Abu Dhabi - Skipper Alastair Cook was holding firm with a solid half-century
after losing his partner Moeen Ali on the third day of the first Test
against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Cook was unbeaten on 78
and with him Ian Bell on a shaky single as England reached 122 for one
at lunch, trailing Pakistan's mammoth first innings total of 523 for
eight by 401 runs.
Resuming at 56-0 Cook and Ali batted well to
post England's first century partnership in 11 innings, with the skipper
looking in good nick.
Cook drove paceman Wahab Riaz to point
boundary for his third boundary to complete his 45th Test half-century
and negotiated the pace-cum spin attack with authority.
He has so far hit seven boundaries during his fighting 141-ball knock.
last century stand came against New Zealand at Leeds earlier this year
with Cook and now discarded Adam Lyth posting 177.
But at 116,
left-hander Ali edged an outgoing delivery from paceman Imran Khan to
wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed who took a low catch to his left.
survived some anxious moments at the crease with left-armer Zulfiqar
Babar started to turn the ball on a pitch which did not assist England
spinners on the first two days.
Babar was unlucky not to have Bell
four overs before the interval when close-in fielder Shan Masood failed
to hold on to an edge at silly point.
But even that let-off will encourage Pakistan for further wickets in the second session.
Pakistan's big total was built around Shoaib Malik's career best 245 in his first Test in five years.