Dubai: England’s head coach, Trevor Bayliss, spoke to the ICC match referee, Andy Pycroft, during the evening session of the fourth day in Dubai following a heated on-field exchange between Joe Root and Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz over alleged ball-tampering.
Tensions rose between Root and fast bowler Wahab when the drinks break was taken, with the England batsman seen visibly remonstrating with his opponent. The suggestion, from Root’s gesture, was that Wahab had trodden on the ball and subsequently pointed this out to the on-field umpires.
The replays shown by host broadcasters Ten Sports were of Wahab simply toe-ending the ball. His explanation, going by the body language, was that he could not pick it up due to sweaty palms.Cricket balls are kept dry by teams attempting to produce reverse swing, although the unlawful act of scuffing them can also assist.
Following the incident, Bayliss, along with team manager Phil Neale, were seen visiting the match referee’s office at the Dubai International Stadium. But despite this, assistant coach, Paul Farbrace, looked to play down the incident after stumps when he insisted there was no lingering issue.
“In the heat of battle you are going to see the odd exchange between players,” said Farbrace. “Riaz certainly won’t be signing for Chelsea in the Premier League with his footballing skills. The umpires dealt with it at the time and that is the end of it.
“Joe has shown with his high level of skill and commitment to the cause that he is up for a scrap. That is what Joe Root is about – he fights and gets stuck in. He comes across as this nice young lad but there is fight in him.”
Farbrace also tried to allay fears over the fitness of Alastair Cook ahead of next Sunday’s third Test in Sharjah, despite the England captain visibly struggling on the fourth day. Cook was laboured in the field during Pakistan’s second innings and showed signs of discomfort when batting.
The 30-year-old, who lasted 49 minutes before sweeping leg-spinner Yasir Shah to deep backward square leg on 10, hobbled between the wickets but Farbrace insists Cook did not report an injury to the medical staff and any issues were related to fatigue.
“I’m not aware of any injury, except for the amount of hours he’s spent hunched over a bat handle scoring thousands of runs,” said Farbrace. “He never looks the best mover anyway. I’ve never really seen him flying around.”
Cook, who has not been fielding at his normal position of slip due to an injury to his right hand, suffers from occasional back issues. Farbrace said: “He is someone from time-to-time does get treatment on his back, but honestly it’s not something we are spending time talking about. He needs to manage it himself and he does that really well. It isn’t a concern for us.”
Cook’s England career to date has remained largely injury free, with the second Test is Dubai his 119th successive match. Only former the Australia captain Allan Border, with 153, has played more Test matches in a row.
Asked if he could imagine an England side without Cook, Farbrace added: “No, not at the moment because he has played so well. Even during the lean times run-wise he’s an important member of the team in terms of how he captains the side.
“The way he plays, the experience and leadership he gives our side with the way be bats that’s the greatest thing about Cooky – he leads by example. He’s in great form and we want him in great form and playing for as long as possible.”
Pakistan’s position of dominance on day four was powered by Younus Khan’s 118 from 211 balls – the 31st Test century from the veteran. Younus, 37, has now breezed through the supposed “nervous nineties” 29 successive times, equaling the record set by Australian great Don Bradman.
“I feel that I don’t have much time [in my career] so I want to cash it,” said Younus after stumps. ”I am happy to perform whenever I get the opportunity and to convert it into a big innings which help Pakistan.”
Source : The Guardian