Stumps: Misbah puts Pakistan in a position of great strength – Dubai Day 1

Paul Radley delivers his observations from Day 1 of the second Test between England and Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan cricketer Misbah-ul-Haq shown after reaching a century on Thursday at Dubai during Day 1 of the second Test against England. Jason O'Brien / Action Images / Reuters / October 22, 2015
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Stumps – Pakistan 282 for four

DUBAI // Misbah-ul-Haq confirmed a day of personal triumph in the final over, by hitting Moeen Ali for two sixes and then a reverse-swept two to go to his century.

It bookended a fine day for the Pakistan captain, which had started with him winning a crucial toss. By the close, his side were in a position of great strength.

England’s bowlers managed just the one incision in the evening session. The lone success fell to Mark Wood.

The fast bowler had bowled with appreciable heart throughout a taxing first day for bowlers of his ilk. He earned due reward when he had Younis Khan caught down the leg-side for 56.

Tea – Pakistan 178-3

Given he is Pakistan’s leading run scorer in Test cricket, it is not only England who must feel like Younis Khan is a thorn in their side.

There was certainly a substantial amount of deja vu about the way he repaired Pakistan's innings in the afternoon session.

England were in the ascendant when Shan Masood was caught at the wicket by Jos Buttler for 55, to the first ball after the break off James Anderson.

A score of 82 for three represented a healthy position for the tourists, having lost the toss. Younis, though, set about steadying Pakistan’s effort, just as he had done - decisively - the last time these sides met here.

The stand between him and Azhar Ali back then was probably the seminal one in a series that Pakistan eventually coasted to win.

This time, his partner in the restorative effort was Misbah-ul-Haq. Younis was 56 not out, his 30th Test half-century, while his captain was unbeaten on 44 at tea.

Lunch – Pakistan 85-2

When Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and almost apologetically opted for Pakistan to bat, the last person who would have expected to be centre of attention in the morning session will have been Jonny Bairstow.

The non-bowling England batsman went out to the field with his helmet, some shinpads, and probably the feeling that he and his colleagues were in for a long slog in the field.

And yet, from his position at short-leg, Bairstow was the star of the morning. First, his catch dismissed Mohammed Hafeez for 18 off Moeen Ali’s off-spin.

Then he spectacularly brought about the end of Shoaib Malik – the double-centurion last time out – when he dived to catch a rebound off his own chest, in Ben Stokes’s first over.

Despite Bairstow’s good work, Pakistan will not have been unhappy with their morning’s work, as they reached the lunch break on 85-2.

Shan Masood had been a ghost at the run-feast in Abu Dhabi, and he looked intent on making amends here.

England targeted the young left-hander, who had been bowled off his helmet and then the toe of his bat in the first Test, but he stood up to the barrage well.

Clearly aware of the challenges his young colleague has been facing, Misbah rose to applaud Masood when he reached his half-century.

pradley@thenational.ae

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