Sharjah - Skipper Alastair Cook admitted
playing a third spinner would be a tough call as England prepares to take on
Pakistan in the third and final Test at Sharjah from Sunday.
England are 1-0 down after losing the
second Test in Dubai and drawing the first in Abu Dhabi, so are seeking to
level the series, as New Zealand did last year.
The Black Caps also used three spinners in
Daniel Vettori, Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi to beat Pakistan by an innings, also
in Sharjah for a 1-1 result.
Asked if England would play a third spinner
in Samit Patel in place of Mark Wood who is rested with an ankle problem, Cook
termed it a tough call.
"That's the major decision we have to
make," Cook said on Saturday. "Yesterday when we turned up they had
just watered the wicket so it didn't give us too many clues.
"It will be really easy after the game
in hindsight to see whether we've made the right decision but it will be a tough
If England lose the series 2-0, they will
slump to as low as sixth in Test rankings and Pakistan will jump to their
best-ever second spot.
Cook, who hurt his groin during the second
Test, said he was feeling better.
"I feel fine.... I've been confident
since the second day after that game. The medical team worked pretty hard on me
and I felt fine from there. Hopefully it will be as normal."
England will also bring in James Taylor for
Jos Butler to bolster their struggling batting.
"He's itching to play and you don't
average 47-48 in first-class cricket without being a fine player," said
Cook of Taylor whose only two Test were in 2012.
"One of his very strong points is that
when he gets in he goes on to get big scores. We know how important
first-innings runs are to set the game up."
Cook warned England will have to be at
their best to beat Pakistan, unbeaten in a series in United Arab Emirates
(UAE), being forced to play away from home due to security fears since 2009.
"They (Pakistan) have a good record in
the UAE, at all three grounds. We've got to play some good cricket. If we
continue to play the way we have, we've got to earn the right to do that
Cook admitted Pakistan's leg-spinner Yasir
Shah will again be a major threat.
"He bowled very well. He's got good
control and bowls it pretty quickly for a leg-spinner. He'll always take
wickets because of the amount of overs he bowls in a four-man attack.
"Hopefully this game I won't get out
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq ruled out
the option of playing a third spinner in Bilal Asif, whose bowling action was
cleared on Friday.
"We have been thinking about it but
the pitch doesn't look like that sort of a turner where you can go with three
spinners," said Misbah.
Pakistan may bring in Azhar Ali to open the
innings in place of Shan Masood and paceman Rahat Ali will replace fast bowler
Imran Khan, ruled out with a hand injury.
Misbah said his team needed to remain
"Obviously you have to think
positively and we will do our best not leave any stone unturned and play well
and win," said Misbah, who deferred a decision to retire from Test
"Obviously your confidence is high
after a win, so it's an important match for us and we will do our best to win