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This article titled “Pakistan v England: first Test, day one – as it happened” was written by Tom Davies (earlier) and Simon Burnton (closing), for theguardian.com on Tuesday 13th October 2015 13.39 UTC
Have a read of Mike Selvey’s report from day one in Abu Dhabi:
That’s all from me for today. A long old day in the heat, and one Pakistan will be happier with. Primarily because of those two dropped catches, both by Bell off Anderson, and one no-balled non-wicket. On this wicket, against this team, having lost the toss, that’s very hard to recover from. Thankfully the TV umpire gave England the benefit of considerable doubt to give Misbah out, so it hasn’t been all bad. Tomorrow’s a new day, England still have a new ball. All to play for. Bye!
Updated at 2.39pm BST
STUMPS: Pakistan 286-4
87th over: Pakistan 286-4 (Malik 124, Shafiq 11)
Broad bowls, Pakistan score a couple of singles, and that’s yer lot. England leave the field, spirits freshly crushed by another Bell clanger, Pakistan newly buoyed by the day’s third inexcusable let-off. How different it might have been…
Bell drops another in the slips!
86th over: Pakistan 284-4 (Malik 123, Shafiq 10)
Anderson gets a go with the new cherry, and Shafiq reaches double figures by pushing it wide of cover for four, all timing, no power. And then, another drop! And it’s Bell again! The final delivery of the over is edged to second slip, and this one is worse than this morning’s! Last time he at least had to move his hands. This time it went straight to them – and straight back out again!
Updated at 3.16pm BST
85th over: Pakistan 279-4 (Malik 122, Shafiq 6)
Broad takes it, and Malik drives down past mid off for not-quite-a-four. They run three. “I was working at Gloucester Guildhall around 20 years back at a time when they had an impressive line-up of bands coming through,” writes Kerry Davies, on the subject of poorly-attended events. “One gig was selling badly so they handed out freebies to staff and a junior went onto the streets to give away 40 plus tickets. Apart from staff and family only one person turned up and actually paid, none of the freebies did. The punchline being that the sole punter was already tipsy and proceeded to get roaring drunk and before the band took the stage for their set he had been thrown out by the three “bouncers” for repeatedly trying to climb the foldaway seating unit. There have been more poignant disasters like the Alabama 3 ‘tour from hell’ but that is the one gig that I ever heard of with zero paying punters.”
84th over: Pakistan 276-4 (Malik 119, Shafiq 6)
Three more runs on Malik’s mounting total from Rashid’s 17th over of the day, at the end of which England call for the new ball.
83rd over: Pakistan 273-4 (Malik 116, Shafiq 6)
The last three overs have featured three runs and two leg byes, and this one from Wood is a maiden. It’s almost as if the players are starting to think of their hotel rooms, of having a shower and a lie-down.
82nd over: Pakistan 273-4 (Malik 116, Shafiq 6)
The shadows are lengthening and the lights are on – a move those present insist is entirely unnecessary – as we move into the final 20-odd minutes of the day. This session has been England’s best by a margin, but they need a late wicket if they’re to return to their hotel in truly buoyant spirits. And here’s something that instead might depress them further, as their captain fields the ball at extra cover and immediately leaves the field nursing his hand.
81st over: Pakistan 272-4 (Malik 116, Shafiq 5)
Wood continues, this time from around the wicket, and he bowls one slingy delivery across the batsman that just doesn’t bounce at all as it skids through to Buttler. Malik didn’t have to play it and he didn’t try to, which is probably just as well.
80th over: Pakistan 268-4 (Malik 114, Shafiq 5)
Rashid’s bowling quite nicely at the moment, big on variety, giving the ball plenty of air. The new ball is now available, but England don’t want it quite yet. On the subject of Richie Benaud’s links with France, here’s Richie Benaud talking about his links with France. Filmed not in Benaud, but while standing in a field of elephants, like you do.
79th over: Pakistan 265-4 (Malik 112, Shafiq 4)
Wood comes on from the quiet end, replacing Anderson. His first ball is worked away by Malik for one, and the next five are all dots.
78th over: Pakistan 264-4 (Malik 111, Shafiq 4)
Ouch! Really, totally ouch. Rashid produces another googly, and Shafiq attempts to pull it away. But instead he thumps it hard, straight into Jonny Bairstow at short leg, who’s hit just below the left shoulder. Incredibly the fielder barely winces. He stands up tall and gives the batsman a look that says, “Yeah, and?” Respect, sir.
77th over: Pakistan 260-4 (Malik 108, Shafiq 4)
Anderson bowls a weak, short and wide ball at Shoaib Malik, who gives it the treatment it deserves. New ball due in three overs, so perhaps Anderson will have a short break now, assuming they intend to take it.
Updated at 2.15pm BST
76th over: Pakistan 256-4 (Malik 104, Shafiq 4)
A quick single from Malik allows Shafiq to get off the mark in style, pummelling the ball through the covers, where Broad reaches it just before the rope, which both ball and man proceed to scream through. Robert Wilson meanwhile reveals that the cricketer he accosted on the streets of Paris was Richie Benaud, who announced that he was on his way to Benaud, which isn’t in Paris but somewhere near Clermont-Ferrand: “Real place. He went. There’s film. I’m looking.”
75th over: Pakistan 251-4 (Malik 103, Shafiq 0)
You can’t possibly say that the TV Umpire, S Ravi, took that decision lightly. Replays were watched, re-watched, freeze-framed, re-re-watched, paused, rewound, zoomed in and watched yet again. My feeling is that it was probably the correct decision, but that it probably wasn’t the right one, because what we saw wasn’t conclusive and inarguable evidence that the on-field umpire had been wrong. Oh well. Wicket maiden.
