Shoaib Malik hit a career best 245 as Pakistan declared on 523-8, before Alastair Cook and Mooen Ali did well to survive the evening session and close on 56-0 on day two of the first Test. Tom Sizeland reports from Abu Dhabi.
Malik’s knock is even more remarkable if you consider that he probably wouldn’t be playing if it weren’t for an injury to regular No 3 Azhar Ali. The 33-year-old was brought into the side off the back of a decent ODI series against Zimbabwe, and hasn’t featured in white clothing for five years, when he played against the same opposition in the infamous spot-fixing series. He beat his best Test score by 97 runs, and his best ever by 45 runs. It was the third-best score by a Pakistani batsman against England.
The hosts began the day on 286-4, a score which could have been considerably different had Ian Bell not dropped two catches on a tough first day for the English. The morning session was virtually chanceless as Asad Shafiq and Malik went about their work with great efficiency in the searing heat.
The contest was billed as a battle of the spinners, but Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali struggled, as they did on day one. Rashid couldn’t find any consistency, and now holds the unwanted record of the worst figures by any Test bowler on debut. Malik brought up a memorable maiden double century, and Shafiq reached an eighth century, as the pair’s partnership eased past 200.
Their partnership came to an end on 250, as Mark Wood trapped Shafiq lbw for 107. Quick wickets then followed as Pakistan looked to up the tempo. Malik, visibly exhausted, departed for 245, with Ben Stokes getting the second of his four wickets. The declaration came with 21 overs left in the day.
Cook and Moeen saw off the new ball and dealt with spinner Zulfiqar Babar fairly comfortably too, to finish on 56-0, 467 runs short of Pakistan’s total.
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