Visiting side loses Moeen, Bell early as it presses for a series-levelling win in the final Test in Sharjah
A double strike by Shoaib Malik rocked England early in its chase of a 284-run target in the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sharjah on Wednesday (November 4).
At stumps, England was 46 for 2 with Alastair Cook (17) and Joe Root (6) battling hard against Pakistan’s spin attack on a pitch increasingly assisting turn.
The visiting side needs another 238 runs on the final day to square the three-match series, which Pakistan leads 1-0.
After Mohammad Hafeez's 151 helped Pakistan post 355 and set England a stiff target, Malik provided the early breakthroughs, trapping Moeen Ali (22) leg before and then bowling Ian Bell (nought) in consecutive overs.
Cook and Root then survived close leg before appeals off Zulfiqar Babar towards the end of the day as Pakistan lost both its reviews.
England will rue its fielding lapses in Pakistan's second innings, when it dropped two crucial catches. Hafeez was first dropped by Stuart Broad off his own bowling when on 113 and Asad Shafiq, who made 46, had a reprieve on 29 when James Anderson put him down off Samit Patel's bowling. Jonny Bairstow also missed a stumping chance early in the day to give Hafeez a chance in his 90s.
Resuming the day at 146 for 3, Pakistan lost nightwatchman Rahat Ali early, but built its lead as Misbah-ul-Haq and Hafeez added 93 runs for the fifth wicket.
Broad, however, struck in the fifth over after lunch, trapping the Pakistan skipper leg before for 38. Hafeez went past his fourth 150-plus Test score with a single off Anderson, but soon mis-hit Moeen to long-on where Bell took a simple catch. Hafeez had hit 15 boundaries and three sixes.
The two quick wickets put Pakistan in a spot of bother, but Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed’s 55-run stand for the seventh wicket took its lead over 250. Samit Patel bowled the Pakistan wicketkeeper for 36 before Broad had Shafiq dismissed in a similar manner as Pakistan folded for 355.
Broad finished with 3 for 44 and was ably backed up by James Anderson (2 for 52) as the last six Pakistan wickets fell for 126 runs with the second new ball. Rashid, Moeen and Patel managed just one wicket each despite the pitch assisting spinners.
England's highest successful chase in Asia is 209 against Bangladesh in Dhaka five years ago.