Pakistan v England: tourists fall short in agonising draw

By James GheerbrantBBC Sport
Joe Root and Ian Bell walk off
Joe Root and Ian Bell were at the crease when bad light ended play with England 25 runs short
First Test, Abu Dhabi, day five
Pakistan 523-8 dec & 173: Misbah 51, Younus 45, Rashid 5-64
England 598-9 dec & 74-4: Root 33*
Match drawn

England had to settle for a draw after an extraordinary final session on the fifth day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan seemed to be cruising to a draw before debutant Adil Rashid - who returned 0-163 in the first innings - turned the match with five wickets.

Needing 99 to win, England sent out Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in the top four.

But they were eventually beaten by the fading light, finishing 25 runs short of a famous victory on 74-4.

The tourists could not find the boundary frequently enough before the umpires brought the teams off, with Joe Root 33 not out.

However, this was a hugely impressive performance from England and one that will fill them with confidence ahead of the second Test in Dubai, which begins on Thursday.

Reaction to the first Test
TMS podcast: Geoffrey Boycott on England's performance
As it happened: Relive the final-day drama
Pint-Sized TMS: Too many dot balls for TMS scorer!

Rampant Rashid sets up mad final hour

Adil Rashid acknowledges his five-for
Adil Rashid became the first ever bowler to concede 100 wicketless runs in the first innings on Test debut, then take a five-for in the second

After England concluded their innings on 598-9 in the morning, Pakistan looked assured at 113-3 shortly after tea, leading by 38 with seven second-innings wickets remaining.

But the match turned when veteran batsman Younus Khan, playing in his 102nd Test match, mistimed a wild heave to give Rashid his first Test wicket - caught at point by Stokes.

Rashid - whose figures in the first innings were the worst ever by a debutant - then quickly added a second victim, having Asad Shafiq caught behind for six.

The door was opened for England, and Rashid and Moeen Ali barged through it as they polished off the last five wickets for 14 runs.

Pakistan skipper Misbah ul-Haq - who had played with restraint for his 51 - inexplicably aimed an uncharacteristic slog at Moeen and was bowled.

Moeen then removed Wahab Riaz caught behind, before Rashid claimed the final three wickets - all superbly caught at first slip by James Anderson.

England left to rue mistakes

Ian Bell reacts after dropping Asad Shafiq
Ian Bell's drop of Asad Shafiq proved costly as the right-hander added 97 extra runs in the first innings

England sensed an unlikely victory, but their reorganised batting order could not score quickly enough as Pakistan's tactic of spin from both ends and fielders on the boundary brought them regular wickets.

Makeshift opener Buttler was trapped lbw for four, Moeen and Stokes were caught on the boundary in quick succession, and Jonny Bairstow was stumped attempting a big shot.

However, in truth it was mistakes earlier in the match that ultimately proved more costly as England fell just short of their first win on the subcontinent since beating India in Kolkata in 2012.

In Pakistan's first innings, Ian Bell dropped Mohammad Hafeez (98) and Shafiq (107) at slip early in their innings.

And Shoaib Malik, who made 245, was dismissed off a no-ball by Stuart Broad.

Cook frustrated by 'bittersweet finish'

England captain Alastair Cook, whose record-breaking 263 in the first innings was ultimately in vain, admitted England were frustrated to come so close to victory.

"We'd have liked another three or four overs at the end but that's the way it goes," he said. "I can't fault the guys for hanging in there on that wicket.

"The pitch did deteriorate and spun more today which gave us hope, so it's a bit of a bittersweet finish. We knew we had to put the pressure on Pakistan and then on the last day you never know.

"We played a good game and so did Pakistan. They were a bit sloppy today and we put them under pressure.

"It was brilliant from Adil Rashid who I think got some unfair criticism after the first innings. He's a very fine bowler."

Much-improved away display augurs well

Overall this was a vastly improved overseas display from England, who were whitewashed 3-0 on their last tour of the United Arab Emirates and have not won any of their last three away series.

In contrast to their limp displays with the bat in the 2012 series against Pakistan and more recent overseas disappointments in Australia and West Indies, England's victory charge was built on a superb total of 598-9 declared in their first innings.

Resuming on 569-8, England added 29 quick runs in the morning session, with Rashid out for 12 in his maiden Test innings.

Alastair Cook bats
Alastair Cook batted for 836 minutes for 263

But the innings hinged on Cook's magnificent 263, the longest-ever innings by an Englishman, compiled over days two, three and four.

England's pace bowlers also showed that they could be threatening on the dusty, spin-friendly tracks of the UAE, with Ben Stokes taking 4-57 in the first innings and Anderson also taking four wickets over the course of the match.

With England's new-look opening partnership of Cook and Moeen adding 113 for the first wicket in the first innings, and the under-pressure Bell scoring a half-century at number three, England will head to Dubai knowing that many parts of their team are in good working order.

What they said

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: "Many people will be watching and listening and wondering why they can't continue and I agree with them. This goes back to last night when they came off and you wonder was there a real threat to the players then. It shouldn't take the shine off what has been a good day from England and Adil Rashid."

Michael Vaughan tweet

Former England spinner Graeme Swann: "I am proud of the way England played. The only way they were going to win this game was to persevere and stick it at - and they did that even though they didn't get the result in the end.

"I'm really pleased for Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali who copped a load of stick in the first innings. I don't buy into the Pakistan time-wasting because anyone in their shoes would do the same."

What you said

Richard Oelmann: Umpires had no choice with current rules - Rules need changing though. England would have done the same as Pakistan if positions reversed.

Chris Tudor: England have been 'saved by the bell' loads of times. No-one complained when play stopped at EXACTLY 6:30pm at Cardiff in 2009.

Jonathan Wilson: England robbed. Cook out off a no ball delayed things. Lbw in Pakistan inns not given. England win if these called correctly.

Rachel T: England will take huge heart from being within an ace of winning, having been almost written off beforehand.

Flemming Jensen: Get rid of the light meter. Also, Pakistan being allowed to meander along at an over rate of less than 12 is an utter disgrace.

The stats you need to know

  • Rashid is the first English leg-spinner to take a five-for in Tests since Tommy Greenhough v India at Lord's in 1959.
  • He is also the first bowler ever to take 0-100+ in the first innings and five-for in the 2nd innings on Test debut.
  • Rashid also becomes the first Englishman to take five-for on his first-class and Test debut since Jim Smith in 1935.
  • Shoaib Malik's duck in Pakistan's second innings makes his first-innings of 245 the highest achieved by a batsman who also scored 0 in the same match.
  • England faced 200 overs in an innings for the first time since making 593 off 206.1 overs against West Indies at St John's 1994.

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