WICKET! Misbah c Buttler b Anderson 3 (Pakistan 251-4)
There’s no snicko and no hotspot, and though the replays show the ball passing extraordinarily close to the bat, and there seems to be a sound as it does so, I didn’t really see how the on-field decision could be overturned based on that alone. But it is! To the evident astonishment of Sky’s commentators, and the Pakistan batsmen, it’s given!
Updated at 1.48pm BST
REVIEW! Did Misbah nick that one on its way through?
The umpire doesn’t think so, but England do. Let’s see!
Updated at 2.21pm BST
74th over: Pakistan 251-3 (Malik 103, Misbah 3)
Decent over from Rashid, featuring as it does a nice googly that Misbah doesn’t spot, but does score from. Again the most dangerous delivery of the over yields the only run.
73rd over: Pakistan 250-3 (Malik 103, Misbah 2)
Anderson and Broad keep alternating. This time it’s Anderson’s turn, and the over ends with English heads in hands as the ball thumps Misbah in the pads. He was saved, it seems, by a tiny inside edge, which was all that stood between him and an easy lbw decision. Instead, he gets a single.
72nd over: Pakistan 249-3 (Malik 103, Misbah 1)
England swap spinners, Rashid returning. Two singles result.
71st over: Pakistan 247-3 (Malik 102, Misbah 0)
Buoyed by their wicket, England boost that leg-side close-ish cordon to four when Misbah ul-Haq turns up, but none is immediately brought into play.
WICKET! Younis Khan c Cook b Broad 38 (Pakistan 247-3)
Just when England’s immediate future was starting to look extremely bleak and sweat-stained, Younis Khan diverts Broad’s delivery to Cook, that silly mid on I mentioned, and England have a third wicket!
Updated at 1.57pm BST
70th over: Pakistan 247-2 (Younis 38, Malik 102)
Moeen bowls, and just one run is scored. “A sparsely attended Radiohead gig is pretty good. But if you want a reliable feeling of unexpected underwhelmdom, Paris is the place,” notes Robert Wilson. “Regular Eddie Izzard gigs when you can hear the tumbleweeds blowing across the plain and he ends up addressing you by name. Donald Trump being helped across zebra crossings by youthful pedestrians of more goodwill than taste. But strangely, best of all is watching Peter Carey biting off his own teeth in thwarted rage while French literati hand him their half-eaten canapés, all the time talking excitedly about Salman Rushdie. It’s also the only place where you can guarantee that famous cricketers will be pleased if you come up to them in excited awe (same goes or went for Robin Cook).” Which begs the question, which famous cricketers have you accosted in Paris, Robert?
69th over: Pakistan 246-2 (Younis 37, Malik 102)
Broad’s turn. Malik, two runs from his ton, on strike. And he’s got it! He edges along the ground, to the left of gully, and away to the boundary. Job done, he makes little attempt at further scoring. England have been messing about with their fielding positions of late – the occasional leg slip when Moeen’s been bowling, and a silly mid on, part of a three-man close-ish cordon on the on side, for Broad – but no dice. “Is this the most dispiriting fixture in world sport let alone world cricket?” wonders Ian Copestake. “No atmosphere, unrelenting heat, neither side connected in any way to the country it is played in, a guilt factor built in to it being staged in said country … I have hardly recovered from following the last one.”
Updated at 1.27pm BST
68th over: Pakistan 242-2 (Younis 37, Malik 98)
Another three for Younis, struck to cover but not quite all the way. Malik then takes a confident stride towards his ton with an untroubled thud through extra cover for four. That brings him onto 97, and he decides not to hang around any longer, flinging his bat at the next delivery and sending it spiralling in the air towards, but frustratingly not close enough to, the fielder at extra cover. He gets a single.
67th over: Pakistan 234-2 (Younis 34, Malik 93)
Anderson and Broad keep alternating from what I can only describe as the empty end and Malik continues taking pigeon-steps towards his century, scoring a couple through midwicket but getting nothing off the other five balls.
66th over: Pakistan 232-2 (Younis 34, Malik 91)
Younis, who’s really showing off now, reverse sweeps Moeen’s first delivery for four. Buttler sees it coming and tries to get in position to effect a ludicrously amazing catch, but it goes well over his right shoulder. That’s the extent of the scoring from the over, though.
65th over: Pakistan 228-2 (Younis 30, Malik 91)
Broad’s back again, and Younis continues to roll out the shots, a lovely cover drive yielding four runs.
64th over: Pakistan 223-2 (Younis 25, Malik 91)
Well Moeen hasn’t gone anywhere, and neither has the flow of runs from his end. Younis reverse-paddles for a couple, and then Moeen gets one to kick off the surface and it flies past batsman and wicketkeeper, rolling away for four byes. A relatively demure eight runs from the over. Can England foil Malik, as they did Mohammed Hafeez, in the 90s? We’ll find out soon enough …
63rd over: Pakistan 215-2 (Younis 22, Malik 90)
Anderson comes straight back, replacing Broad after a single over, and he puts the brakes on the scoring. A maiden, but it all looks likke tough toil for England, this.
62nd over: Pakistan 215-2 (Younis 22, Malik 90)
This may be Moeen’s last over for a while. Younis Khan overtakes Javed Miandad to become Pakistan’s all-time leading Test run scorer by fair pummelling the ball over cow corner for six! That, four singles and a two makes this the most expensive over of the day so far, just beating Moeen’s last.
