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Feisty Cook leads England reply with unbeaten 168

Despite losing two late wickets, visitor closes day three on 290 for 3 in reply to Pakistan’s massive 523

Feisty Cook leads England reply with unbeaten 168 - Cricket News
Alastair Cook plays a shot.
Alastair Cook stood firm with his 28th century to lead his team's stirring fightback in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday (October 15).
 
The England captain worked his way to an unbeaten 168 – his fifth hundred against Pakistan – and steered his side to 290 for 3 at stumps on the third day at the Sheik Zayed Stadium in reply to Pakistan’s huge first-innings tally of 523 for 8 declared.
 
Cook put on 116 for the first wicket with Moeen Ali (35), in an unfamiliar role as Test opener, and 165 for the second with Ian Bell, who made a hard-fought 63.
 
Joe Root kept Cook company at the close, batting on three, as England ended the day still 233 runs in arrears with seven wickets standing.
 
Pakistan was hoping to put England under pressure on the back of its big total but Cook, an acknowledged master against spin, kept the bowlers at bay on a day that yielded only three wickets.
 
Pakistan was indebted to Wahab Riaz (2 for 79), the left-arm paceman striking in successive overs late in the day to dismiss Bell and Mark Wood (4), the nightwatchman.
 
But it was Cook who took the honours with some determined batting. An exquisite cover-drive off Riaz brought him for his tenth boundary and took him to his hundred before tea. When he reached 93, the England skipper also completed 1000 runs for the year in his 11th Test, only the second batsman to do so in 2015 after Root.
 
On 101, Cook survived a confident leg-before appeal as he missed a sweep off Zulfiqar Babar’s left-arm spin, Pakistan unsuccessfully reviewing Paul Reiffel's decision. Babar was again unlucky when Fawad Alam, the substitute fielder, failed to hold on to Cook's uppish sweep, with the batsman on 147.
 
That drop brought the England captain a brace and two balls later, he completed his 150 off 282 balls with a single. In all, he has so far hit 15 boundaries off 329 balls.
 
Pakistan also used Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq but it turned out to be a nightmarish pitch for the slow bowlers, with 130 overs of spin failing to produce a single wicket.
 
Adil Rashid, Ali, Root and Ben Stokes (one over as spinner), who all bowled spin for England, also failed to get a single wicket in a combined 70 overs.
 
Cook and Ali began the day on 56 without loss, and brought up their century stand in the first hour of play as Pakistan attacked through pace at one end and spin from the other.  
 
England's last century stand for the opening wicket came against New Zealand at Leeds earlier this year with Cook and now discarded Adam Lyth posting 177.
 
But at 116, Moeen edged an outgoing delivery from Imran Khan to Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper taking a low catch to his left.
 
Babar was unlucky not to have Bell four overs before lunch when Shan Masood failed to hold on to an edge at silly-point. 
 
Bell, who survived some anxious moments in the second session, hit five boundaries in a snail-paced 199-ball knock.
 
The remaining two Tests will be played in Dubai (October 22-26) and Sharjah (November 1-5).

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