England have the edge
England have the edge in the second Test after reducing Pakistan to 125-4 on a captivating third day in Abu Dhabi.
Last Updated: 02/02/12 11:09am
England are on course to level their three-match Test series against Pakistan thanks to Stuart Broad's runs and Monty Panesar's wickets on day three at the Zayed Stadium.
Broad's morning counter-attack brought him an unbeaten 58, and helped England from an overnight 207-5 to 327 all out and a precious lead of 70 on first innings in this second Test.
Then Panesar (three for 44) and Graeme Swann did the damage as Pakistan lost four wickets before they could reach parity, but recovered to 125 for four thanks to a stubborn, often strokeless, stand between Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.
Broad and James Anderson's new-ball pace, as in the first innings, soon seemed unthreatening. But after Panesar entered the attack for just the sixth over, he began a run of three wickets for seven runs.
Mohammad Hafeez was lbw pushing forward to an arm ball from the left-arm spinner - and Swann struck in his first over with a straight-on delivery from round the wicket to Pakistan's other opener, the left-handed Taufeeq Umar, bowled between bat and pad.
Panesar then picked up the crucial wicket of Younis Khan as a perfectly-pitched delivery spun past the right-hander's outside edge to hit the off stump.
And things got even worse for Pakistan in the first over after tea when they lost their hard-to-shift captain Misbah-ul-Haq, and a review, via the 21st lbw decision of this series in the first over of the last session.
But Shafiq and Ali, billed together as the future powerhouse of Pakistan's middle order, demonstrated that potential in a determined unbroken stand of 71 which kept their team in the match.
The nearest England came to another breakthrough was Kevin Pietersen's rolled throw at the stumps which, if accurate, would have run Shafiq out for 26 after he was sent back attempting a crazy single.
For his trouble, Pietersen appeared to trip over the batsman as his momentum took him into the stumps and was soon off the field for medical attention.
In the morning session, Broad was the most successful with an evident brief to grab as many runs as possible before Saeed Ajmal (four for 108) et al bowled them out in conditions tailor-made for their skills.
Employing tactics near polar opposite to Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott's admirable crease occupation on the second day, Broad's invaluable ninth Test 50 contained six fours and a six over long-on off Abdur Rehman from just 52 balls.
He was unable to add to his lunchtime gains, though, because Hafeez (three for 54) hurried one through to bowl Anderson and then had number 11 Panesar lbw by similar method to leave Broad stranded. Ajmal managed to add only the dismissal of Matt Prior to the three quick wickets he took on the second evening.
On a pitch offering plenty of assistance to the slow bowlers, England will not want to expose themselves again to Ajmal's skills with anything more than a small target to chase down.