Pakistan have made relatively light work of England’s 192 All Out to move to 231 for 4 half way through the second day of the first test between the two nations in Dubai.
On the opening day, England showed, not for the first time, their susceptibility to spinners outside of their home nation, as seven of their batsmen were dismissed by Ajmal – five of whom were claimed LBW – as the bowler produced his best ever test figures of 7 for 55 from 24.3 overs, including 7 maidens.
England’s top order batsmen were all at sea, with none making more than 24 runs, before Matt Prior (70 Not Out) steadied a considerably shaky ship, however, Prior could not find a partner, and England were dismissed for a miserable 192 All Out from 72 and a half overs, on a track which offered little to the bowlers and was, in fact, turning very little.
As if to underline the benign nature of the wicket, Pakistan set about knocking off the first inning target on day one, and continued into the second morning, as their opening batsmen both made half centuries: Hafeez (88) and Umar (58) getting them off to the best of starts.
Pakistan did see Azhar Ali (1) at three skittled straight out by Stuart Broad, but double figures from the following three batsmen put them in command and saw them surpass England’s total to reach 231 for 4 midway through the second day.
Broad and Anderson were the pick of England’s bowlers, though Swann showed that this track is not as conducive to spin as England’s batsmen had contrived to make it appear, and was a little expensive.
The afternoon of day two could well determine the direction this test match is to take: England need to remove Pakistan and fast, or else they face batting for several days, just to stay in this game: when that time comes, they will hope to get their bat onto the turning ball a little better than on day one.