England enjoyed one of their most successful days of the series, as they skittled Pakistan for 234 before closing on 6-0 on day one of the third and final Test match in Sharjah on Sunday.
After failing to hold on to the draw in Dubai, England went into the third Test needing to win to draw the series, and thanks to Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, they’ve put themselves in a good position. It came at a cost however, as all-rounder Ben Stokes is unlikely to play any further part in the match, after sustaining a shoulder injury when diving in the field.
England are already without Mark Wood who was rested due to an injury niggle, so it means they will have to play the rest of the contest with just two fast bowlers, as they opted to hand spinning all-rounder Samit Patel his first Test match in three years. Another player playing for the first time since 2012 is James Taylor, who came in for the dropped Jos Buttler, with Jonny Bairstow taking the gloves.
For the third time in a row, Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first, with Azhar Ali coming back in for Shan Masood. It wasn’t a happy return for the ODI skipper, as he edged one behind for a duck. It was the first of Anderson’s four wickets on the day.
Moeen Ali would claim the second wicket to see off Mohammad Hafeez for 27, but despite having three spinners, it was the experienced pace duo who did the damage. Between Anderson and Broad, they bowled 28 overs and conceded just 30 runs, taking six wickets.
The only man to lead the Pakistan resistance was captain Misbah ul Haq, who scored 71. Astonishingly, that was his 35th score of fifty or more in just his 72nd innings as skipper. Graeme Smith leads that stat with 61, but that came from 193 innings.
The final five wickets fell for 38 runs, to post the lowest first-innings total of the series so far. Moeen and Alastair Cook saw off the last two overs of the day, to make it 10-man England’s day.