Pakistan A v England: Test hopefuls have mixed day on tour

Jonny Bairstow (right)
Jonny Bairstow averaged 29.50 with the bat during the recent Ashes series
Tour match, Sharjah, day one:
England 286-5: Bairstow 66*, Root 59, Cook 53, Rashid 51*, Gohar 3-72
Scorecard

Jonny Bairstow hit an unbeaten 66 but opener Moeen Ali managed only 22 as England made 286-5 on the first day of their tour match against Pakistan A.

Bairstow was one of four men to pass 50, along with Yorkshire team-mates Joe Root (59) and Adil Rashid (51 not out), and captain Alastair Cook (53).

But Moeen was out cheaply as England seek a new opening partner for Cook.

The two-day game in Sharjah is one of two warm-ups for the three-Test series with Pakistan, starting on 13 October.

Adam Lyth was dropped after scoring 115 runs at an average of 12.77 as an opener in the recent Ashes series, but Moeen failed to capitalise on the opportunity he was given on a slow pitch in stifling heat.

He and Cook added 44 for the first wicket but Moeen was far less composed than his partner, falling to a mis-pull off Zia-ul-Haq which Ehsan Adil caught at deep backward square leg.

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Root backs Moeen at top of order

Root said he thought Moeen "played really well".

He added: "Obviously the new ball, fresh bowlers - it's something he might not be accustomed to, not even at county level, so for him to come out the way he did was really impressive and I'm really looking forward to seeing how he gets on on the rest of the tour."

Ian Bell looked more comfortable than Moeen but he fell for 19, trapped lbw attempting to sweep spinner Zafar Gohar, who had Cook caught soon afterwards.

The dependable Root and county colleague Bairstow served England well either side of tea, until the former retired out to give others a chance to acclimatise.

However, neither Ben Stokes not wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler could capitalise, both falling cheaply within the space of four balls.

That left Bairstow and Rashid - whose spin bowling is likely to be more important to England than his batting this tour - to add an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 103 before the close.

Root said Buttler, who averaged 15.25 during the Ashes, is a "class player".

He added: "I've no doubt, whether in the next practice match or the first Test, he'll make a valuable contribution."

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