So what’s the most poorly attended major event you’ve been to? I once saw a band at Leeds Metropolitan University who made the major error of booking themselves to play outside term time. As a result the room was barely half full and sadly lacking in atmosphere throughout, which was a shame because Radiohead were pretty decent.
Updated at 12.59pm BST
61st over: Pakistan 203-2 (Younis 14, Malik 86)
Broad’s back too, and he gets a bit of movement from the seam that carries the ball just past the edge of Younis’s bat as he looks to work it into the on side. Maiden.
60th over: Pakistan 203-2 (Younis 14, Malik 86)
Moeen returns and generously starts with a full toss at Younis, though the batsman misses it completely and Buttler, understandably surprised, does too, though it hits his arm and doesn’t go very far. Still, it doesn’t take Younis long to get into the swing of the spin, and he flicks the next away for two and then takes a big stride before thudding the one after that through the covers. A single later, Malik boshes the ball over midwicket for another four. Eleven runs makes this the most expensive over of the day so far, Younis Khan doubling his score and Pakistan passing 200 in the process.
59th over: Pakistan 192-2 (Younis 7, Malik 82)
Younis drives Stokes’ final ball just under the diving Anderson at mid on, but the ball stops a few yards from the rope. Three more. If Younis hit the ball just a tiny percentage harder, he’d have had a couple of boundaries in the last two overs.
58th over: Pakistan 189-2 (Younis 4, Malik 82)
Wood attempts a yorker, and Younis awkwardly gets his bat down and pushes the ball through the on side, the ball rumbling away towards but not quite all the way to the rope for three. As for this question, I’m going with the majority.
57th over: Pakistan 186-2 (Younis 1, Malik 82)
Stokes bowls, and Younis fair leaps to his right before the ball thwacks into his pads. He takes a leg bye while the bowler’s appeal fades without reward. Perhaps he was outside the line when the ball struck, though HawkEye suggests that it was very much and almost precisely a straight-down-the-middle 50/50 call and the umpire could just as easily have raised his finger there. That brings Malik on strike, and he promptly drives between point and cover for four, and then thick-edges for four more. An expensive over, that had the umpire been minded to give the fielding side a bit of a break would have been very different indeed.
56th over: Pakistan 177-2 (Younis 1, Malik 74)
Mark Wood, who has looked sporadically potentially dangerous so far without wicket-taking reward, picks up where he left off before tea. There’s still no reward, but some promise, with the final ball moving into Malik, but the btsman leaves it to pass wide of off stump.
55th over: Pakistan 173-2 (Younis 0, Malik 72)
The over is completed without great drama. Perhaps as many as 35 overs remain in the day, so settle in for the long haul. “I think the small-crowd derision is very much laughter in the dark,” writes Robert Wilson. “An uncomfortable expression of real dismay. No one wants to hazard a depressing guess as to when there’ll be international cricket in Pakistan again and recently we’ve had the Australians hesitating about even going to Bangladesh. Some of it is our modern bent for euphemistic evasion but it’s also because we feel absurd lamenting the depradations of geopolitical mayhem on something as epehemeral as cricket. None of which is much comfort to a cricket-loopy 12 year old Pakistani kid or a ‘guest’ worker in the UAE who would dream of the heady luxuries of a zero-hours contract. If we don’t laugh, we’d cry.”
The players are back out. Stokes has two-thirds of his eighth over remaining. Let’s play cricket! Or, at least, let’s watch other people playing cricket! Or, in some cases, read stuff produced by someone watching other people playing cricket. Anyway, hello!
Tea, Pakistan 173-2 (Malik 72)
So Stokes strikes to end the partnership and the session – deserved for perseverance even if that was Pakistan’s session, much as the first was. There’s a long way to go of course but the wicket of the impressive Hafeez should do England’s morale a world of good. Simon Burnton will be back after tea. Here’s some lunch/tea reading with Vic Marks’ Spin. Thanks for your company, emails and tweets. Bye.
Updated at 11.59am BST
Wicket! Hafeez lbw b Stokes 98
A confident appeal from Stokes after rapping Hafeez on the pad, just above the knee roll. He’s moved across his stumps, which will have helped prompt the review, but Hawk-eye only confirms his departure – it’s hitting. A fine innings from Hafeez has ended two short of a hundred, but he’s performed excellently to put his side in control here. And that will be tea, two balls into the over.
Updated at 12.03pm BST
54th over: Pakistan 173-1 (Hafeez 98, Malik 72)
There’s been a certain absence of surprise in what’s unfolded so far – it’s almost been a gloomy pre-series predictions full house: spinners struggling for control – tick; pitch doing nothing for the seamers – tick; measured impregnable batting partnerships – tick; no one* in the crowd – tick. Malik milks Wood for two but is then deceived by an inswinger that he leaves even though it nips back perilously close to the stumps. The follow-up delivery is decent enough too, a feisty short one in the corridor of uncertainty that Malik decides late on to leave alone.
*Sorry, 1,504 people, don’t want to reignite that one.
53rd over: Pakistan 171-1 (Hafeez 98, Malik 70)
Stokes continues, and England’s offside-heavy infield has stemmed the flow of runs a tad from these two seamers. Stokes even manages an old-school back-of-a-length away-seamer that forces Malik onto the back foot to dab away. Malik steals a single after beating the man at short mid-off, which puts Hafeez on strike for the final two balls of the over, which are played defensively for dot balls.
52nd over: Pakistan 170-1 (Hafeez 98, Malik 69)
Hafeez is itching to get forward and push for the runs that will take him to his hundred, but Wood is accurate enough to keep him waiting, but not quite finding the pace and venom enough to discomfort him. It’s a maiden.
