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09 June 2023

England lose early wickets after routing Pakistan

England players huddle together during a nets sessions at The Dubai International Cricket Stadium on February 2, 2012 in Dubai (GETTY IMAGES)


England lost two early wickets after dismissing Pakistan for a low score of 99 on the opening day of the third and final Test here on Friday.

Stuart Broad, who took three wickets in 16 balls, finished with 4-36 while James Anderson grabbed 3-35 to help rout Pakistan, who decided to bat on a seemingly batting-friendly Dubai Stadium pitch.

England were themselves in trouble at tea on 19-2, after they lost opener Alastair Cook (one) and Jonathan Trott (two) in paceman Umar Gul's incisive opening spell, trailing Pakistan by 80 runs in the first innings.

At the break Andrew Strauss (nine) and Kevin Pietersen (six) were at the crease, endeavouring to overcome England's batting frailties which saw them go down 2-0 in the series.

They lost the first Test here by ten wickets and the second by 72 runs in Abu Dhabi.

With the wind blowing and the pitch having some early moisture, England's pace pair of Broad and Anderson bowled well to expose Pakistan's batting in which Asad Shafiq top-scored with 45.

Anderson struck as early as in the first over, trapping opener Taufiq Umar for a duck.

Broad then clicked into gear, snaring Ali in his third over through a caught behind and Younis in his next, caught off a rising delivery, again by wicket-keeper Matt Prior.

He then claimed Hafeez's wicket trapping him leg before. Australian umpire Simon Taufel initially turned down the appeal but changed the decision after England called for a review.

It got worse for Pakistan, tumbling to 21-5 when Anderson trapped Misbah-ul Haq for one in a decision challenged by the Pakistani skipper to no avail.

Shafiq and Adnan Akmal (six) added 18 for the sixth wicket before Broad changed ends to dismiss the wicket-keeper, again with a sharp incoming delivery which caught the batsmen in front of the stumps.

Graeme Swann then teased a miscued a drive from Abdul Rehman (one) gathered by a grateful Kevin Pietersen at mid-off, leaving Pakistan in danger of being bowled out for their lowest ever Test total -- 53 against Australia in 2002.

Shafiq hit his first boundary in the last over before lunch to take Pakistan past that lowest mark and then hit another off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar to avoid the ignominy.

But Panesar, who took 2-25, had the last laugh, breaking the 34-run stand -- the best of the innings -- between Saeed Ajmal (12) and Shafiq after lunch.

Umar Gul made 13 before Anderson bowled him to wrap up the innings.