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Cook finally succumbs, makes 263, but England surpass Pakistan

England's Alastair Cook acknowledges the crowd after being dismissed for 263 runs

By Matt Smith

ALASTAIR Cook completed the third-longest innings in test history and the longest by an Englishman as his side ended on 569-8 on the fourth day of the first test on Friday, 46 runs ahead of Pakistan.

Cook batted for 836 minutes — or just short of 14 hours — over three days before succumbing on 263, the England skipper’s second-highest test score.

Joe Root (85) and Ben Stokes (57) provided ample support as the tourists sought to make Pakistan regret declaring on 523-8, although with one day’s play left and both teams still to bat again a draw seems likely in the first of a three-match series.

England began Friday on 290-3, Cook and Root at the crease and seemingly imperious as test cricket’s top scoring duo in 2015 reeled in Pakistan’s total.

The sparse crowd, overwhelmingly supporting Pakistan, were boisterous despite the lack of wicket chances on Abu Dhabi’s flat, slow pitch as England reached lunch without further loss.

Those fans would rue Sarfraz Ahmed’s sluggishness, the wicketkeeper failing to reach Cook’s nick off an inside edge from Wahab Riaz’s in-swinger in the day’s fourth over when the 30-year-old was on 173.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq used his fast bowlers sparingly in the stifling heat with slow left-armer Zulfiqar Babar leading the host’s attack for long spells despite none of the first 13 wickets in this test falling to spin.

Root eventually walked early in the afternoon after trying to cut an out-swinging Rahat Ali delivery, edging to Sarfraz Ahmed who made some amends for his earlier mistake by executing a nimble diving catch to his right.

Root kicked at the stumps in frustration, a 14th test half-century and 141-run partnership with Cook scant consolation for missing a ninth Test century on such a benign surface.

Jonny Bairstow (8) lasted 39 balls, falling lbw to Wahab as the tourists slipped to 443-5.

Ben Stokes was Cook’s next partner as England’s batsmen went on the offensive after tea, seeking to reverse a run rate that had sagged to 2.62 runs per over post-lunch from a relatively brisk 3.33 in the morning.

Stokes was bowled by Shoaib Malik to become this test’s first spin casualty but only after scoring a brisk 57 in an 87-ball knock.

Cook was next to be dismissed, sweeping a top edge from Malik to Shan Masood at square leg for an easy catch as England slipped to 549-7, although replays showed it should have been called no-ball.

His 263 was his third Test double-century and second only to his 294 against India in 2011.

Joss Buttler (23) then dollied up a simple catch for Zulfiqar’s first wicket before bad light stopped play.

Zulfiqar finished with figures of 1-180 after bowling 70 of Pakistan’s 196 overs while Wahab finished with 3-116.

The three-match series heads to Dubai next for the second test from Oct. 22 with Sharjah hosting the third contest from Nov. 1.

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