Updated at 11.47am BST
51st over: Pakistan 170-1 (Hafeez 98, Malik 69)
Ian Botham in the commentary box had been suggesting a half-hour burst of proper pace might do the trick, and for the first time since the first hour England have pace at both ends at present. He drops short at Hafeez who pulls him to deep square leg for a single before Malik takes a smartly-run two.
Damning stat of the day?
50th over: Pakistan 167-1 (Hafeez 97, Malik 67)
Rashid is withdrawn from the attack, which is probably for the best at the moment, as Cook carries on his search for the combination that can break this impregnable looking partnership. Mark Wood replaces Rashid, and concedes a single first up, but finds some reverse-swing into Malik, who handles it well. Wood then produces an absolute peach of an in-swinger, which seams sharply back in at Malik from just back of a length, cutting him in half and prompting an appeal, though it was too high for an lbw and didn’t brush bat at all. Good bowling though.
Updated at 11.18am BST
49th over: Pakistan 166-1 (Hafeez 96, Malik 67)
England keep a tightish offside field up for Stokes, but he strays towards legside a couple of times too many, from one of which Hafeez pulls to deep square leg for one more – he’s a boundary away from his hundred now.
Updated at 11.48am BST
48th over: Pakistan 165-1 (Hafeez 95, Malik 67)
There seems to have been a bit of sledging/banter/nonsense between Malik and Stokes at the end of the previous over, which necessitated an interjection from umpire Reiffel. Meanwhile Rashid sees this over’s token full toss treated much as the other ones have been – Hafeez leaning into it and clumping it over wide long-on for four. Cook posts a man out there, but the following ball is cleverly lofted high on the other side, towards long-off, for four more. An edged single completes another frustrating over for England.
47th over: Pakistan 155-1 (Hafeez 86, Malik 66)
Ben Stokes gets his first bowl of the afternoon session, replacing Moeen who has had a long old stint at that end. But his first ball is a loosener and Hafeez square drives effortlessly for four – he’ll be looking to reach his century by tea now. The rest of the over is better, but the last ball of it is still dabbed down past the slips for four more.
46th over: Pakistan 147-1 (Hafeez 78, Malik 66)
Rashid is seeing every bad ball punished at the moment – Malik swipes a full toss in front of square on the onside for four – but he finds some turn too, a low edge eluding first slip and running away for a single. Another single completes an expensive over, but one that carried at least a suggestion of threat. “At point does one start worrying about the sanity of the players?” wonders Krishnan Patel. “In the middle of an isolated desert, bowling on and on with no swing, seam or spin. The worst part apart from the dropped chances is they knew this was what was coming from a mile off.”
45th over: Pakistan 141-1 (Hafeez 77, Malik 61)
Moeen finds Hafeez’s inside-edge but it zips wide to Buttler’s left and brings a single to Pakistan and more frustration to England. The bowler responds by going around the wicket at Malik but there’s no point doing that if you’re going to serve up a tasty full toss, which the batsman works effortlessly round the corner for two. Another thick edge square on the offside trundles through the lush outfield and brings three more.
Updated at 11.49am BST
44th over: Pakistan 135-1 (Hafeez 76, Malik 56)
Rashid continues, and Pakistan continue to find runs easy to find, with Hafeez working a single. Malik takes advantage of the low slow bounce to rock back and hammer the ball through extra cover for four. Emboldened, he then essays an almighty slog that is mistimed and flies high but not far but lands safely just over Cook at mid-off. It’s proving that sort of day.
Anyway, on the subject of the emptiness of the stadium, for all the derision flying around at the size of the crowd, you’d imagine the UAE isn’t the easiest place for workers to throw a sickie or pull off the old “working from home” ruse before hot-footing it to the ground (whereupon you’d almost certainly be picked out by the cameras).
43rd over: Pakistan 128-1 (Hafeez 75, Malik 50)
Hello again everyone – it’s proving a tough old day for England isn’t it, with perhaps the only two balls all day that have taken a regulation edge off a seamer’s bowling seeing wicket-chances spurned, first by Ian Bell’s butterfingers and then Stuart Broad’s overstepping. But on they must persist. Moeen continues, and Hafeez drives him for three on the offside, which brings to the strike Malik, who brings up a sensible 50 with a confident on-drive for one. Moeen’s been England’s busiest bowler by far but then it’s going to be a while before he gets his pads on…
Updated at 11.50am BST
42nd over: Pakistan 123-1 (Hafeez 71, Malik 49)
Rashid returns, and both batsmen celebrate with an instant single. And then some more singles. And a two. “I’m increasingly worried about Neil Waterfield’s innocent confidence,” writes Robert Wilson. “He makes a fine point about the unlikelihood of a lost drunk wandering around in the UAE but it depends on the degree of ‘lost’, does it not?”
At which, Tom Davies is going to return to take you through to tea.
41st over: Pakistan 117-1 (Hafeez 67, Malik 47)
Malik gets three runs from Moeen’s final delivery, hitting through a gap towards the cover boundary, where the ball runs out of puff and gets chased down. Meanwhile assorted criket writers have had enough of all this nobodys-watching stuff.
40th over: Pakistan 114-1 (Hafeez 67, Malik 44)
Broad bowls a full toss into Hafeez’s pads, and the batsman neatly flicks it past the square leg umpire and away through an entirely deserted expanse of field for four. The bowler looks pretty angry with himself after that, and I imagine quite a lot of other people are looking pretty angry with him too.
39th over: Pakistan 109-1 (Hafeez 63, Malik 43)
Another Moeen over, two more singles. A couple more photos for you, and these should allow you to count today’s audience pretty accurately.
