REUTERS – James Anderson claimed four wickets as England made a good start to the third and final test in Sharjah by bowling out Pakistan for 234 on Sunday.
With England needing a victory to level the series, Pakistan won the toss and batted but Anderson and fellow paceman Stuart Broad made them regret their decision by producing combined figures of six for 30.
“We’re delighted but I don’t think anyone knows what a good score is,” Broad told the BBC after his side ended the day on four for no loss in reply.
“From the seamers’ point of view it was quite easy to tie the batsmen down. If we have a good day with the bat tomorrow it makes today an excellent day.”
Pakistan were 116 for five at one stage and were only spared complete embarrassment by captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s 71 and 39 from Sarfraz Ahmed.
Sarfraz, batting at number seven, was caught by Joe Root off spinner Moeen Ali and Misbah’s men collapsed with their last five wickets falling for just 38 runs.
Pakistan’s top order did not show much application, failing to convert good starts into significant contributions.
Misbah won his sixth successive test toss and, for the third time in the series, opted to bat first on a wicket that offered significant turn.
Anderson was rewarded for his immaculate line in the third over when the scoreless Azhar Ali, one of two changes in Pakistan’s side, was caught behind.
Mohammad Hafeez (27) looked confident but the opener succumbed to a soft dismissal, top edging Moeen to Broad at deep backward square leg.
The bearded spinner also had Shoaib Malik trapped leg before on 22 but the Pakistani reviewed the decision and got it overturned.
Broad tasted success after lunch when he had Malik caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for 38 and the lanky paceman sent down five maiden overs on the trot to stifle the batsmen.
It yielded immediate dividends as Anderson, replacing Broad, trapped the dangerous Younus Khan leg before for 31 with the first ball of his new spell.
Playing his first test since December 2012, left-arm spinner Samit Patel then dismissed Asad Shafiq for five.
Anderson finished with exemplary figures of four for 17 from 15.1 overs while Broad was equally mean with the ball, taking two for 13 in as many overs. Moeen and Patel also picked up two wickets apiece.
The only downside for England was the shoulder injury sustained by Ben Stokes that led to the all-rounder going off the field in a sling.
Stokes, who was hurt while making a failed attempt to catch Sarfraz, will have a scan on Monday.
(Writing by Toby Davis; Editing by Tony Jimenez)