Spinners flourish as Pakistan close on win over England

Published 10/26/2015, 5:12 AM EDT
Cricket – Pakistan v England – Second Test – Dubai International Stadium, United Arab Emirates – 26/10/15 England’s Jos Buttler (L) in action as Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed (R) looks on Action Images via Reuters / Jason O’Brien Livepic


DUBAI (Reuters) – Pakistan moved to the brink of victory in the second test after taking three wickets in the morning to leave England struggling on 187 for six at lunch on Monday with two sessions still to survive.

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Starting the final day on 130 for three, England had scant chance of reaching the 491 victory target so Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow – resuming on 59 and six not out respectively – simply tried to survive at the crease.

That plan succeeded for 13 overs in Dubai, England’s duo repelling the threat of paceman Wahab Riaz although they proved less able to deal the spin attack of Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah.

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Root (71) was first to fall after edging Zulfiqar’s perfectly-pitched delivery to Younus Khan. The slip snaffled the ball a fraction above the turf to reduce England to 157 for four.

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq heaped on the pressure by positioning helmet-clad fielders at silly point and short-leg as well as two slips and then three men at the boundary to prevent the batsmen lofting the ball over close field.

Bairstow initially read the spin well, lurching forward to pad the ball away on occasion and also getting on his heels to defend as necessary.

But he was then cleaned bowled for 22 by a Yasir googly, the ball sneaking between bat and pad to reduce England to 163 for five.

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Jos Buttler (7) again provided feeble resistance, edging Yasir to Younus at slip.

Ben Stokes was nine not out and Adil Rashid eight unbeaten when lunch was called.

The first test of the three-game series in Abu Dhabi was drawn meaning a Pakistan victory in Dubai would ensure the hosts maintain their record of never having lost a series in their adopted home of the United Arab Emirates.

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Sharjah will host the final test from Nov. 1.

(By Matt Smith, Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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