38th over: Pakistan 107-1 (Hafeez 62, Malik 42)
Runs for Malik! Two of the little blighters! Broad bowls, and Malik prods through midwicket for a couple. Quite rightly, after all that insanely rapid run-accumulation, he takes the remainder of the over off.
37th over: Pakistan 105-1 (Hafeez 62, Malik 40)
Moeen’s first couple of deliveries each go for a couple, both off the Hafeez bat. Malik, meanwhile, has still only scored those four singles since lunch. “Now, in common with the very vast majority of the world’s cricket watching population it would seem, I’m no doyenne of the cricket venues of the UAE,” writes Ben Powell, “but I am somewhat surprised that you have not seen fit to mention that the Starship Enterprise appears to be looming over the Sheikh Zayed cricket stadium today (32nd over).” Similarly, “Surely with the action on-field and off otherwise creating little excitement, the arrival of the starship Enterprise (photo of Cook leading his men out above over 31) might liven things up a tad?” writes Richard Neal. I must admit that, in common it seems with the vast majority of the UAE’s 12 cricket fans, I wouldn’t recognise the Starship Enterprise if it landed on my cricket ground. Which it apparently has.
36th over: Pakistan 101-1 (Hafeez 58, Malik 40)
As in the first session, Anderson bowls four overs at the start and is then subbed off for Broad, whose second ball brings new morale-crushing disaster for England! Malik flashes at a wide delivery and diverts it straight into the stomach of the man at gully! England celebrate, but then we see a replay of the bowler’s delivery stride, and there’s no foot behind the line there! He lands, just, on the front edge of the line, so there’s not a lot in it – another inch back would have done the trick – but it’s definitely a no-ball. That’s a punch in the figurative gut for the fielding side.
35th over: Pakistan 100-1 (Hafeez 58, Malik 40)
Hafeez scores a couple off the last to tick Pakistan’s total into treble figures. He’d have had a single sooner except, the ball having been prodded towards cover, Shoaib Malik simply refused to run for it. Malik has scored four runs since lunch, all singles.
Updated at 10.18am BST
34th over: Pakistan 98-1 (Hafeez 56, Malik 40)
A boundary! The first for exactly and precisely to the very ball 10 overs! Anderson’s first delivery is cut past point by Hafeez, and verily flies to the rope. Exciting times.
Updated at 10.21am BST
33rd over: Pakistan 93-1 (Hafeez 51, Malik 40)
Another over – from Moeen – another single for Hafeez. This initial post-lunch period has not been entirely action-packed. “Whilst I am grateful for Robert Wilson’s Tiny Crowd Survival tips (Over 23), which I shall be putting into practice at the Test from tomorrow onwards, his advice on how to avoid the clearly lost drunk person does lead me to believe that Robert hasn’t watched a great deal of cricket in the UAE!” notes Neil Waterfield.
32nd over: Pakistan 92-1 (Hafeez 50, Malik 40)
Ian Bell droppee Mohammad Hafeez completes his 50 with a nudge to midwicket, the only run from the over, accompanied by much regretful muttering from watching Englishmen. And here, apropos nothing much, is a picture of the most crowded section of the ground as the players came out for the start of play. It may have filled up a bit by now.
Updated at 10.38am BST
31st over: Pakistan 91-1 (Hafeez 49, Malik 40)
Moeen’s first two deliveries yield singles, the second a premeditated and totally safe sweep along the ground from Hafeez, and then the next four yield nothing at all.
Updated at 10.01am BST
30th over: Pakistan 89-1 (Hafeez 48, Malik 39)
Anderson is given very little encouragement from pitch or ball, so with no great bounce and no great movement he just sticks with a disciplined line and length, and Pakistan get a single. Though, having written that, the final delivery jags back into Mohammad Hafeez, who just about jams his bat onto it, and perhaps there will be some reverse swinging to be done here.
29th over: Pakistan 88-1 (Hafeez 48, Malik 38)
Moeen concedes as many runs in his first three deliveries after lunch as in his four overs before it (three, all singles) and then the same again in the next two balls. Still, the last is a dot.
28th over: Pakistan 82-1 (Hafeez 44, Malik 36)
Anderson’s fifth over of the day is his first maiden. So is it curtains for Ian Bell at slip? His hands aren’t so much buckets as planks at the moment, and when chances come only very occasionally that’s a bit of an issue. Nasser Hussain made an interesting point in analysis, saying that Mark Waugh, a memorably great slip fielder, used to stand with his knees pointed slightly inwards, so they didn’t get in the way of a catch – you can kind of see it here:
While Bell stands with back bent, knees splayed, hands clasped between them, and that land him in trouble if the ball doesn’t fly straight into them. Anyway, the session starts with just one slip, and it’s Alastair Cook. I’m here for the next hour and for the entire third session, incidentally, during which I’d ask you to ping all your emails here, if you’d be so kind.
The entire crowd in Abu Dhabi pops out for some lunch:
In summary then: It’s been Pakistan’s morning, Hafeez and Malik compiling a solid partnership after the early loss of Masood, and batting with an air of authority and good judgment. England haven’t bowled too badly, but that Bell drop looked more calamitous with every passing over. Slip chances such as those don’t come along often in these conditions – we’re not at Trent Bridge now Toto. The seamers have all bowled doggedly and will be encouraged by signs of reverse swing, but a lot will continue to be required of Moeen and Rashid. We’ll be learning things this afternoon I’m sure. Simon Burnton will be back straight after lunch and I’ll see you all a bit later.
