DUBAI: Pakistan’s bowlers wore down tough resistance from England’s tail to win the second Test by an emphatic 178-run margin in Dubai yesterday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah (4-87) and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (3-53) shared the bowling honours as England, set a daunting 491-run target, were bowled out for 312 late on the fifth day with just 6.3 overs left in the match at Dubai stadium. A win early in the day was very much on the cards, but England’s ninth-wicket pair of Rashid and Mark Wood (29) put up a valiant fight for 29.2 overs through their 55-run partnership. Babar ended Wood’s resistance while Shah finished the match by ending Rashid’s 239- minute resistance when he had him caught in the covers in the fading light as the Pakistani fielders embraced each other.
Pakistan had sensed victory at lunch with just four wickets to take but first Rashid and Broad frustrated them through their 60-run stand for the eighth wicket and then the Rashid-Wood stand lasted for nearly two and a half hours. Before tea Riaz bowled Broad to bring Pakistan to within two wickets of winning the match, but Rashid and Wood carried England to 285-8 at tea with 31 overs remaining to bat for a draw. Pakistan could have finished the game before the break but Mohammad Hafeez dropped a regulation catch at slip when Rashid edged a Shah delivery while on 42. Rashid completed his maiden fifty soon after tea, pushing for a quick single off Raiz. It took him 110 balls of defiance to reach the mark including five boundaries. In all Rashid batted for 172 balls, hitting seven boundaries, as he made 61. The victory was important for Pakistan after they narrowly escaped defeat in the first Test in Abu Dhabi when bad light helped them draw the match in final minutes.
The third and final Test starts in Sharjah on November 1. Pakistan’s win came on the anniversary of their first ever Test win, against India at Lucknow 63 years ago. “You have to give credit to the opposition when the ball is turning and two really good spinners were bowling they showed really good character,” said Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. “Our spinners bowled well, especially under pressure. Whenever we needed a breakthrough they held their nerve and this is a great win for us.” Cook said England’s slump on the third day was costly. “That morning on day three has really cost us,” said Cook of England losing seven wickets for 36 runs to be bowled out for 242 in their first innings in reply to Pakistan’s 378. “But the character we showed today…they are a fantastic bunch of guys who refused to buckle. The innings Adil played, he’ll take a lot from that. “It was disappointing he couldn’t get over the line but if we’d all faced six or 10 balls more we would have done it.” England’s hopes of a fightback were pinned on Joe Root (71), who resumed cautiously on 59 as Pakistan attacked through Babar and Riaz.
Root completed 3,000 Test runs when he reached 61 with a single off Riaz towards squareleg. He completed the milestone in his 34th Test and became the 41st English batsmen to score 3,000 or more runs in Test cricket. But Babar did not take long to dismiss Root with a sharp turner which took the edge of his bat towards the slips, where Younis Khan took a low catch. Root hit six boundaries off 171 balls. Jonny Bairstow, dropped on 11 off Babar, did not survive much longer as Shah bowled him through the gate with a sharp googly for 22 as England slumped to 163 for five. Jos Buttler survived for 26 deliveries before Shah had him caught by Younis in the slips for seven as England went to lunch on 187-6. —AFP