England skipper Alastair Cook will go into day four on 168, as a patient England innings reached 290-3 against Pakistan in the first Test match. Tom Sizeland reports from Abu Dhabi.
Cook and Moeen Ali did well to survive a nervy evening session on day two after Pakistan posted a daunting 523-8, and they battled on in sweltering conditions on Thursday. It was Cook and Ian Bell’s partnership that frustrated the hosts with a 165-run stand, to close the day trailing Pakistan by 233 runs.
Patience was the theme of the day for England as they stifled Pakistan’s chances of securing a victory. Moeen and Cook added 60 to their overnight total, before Moeen (35) pushed at one that found the edge.
It was slow going from there, but productive for England, with Cook and Bell adding 165. The captain was the one doing most of the damage. Bell was dropped on one but would push on to reach 63. Cook meanwhile went to a 28th Test century. He was at his very best, blocking the good deliveries and putting away the bad ones, to reach 168 not out.
The Pakistan supporters remained in full voice throughout the day, and they stepped it up a notch in the final overs thanks to a couple of late wickets. Bell hit one straight to Mohammad Hafeez at point, before nightwatchman Mark Wood failed to hang around, the spirited Wahab Riaz with both wickets.
England will be happy with their day’s graft, as Cook and Joe Root fight on with 33 runs to get to avoid the follow on.