Lunch: Pakistan 82-1 (Hafeez 44, Malik 36)
27th over: Pakistan 82-1 (Hafeez 44, Malik 36). Moeen has the final over before lunch. Hafeez is watchful with his half-century in sight – he’s batted with skill and intelligence – until he tries to pull the last ball of the session to the boundary but can’t quite time it and finds the fielder. A maiden.
26th over: Pakistan 82-1 (Hafeez 44, Malik 36). Hafeez sweeps Rashid – the first such shot of the day – to the square leg boundary where Root dives well to prevent the boundary; they take three instead. It’s a better over from Rashid though – better lengths, more subtle spin. Malik has now played 20 consecutive dot balls, fact fans.
Updated at 9.00am BST
25th over: Pakistan 79-1 (Hafeez 41, Malik 36). Moeen finds a fuller length, to which Hafeez is more respectful before nudging a single square on the legside for one. There should be time for at least one more over before lunch.
24th over: Pakistan 78-1 (Hafeez 40, Malik 36). Rashid gets a go from the other end this time, but Hafeez gets after him again, planting his foot forward and lofting it over the top for four. Another back foot cut brings a single – Rashid is finding plenty of turn but dropping too short at times.
Updated at 10.13am BST
23rd over: Pakistan 73-1 (Hafeez 35, Malik 36). Hafeez gets a pushed single off Moeen but it’s a good tight over from Moeen again.
“54 people!” corrects Robert Wilson on earlier crowd estimates. “It looks and, more importantly, sounds like grim and deadly county warm-up matches in late and snowy April. Fenners, seven or eight profoundly weird people, a dog and me. I like Neil Waterfield’s bullish style (Over 13) but when they are so few people the question of where to sit becomes very moot. I feel I should offer him some Tiny Crowd Survival tips.
“You can hear everything. From everybody. You might think it wise to avoid the twitching, shouty partisan or the clearly lost drunk person but that’s not the main danger. In a big crowd, amongst the merciful many, you never realise how many crickety people think they are amazingly funny. In a small crowd, you are ruthlessly exposed. It’s bad enough if you have to overhear him regaling his mates with his quips and bon mots but when he’s on his own* he regales the fielders, you, and any soul within semaphore range. It can make a day’s cricket seem very long.
“*In my own defence, I haven’t done it in years and I have a whole load of new material.”
Updated at 8.54am BST
22nd over: Pakistan 72-1 (Hafeez 34, Malik 36). Short mid-on is withdrawn for Broad this time, though the short mid-off remains in place, but it’s still a positive imaginative field, complementing Broad’s own assertiveness, which is delivering some good tight inswinging bowling. A merited maiden.
Updated at 8.50am BST
21st over: Pakistan 72-1 (Hafeez 34, Malik 36). Cook gives Rashid a rest and brings on Mooen for the first time. England’s utility man duly turns in a nice tight over – less spin than Rashid, more control – to begin with a maiden.
20th over: Pakistan 72-1 (Hafeez 34, Malik 36). Broad returns in place of Wood, and is bolstered by a short mid-off and short mid-on. Malik is batting assertively though, and cracks a single away on the offside, before Hafeez does likewise. Broad’s bowling with intent though, and shouldn’t feel too upset by conceding a four off a squirted edge to Malik from a ball that was speared in at him with guile and a modicum of venom.
Updated at 8.42am BST
19th over: Pakistan 66-1 (Hafeez 33, Malik 31). This pair appear to have the measure of Rashid – Hafeez square cuts stylishly off the back foot for four. No sooner do I type that, though, than Rashid sends a ripping leg-break past Hafeez’s edge. A couple more singles follow.
Updated at 10.19am BST
18th over: Pakistan 60-1 (Hafeez 28, Malik 30). It’s been a while since proceedings were delayed by the hasty dragging of tarpaulins over advertising hoardings – at least 20 minutes by my estimation – so we have some more fiddling with the sightscreen before Wood’s over starts. He continues to find some zest off the pitch and forces Hafeez to awkwardly nudge one off his hips – the batsman gets a single but the bowler gets some encouragement. Wood’s pace is then used against him as Malik sends first an effortlessly timed on-drive and then a classy cover drive to the boundary for fours. Runs are flowing now.
17th over: Pakistan 51-1 (Hafeez 27, Malik 22). Hafeez is going after anything erratic from Rashid, crunching a full toss over his head for four to bring up Pakistan’s 50. He adds a single before Rashid finds some exaggerated legspin though to beat Malik. Five from the over. Anyone going to rush wildly to judgment on the debutant on the basis of three overs?
Anyway, on the problem of Test series being too home-dominated, here’s a suggestion:
Updated at 8.26am BST
16th over: Pakistan 46-1 (Hafeez 22, Malik 22). Wood has a big lbw shout against Malik after finding some reverse-swing and bringing one into the right-hander. It hits pad first and hawkeye suggests it may have clipped off stump, though nothing’s given. Malik responds by digging out a fuller delivery and driving smartly past the bowler for four. He shouldn’t feel too despondent though – he’s bowling with purpose and aggression and making the batsmen think.
15th over: Pakistan 42-1 (Hafeez 22, Malik 18). Rashid overpitches and Hafeez bunts it on the volley down to long-on for two. He’s finding a decent variety, but unfortunately that variety includes a couple of presentable deliveries for batsmen, one of which is cracked straight down the ground for four by Hafeez.
Updated at 8.18am BST
14th over: Pakistan 36-1 (Hafeez 16, Malik 18). Wood changes ends to the Pavilion End and his first ball is punched through backward point for four by Malik – that’s been the most productive shot and scoring area for Pakistan by a long way so far. It’s the only scoring shot of the over though.
