England are closing in on Pakistan’s first innings total, as they battled to 222-4 with James Taylor reaching 74 not out on a slow day two in Sharjah.
England are 12 runs short of Pakistan’s 234, after Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad tore through the opponents on a successful first day for the tourists. It was slow going with the bat in response, but they showed a lot of patience as they head into day three in control of the encounter, despite losing Ben Stokes for the rest of the match after he sustained a shoulder injury in the field on Sunday.
Moeen Ali’s chances of nailing down the opener’s spot going into the South African tour took a blow as another loose shot proved his undoing, skying one in Shoaib Malik’s first over. Alastair Cook and Ian Bell settled from there and took their partnership through to the second session. After the break however, Cook tried to nudge one away to reach fifty, but he found leg slip, to walk for 49.
England’s form man and the world’s No 1 batsman Joe Root then came to the crease, but he lost his wicket in the same manner he has throughout the Ashes and this series, flashing at a wide delivery to depart for four. Bell kept going, but only just, in what was a very scratchy innings. He struggled against the spin of Yasir Shah, and eventually his innings had to come to an end, for a 158-ball 40.
James Taylor, playing for the first time since 2012, had no such problems, as he used his low centre of gravity to navigate the spin with ease, putting away the bad deliveries at every opportunity. Jonny Bairstow (37 not out) started to find his rhythm too, leaving England the happier of the two sides once again.