• Pakistan favourites as Malik strikes

    November 4, 2015
    Shoaib Malik

    Pakistan need eight wickets on the final day of the third Test match to wrap up a 2-0 series victory over England, who still need 238 runs to pull off an unlikely victory.

    Shoaib Malik, who is retiring from Test cricket at the end of this match, took both wickets in what was an extremely difficult evening session for England. Mohammad Hafeez’s 151 was what did the real damage, as his side posted 355, leaving England with a daunting 284 runs for victory. It will smash the current record of 209 they chased down in Asia, against Pakistan in 1961.

    Pakistan went into day four on 146-3, well placed to put on a decent total with Hafeez on 97. The opener wasted no time in bringing up a ninth Test century. Jimmy Anderson was quick to remove nightwatchman Rahat Ali for a duck, but the tourists were left frustrated from there with several handy partnerships. The most useful was the 93-run stand between Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq. Skipper Misbah departed for 38, before 35-year-old Hafeez notched up his 150.

    Moeen Ali saw off Hafeez from there, but Pakistan did something that England have struggled to do throughout the series – contribute in the middle-lower order. Sarfraz Ahmed (36), Asad Shafiq (46) and Wahab Riaz (21) allowed the hosts to feel like they’d done enough.

    Moeen took a positive approach to England’s response, but he capped off a poor experiment as an opener, with Malik trapping him lbw for 22. Plenty of question marks will now circle over Ian Bell’s future too, who got bowled for a duck, Malik again the man to cash in.

    Alastair Cook and Joe Root did just enough to live to fight another day. Pakistan used up both of their reviews in trying to dismiss them, but to no avail. The pair will look to keep up England’s slim chances of a victory on Thursday morning.

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