13th over: Pakistan 32-1 (Hafeez 16, Malik 14). And here’s the moment: at last Adil Rashid has his first over in Test cricket, six months overdue though it is. There’s some variety in flight and length, as well as side spin, one of which induces a grubby play and miss. But the leg-spinner is unable to begin with a maiden, Hafeez rocks onto the back foot and cracks the final ball of the over square on the offside for four.
“Sparse crowd?” writes Neil Waterfield, “Tell Bumble to worry not, the crowd should be boosted by 3.7% tomorrow as my mate Richard and I shall be in attendance for the rest of the Test. We just need to do a day’s work beforehand.” Perhaps we can have an individual roll call of every single fan present.
12th over: Pakistan 28-1 (Hafeez 12, Malik 14). Malik’s square drive on the offside is well fielded at backward point, but he finds the gap next ball with a drive through extra cover for three. Stokes then strays just a fraction down the legside with a short ball that Malik doesn’t properly get hold of, and gloves through a single. England have caused some difficulties for Pakistan’s batsmen with such short balls as they can muster, though it’s obviously not a tactic that can be overused. And that’s the first drinks break – not a bad morning’s work so far for England but it could have been so much better if Bell had held that regulation slip catch.
Updated at 8.10am BST
11th over: Pakistan 24-1 (Hafeez 11, Malik 11). Wood is finding at least some pace, such as there is, and forces Hafeez into a hurried attempted hook with a shorter delivery that he can’t get hold of properly and the ball bobs away on the legside. A maiden, and a good one.
10th over: Pakistan 24-1 (Hafeez 11, Malik 11). We have some shouting for Pakistan among the eerily sparse crowd now – I’ll say one thing, given that they’re in a fairly open stadium, the few dozen fans in here are managing some decent acoustic projection. Malik pushes a couple more runs through backward point from a wider, shorter delivery. We could do with some spin soon – not least to push the over-rate up from its current 10 per hour.
Updated at 7.55am BST
9th over: Pakistan 22-1 (Hafeez 11, Malik 9). Another bowling change, but not the anticipated spin – instead it’s Mark Wood. His first ball, also a little too short, is punched past point for four by Malik. Wood manages to hurry Malik up a little with the last ball of the over though, which almost beats the batsman for pace and an inelegant inside-edge brings him a single, and encouragement for the bowler.
8th over: Pakistan 17-1 (Hafeez 11, Malik 4). We have our first bowling change – Stokes for Broad at the Pavilion End – and the Durham man begins with a pretty rank full toss outside off stump which takes Malik off guard as much as anyone and he only grubs an inside-edge behind for a single. Hafeez helps himself to another four when Stokes drops short outside off stump and he square cuts forcefully to the ropes. There’s really no pace and movement for seamers here at all – but we knew that already. Talking of things we knew already, like there being an actual match on …
7th over: Pakistan 12-1 (Hafeez 7, Malik 3). I’d be expecting a bowling change by now, but Anderson has been bowling well and still has the ball. He’s even got a funked-up field to pep him up now, with a silly mid-on, Moeen, brought in. Then yet again – for crying out loud! – we have more sightscreen-related delays as white tarpaulins are dragged over advertising hoardings. When we do resume, Hafeez finds the boundary for the first time in the innings, a lovely textbook cover drive from a wide-ish delivery. Then – A DROP! Anderson finds Hafeez’s outside edge and Bell spills it horribly at second slip. That’s a bad miss.
Updated at 7.40am BST
6th over: Pakistan 8-1 (Hafeez 3, Malik 3). Again we have sightscreen shenanigans to remedy before starting the over – one of the reasons why we managed only five in the first half-hour. Broad manages to find a bit of in-jagging movement off the seam but Malik’s defences are good. Unlike Masood, he knows how to duck under a bouncer too, as he demonstrates from the fourth ball of the over. Overall though, Broad is pitching it up smartly. Both he and Anderson have been very good in these conditions again, thus far.
5th over: Pakistan 8-1 (Hafeez 3, Malik 3). Stuart Broad’s calling for water already as Anderson begins his third over. There’s no pace off the pitch, of course, and when the bowler drops just a fraction short Malik can get off the mark with a languid back-foot push through the covers for two, before adding another single to mid-off. Anderson then manages another bouncer, of sorts, that passes harmlessly past Hafeez at shoulder height.
4th over: Pakistan 5-1 (Hafeez 3, Malik 0). Hafeez isn’t taking any risks – he’s barely gone forward down the pitch yet – but there’s not much else he can do against some decent, probing bowling from Broad. This one’s a maiden.
3rd over: Pakistan 5-1 (Hafeez 3, Malik 0). The left-hander Masood is off the mark with a push for two square on the offside from Anderson, who follows up by inducing his first play and miss of the morning, finding just enough movement to seam it past Masood’s defensive prod. Then he gets him with an unexpected lifter – Masood doesn’t know how to respond at all, ducking into it and seeing the ball clatter off his helmet and onto the stumps. Shoaib Malik is the new man in.
Updated at 7.19am BST
Wicket! Masood b Anderson 2, Pakistan 5-1
Anderson gets some bounce and Masood can’t cope with it – it cannons off his helmet and ricochets onto the stumps.
Updated at 10.07am BST
2nd over: Pakistan 3-0 (Hafeez 3, Masood 0). Broad opens up at the Pavilion end and his over, too, is delayed by sightscreen problems behind the bowler’s arm. A sponsor’s name intruding, it would seem, in some kind of enhanced metaphor of the State Of The Game (and much else). He has a decently assertive field in place, three slips, a gully and a short leg, and manages to strike Hafeez awkwardly on the top of the pad with an in-slanter. Overall though, Broad pitches it up too and Hafeez plays it out diligently, scoring only with a dabbed two past backward point off the final ball of the over.
