature of the match changed entirely. Trott played half-forward to the left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman. It was a peach of ball, pitching before the batsman could reach it, turning and hitting off-stump.

Kevin Pietersen never settled, trying to impose himself but never quite sure of the most proficient way to do it. He used his feet often enough but the movement was as adroit as a dad dancing at his daughter's wedding. He departed shortly after Cook had been deceived by Ajmal's doosra and was palpably leg before. Five runs later, Pietersen advanced down the pitch again and his forcing shot elicited an inside edge on to his pad. The ball flew low to slip where Hafeez took an alert, low catch. Pietersen could consider himself unfortunate but, as with Strauss, the cricketing gods are not smiling on him at the moment.

To watch Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan in the next six overs was to see sporting hardship. They were bewildered and perplexed and three times Bell, beaten by spin, winked in sheer relief at the bowler. Morgan crouched low at the crease but it was of no help.

Somehow, they poked and prodded their way to the end of the day. Almost. To the penultimate ball of the final over, Morgan pushed forward and edged a turning ball to slip for Hafeez to snaffle another.

How far it seemed then from the day's opening overs when England's fast bowlers strutted their stuff. No sooner had Broad dismissed Misbah than Jimmy Anderson took two wickets in four balls, the second to the first catch of the innings. It would have been the first Test innings for 62 years in which none of the 10 wickets had fallen to catches. Since England had already dropped four, Junaid Khan could consider himself unlucky and history could feel cheated.

 

Abu Dhabi: Scoreboard

Second Test: England trail Pakistan by 50 runs with five first-innings wickets in hand
Second day of five; Pakistan won toss;
PAKISTAN First Innings (overnight: 256-7; Asad Shafiq 58)
*Misbah ul-Haq lbw b Broad: 84
173 balls 5 fours 4 sixes
Saeed Ajmal lbw b Anderson: 0
14 balls
Umar Gul not out: 0
2 balls
Junaid Khan c Swann b Anderson: 0
3 balls
Extras (b8 lb1 nb2) 11
Total (all out, 96.4 overs): 257
Fall (contd): 257, 257, 257.
Bowling Anderson 19.4-5-46-2, Broad 24-4-47-4, Panesar 33-9-91-1, Swann 18-2-52-3, Trott 2-0-12-0.


ENGLAND First Innings
*A J Strauss c Shafiq b Mohammad Hafeez: 11
42 balls 1 four
A N Cook lbw b Ajmal: 94
220 balls 10 fours
I J L Trott b Rehman: 74
158 balls 7 fours
K P Pietersen c Mohammad Hafeez b Ajmal: 14
39 balls 2 fours
I R Bell not out: 4
29 balls 1 four
E J G Morgan c Mohammad Hafeez b Ajmal: 3
22 balls
Extras (b4 lb2 nb1): 7
Total 5 wkts (84.5 overs): 207
Fall 27, 166, 198, 203, 207
To bat †M J Prior, S C J Broad, G P Swann, J M Anderson,
M S Panesar.
Bowling Umar Gul 10-1-35-0, Junaid Khan 6-0-20-0, Mohammad Hafeez 19-4-40-1, Ajmal 29.5-5-67-3, Rehman 20-7-39-1.
Umpires S J Davis (Aus) and B N J Oxenford (Aus).
Third Umpire B F Bowden (NZ).
Match referee Ahsan Raza(Pak).
Remaining Test: 3-7 February Third Test (Dubai).

 

Suggested Topics
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices