By Matt Smith
Joe Root’s unbeaten half-century helped stuttering England reach 182 for three at the close on the second day of the second Test on Friday after Pakistan’s seam and spin attack ran through the tourists’ top order.
Pakistan, playing in their adopted UAE home, were bowled out for 378 before lunch, some erratic slogging causing the hosts’ last five wickets to fall for 44 runs.
Pakistan pacemen Wahab Riaz and Imran Khan were given the new ball and captain Misbah-ul-Haq packed the slip cordon.
Wahab had Moeen Ali (1) caught brilliantly by Shan Masood at short-leg.
Skipper Alastair Cook was joined at the crease by Ian Bell (4) and the veteran No.3 was again found wanting, feathering a full Khan delivery to the slips as England slumped to 14 for two.
Root and Cook – Test cricket’s top two run scorers in 2015 – repelled Pakistan’s ferocious onslaught to reach 105-2 at tea, although England’s skipper was fortunate on 27.
Attempting to sweep Zulfiqar Babar, the ball struck pad and skidded on to the stumps but miraculously the bails stayed on.
Hundreds more Pakistan fans appeared after Friday prayers, the field masked in late-afternoon shadow at Dubai International Stadium as a crowd of about 4,000 looked on, England’s support a mix of expatriate residents and the travelling Barmy Army.
Misbah brought Yasir Shah to the fore as the light faded.
The leg-spinner, the fastest man to 50 Test wickets for Pakistan, missed the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi with injury and initially did little, England’s batsmen scoring freely until Pakistan’s skipper positioned a leg-slip.
Cook tried to guide a Yasir (1-59) delivery round the corner but found only the hands of the newly-stationed fielder.
England’s skipper walked for 65, his partnership with Root worth 113 as the tourists stumbled to 130 for three.
Root was unbowed, however, claiming a 15th Test half-century with a single through short-leg.
He will resume on 76 with Jonny Bairstow on 27 not out.
Pakistan had begun the day on 282 for four, Misbah and Asad Shafiq resuming their partnership of 104.
Mark Wood (3-39) partnered Stuart Broad as captain Cook opted for an all-seam attack, the quicks better able to sustain hostility in the relative cool of the morning.
Broad’s impact was immediate, trapping Misbah (102) lbw with the day’s fifth ball.
The skipper had anticipated a bouncer after a barrage of short deliveries and was deceived by Broad’s fuller ball which thumped into the 41-year-old’s front pad.
Shafiq brought up his 12th Test half-century with a four through the slips as he and Safraz Ahmed put on 52.
Safraz (32) was caught at mid-on and Yasir, on 16 from 17 balls, miscued another attempted big hit to slip.
Zulfiqar (3) did not move as Wood’s inswinging Yorker caught him lbw, the ousted batsmen holding his head in shame.
Shafiq (83), who required prolonged treatment after Wood’s full toss thundered into his knee, was last out, caught at short midwicket.
Sharjah will stage the concluding test from November 1.