1st over: Pakistan 1-0 (Hafeez 1, Masood 0). The start is delayed slightly as sight-screen readjustments are made. Then Anderson begins to Hafeez, and bowls full and straight which Hafeez squirts along the ground to gully. Jimmy maintains a full length and a decent line, as he must, and Hafeez gets off the mark with a push on the offside fifth ball.
And this is why Pakistan not being able to play at home is such a terrible thing:
About nine of them are singing Jerusalem.
Updated at 7.06am BST
The players are out. Looks as if Jimmy Anderson has the ball first up, as per.
So what of the ICC mace, of which we’ve heard little since Strauss was waving it about at The Oval four years ago? Ian Forth very much wants to know. “Who last handed over the ICC mace?” he asks. “Where’s it been? What happens when a team wins top spot during a series? Does Steve Smith (say) have to hop on a plane to Durban (for example), interrupting a family holiday on the Gold Coast, pop the mace in overhead luggage, making sure not to knock his fellow passengers on the head, then meet AB de Villiers at a Hospitality Inn somewhere off the freeway once he lands, where there’s a ceremonial hand over? Only for the whole process to be reversed two weeks later? Seems unlikely.”
Meanwhile, our man in Abu Dhabi is soaking up the pre-match atmosphere:
Updated at 6.54am BST
More doom and gloom: “So will Taylor be rushed into the second or third test once the selectors realise half our batsmen can’t play spin, never use their feet or are horribly out of form?” asks Kevin Wilson. It’s this doughty refusal to jinx anything by being remotely positive that makes me proud to be part of the English cricket Family.
It’s a barren featureless desert out there. Not in Abu Dhabi but here in King’s Cross, where even the nearby prominent-chain sandwich outlet is not yet open to avail me of a coffee. Out in Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, it’s scorchingly hot, to the surprise of no one of course, but it offers us a rare glimpse of Alastair Cook actually perspiring.
Talking of conditions, and the doubts about the opening batting/spinners situation. Here’s Tom Gucht: “It does strike me as a bit short-sighted opening in Moeen, even more so after Mike Selvey drew my attention that he could find himself stepping straight up to bat on the back of bowling 40 overs in 40° heat – a recipe for disaster. It reminds me a bit of the decision to select Robshaw as rugby captain three and a half years ago – a decent fella who might do a stop gap job until a more suitable option comes along – and here he still is four years down the line getting smashed at the breakdown by Pocock, doing alright enough to still get picked with his wholehearted dedication, but not the world class option we ought to be striving for.” Probably a bit harsh on Moeen there, who is a huge and important part of this team, and has been shunted up, in the selectors’ eyes anyhow, for want of better alternatives at the top of the order as the three-year long search for an opening partner for Cook continues.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan
England: Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jimmy Anderson.
No surprises in the England line-up in the end, Imran Khan comes in for Yasir Shah for Pakistan.
Pakistan have won the toss and will bat
And Yasir Shah’s absence is confirmed. Misbah is not happy about that at all – “it’s mismanagement and we’re really disappointed,” he broadsides at the selectors – while Alastair Cook says England are ‘as ready as we can be’ for what looks set to be a long day in the field.
Updated at 6.47am BST
“It’ll be turgid and attritional,” trills Nasser Hussain excitedly in the punditbox. Meanwhile, some possibly important team news brewing:
Updated at 6.34am BST
Morning everyone. I said MORNING EVERYONE. Time to get up! Cricket’s back, a whole two and a half weeks after after the English domestic season finished. Time was when we cricket fans would sneer at we football fans for the commercially-driven brevity of the latter’s close-season, but now international cricket is the sport that never sleeps. Just like you and me right now, dear reader(s).
That said, there’s no reason to feel jaded as we approach this one. A challenging and absorbing few weeks awaits. Away series against Pakistan in recent times have served to bring English sides surfing triumphant waves crashing back onto the shore in a bit of mess. In 2011-12 Andrew Strauss’s side arrived in the UAE brandishing the world No1 mace and fortified by crushing wins over Australia and India in the previous 12 months. Three Test defeats later, bamboozled by Saeed Ajmal and outbatted by the likes of Azhar Ali and Younus Khan, the picture looked very different for both England and Strauss. And in 2005, the last time England visited Pakistan itself, a team that arrived metaphorically drunk on victory after the finest of all Ashes series soon found itself slapped about the chops and forced to down the gritty black coffee of a 2-0 series defeat, as Naved ul-Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yusuf and Co proved too forceful in their home conditions. The Michael Vaughan era never really regained its groove after that.
So now, England return to Pakistan’s rather antiseptic and (we must still hope) temporary “home” again buoyed by Ashes success and a feelgood summer, generated by the fabled Exciting New Brand Of Cricket introduced under Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace. A very different brand will be required here of a side with an unproven spin attack, and batting that can veer wildly between flair and flakiness. Pakistan, on the other hand, are pretty formidable in the Emirates – and they’re not bad away at the moment either – and though they will be missing key batting strength in Azhar Ali and have injury concerns over one of their most important weapons, the leg-spinner Yasir Shah, England’s options have also been constrained by injury too, with Steven Finn ruled out of this one.
So let’s just say Pakistan are favourites and, from an England point of view, see anything not smelling too pungently of defeat as a bonus.
Anyway, cricket’s back. Hooray! Savour the first pictures of summer:
Updated at 6.36am BST
Tom will be here shortly.
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