Pakistan hold edge in Dubai

2012-01-18 15:43

Dubai - Pakistan openers Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar hit contrasting half-centuries to steer their team to a 96-run lead over England with three wickets in hand by stumps on Wednesday on the second day of the first Test.

Led by Hafeez's chancy 88 and Umar's solid 58, Pakistan reached 288-7 in reply to England's 192 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's career-best 7-55 on Tuesday had bundled out top-ranked England on a pitch favourable for batting.

Misbah-ul-Haq (52) frustrated England further with his 11th half-century in 13 Tests since being appointed captain in 2010, before England hit back with two wickets just before stumps.

Captain Andrew Strauss won his first of two television referrals after New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden had turned down Graeme Swann's (2-89) lbw appeal against Misbah.

James Anderson (2-57) brought some relief for England on an otherwise frustrating day by bowling Abdur Rehman in the last over of the day.

Anderson had provided immediate success with the second new ball, inducing Asad Shafiq to get a big edge while on 16 and Pakistan's lead was 39 runs.

Adnan Akmal, who will resume on 24, was on 9 when Kevin Pietersen dropped a hard chance in the covers after England bowlers had toiled without much success in the first two sessions.

Hafeez escaped a run out on 44 and was also dropped on 52 before falling lbw when he missed Swann's full-pitched delivery while attempting a sweep shortly after lunch. Hafeez hit 11 fours and also lofted Swann over wide long on for the lone six of the match so far.

England - unbeaten in its last nine test series - found something to cherish in the middle session as part-time medium-pacer Jonathan Trott forced Younis Khan to play across the line to trap the former Pakistan skipper lbw on 37.

Earlier, Stuart Broad claimed two quick wickets to give England some hope of getting back into the match before lunch.

Bowling round the wicket, Broad clean bowled Umar as the left-hander played down the wrong line. The fast bowler found a thin edge to dismiss Azhar Ali for 1 just before lunch, and ultimately finished with figures of 2-72.

Umar and Hafeez batted with aggression against the England seamers after resuming overnight at 42 without loss. The pair added 48 inside the first hour, with both using their feet against Swann to hit some attractive boundaries.

England twice came close to dismissing Hafeez, but Bell missed a sharp run out chance and Tremlett couldn't hang on to a diving catch off a mistimed hook shot.

Umar completed his half-century with his ninth four when he hit Tremlett through the covers, before Bell's throw from square leg narrowly missed the stumps with Hafeez well short of the crease.

Hafeez had another lucky escape shortly after completing his half-century - also including nine boundaries - when Tremlett's desperate dive at wide mid-on saw the ball pop out of his hands.

Broad, who bowled sharply in his second spell, ended the 114-run partnership by dismissing Umar off the next delivery.

It was the Pakistan opening pair's fifth century stand in tests, surpassing countrymen Sadiq Mohammad-Majid Khan (4) and Saeed Anwar-Aamir Sohail (4).

England has not won a test on the subcontinent after conceding first-innings lead in 12 years. The two times it has achieved the feat have both come against Pakistan - in 1961 (at Lahore) and 2000 (at Karachi).