England’s pace-cum-spin attack delivered the goods to keep Pakistan down to 256-7 on the opening day of the second Test at Abu Dhabi Stadium here on Wednesday.
Paceman Stuart Broad took 3-47 while spinner Graeme Swann (3-52) bowled well to keep England’s hopes of squaring the three-Test series alive after they lost the first match in Dubai by 10 wickets inside three days.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq, unbeaten on 83 at the close with Saeed Ajmal on nought, held the Pakistan innings together during a fighting stand of 100 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (58).
That partnership helped Pakistan revive their innings after Broad chipped in with two wickets in the post-lunch session but England got three more wickets in the last session, two off which were claimed by Swann.
England, ranked world number one in Test cricket, could have had a more fruitful day had they not dropped four regulation catches, but Broad and Swann made sure their fumbles did not prove too costly. James Anderson dropped Misbah on 30 off Monty Panesar, while Cook let off Shafiq off Swann on 53 before Andrew Strauss floored Adnan Akmal on nought in Anderson’s first over with the second new ball.
Misbah notched his 12th half-century in 14 Tests — and 16th in all — since being made Test captain in October 2010 and holds the key for Pakistan to post a challenging total on a pitch that was expected to help batsmen.
The Pakistani skipper has so far hit five boundaries and four sixes – all off Panesar — during his fighting 168-ball knock. Swann dismissed Abdul Rehman leg before for nought in the penultimate over of the day.
England were rewarded for picking two spinners in Swann and recalled left-armer Panesar after they introduced spin as early as in the 10th over.
Hafeez and Umar, who put on 114 for the opening wicket in the first Test, negotiated the first hour without any discomfort before Swann gave England the breakthrough.
Umar misjudged a delivery and lost his off stump after seemingly playing no stroke on 16. Panesar, brought in to replace paceman Chris Tremlett — flying home after a recurrence of a back injury — dropped Hafeez off his own bowling but had the Pakistani opener bowled off the very next ball. Hafeez made 31 with four boundaries.
Broad then chipped in with the wickets of Younis and Ali, both bowled on incoming deliveries to leave Pakistan struggling at 103-4. Misbah hit Panesar for two towering sixes to help ease the pressure. Shafiq, who also hit Panesar for a six, hit seven boundaries during his 126-ball knock.