Visitors pushed against the wall as Pakistan press for big win

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Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Yasir Shah celebrate the dismissal of England captain Alastair Cook on the fourth day of the second Test match on Sunday.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Yasir Shah celebrate the dismissal of England captain Alastair Cook on the fourth day of the second Test match on Sunday.

Dubai - The tourists will resume play on the fifth and final day on Monday on 130-3 in their second innings, still needing to bat out three sessions with their seven wickets remaining to pinch parity from an expected dire defeat. They need a remote 361 to prevail and achieve the seemingly unimaginable.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Mon 26 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 27 Oct 2015, 1:04 PM

 England were left with a monumental mission to salvage an unlikely draw from this second Test after being set a nigh-on impossible victory target of 491 by Pakistan on Sunday.
The tourists will resume play on the fifth and final day on Monday on 130-3 in their second innings, still needing to bat out three sessions with their seven wickets remaining to pinch parity from an expected dire defeat. They need a remote 361 to prevail and achieve the seemingly unimaginable.
Resuming on an overnight 222-3 and with an already considerable 358-run lead, much of the focus revolved around when exactly Pakistan's cautious and strategically defensive captain Misbah-ul-Haq would eventually declare.
You sensed he would at least wait until he and fellow veteran Younis Khan had both passed the century mark being as they were well set on 87 not out and 71 not out respectively at the start of the fourth day's play.
However, the call would ultimately come from the pavilion as Misbah (87) failed to add a single run to his tally prior to slapping a James Anderson delivery straight to Cook at mid-off.
The home side trundled along merrily without him regardless, nurdling the singles, ticking over the scoreboard and inexorably batting England out of this game.
Khan chalked up his 31st Test century in the meantime (104no, including 11 fours, off 193 balls) and he (112no) and Asad Shafiq (47no) had got Pakistan up to 311-4 at lunch, thus 447 runs to the good.
Shafiq duly notched his half-century (50no, including five fours, off 89 balls) early on in the afternoon session, but Khan's superb stint came to an end shortly thereafter.
He (118) went after an Adil Rashid ball, yet only succeeded in top-edging it up in the air and Ali superbly snared it on the stretch from out of the sky.
Khan's dislodgement saw wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed (3no) join forces with Shafiq out in the middle until the latter (79) was trapped plumb in front by a deceptively curling cherry by Ali.
Still, the incremental efforts of Khan, Shafiq and - to a far lesser extent - Ahmed had added 122 runs to their day-three score for the hosts to reach 354-6.
The TV cameras panned to Misbah at this point with Pakistan now a mammoth 490 runs away in the far distance and the declaration subsequently followed.
There seemed little point in prolonging the inevitable by giving the tail more batting practice when the seam and spin bowlers' efforts and energies would be better deployed in edging their side ever nearer to victory.
Edging being the operative word as a distinctly out-of-form Ali (1) soon went after an Irfan Khan delivery outside off stump and lopped it up to Younis at second slip.
A man down and not even double figures on the board, England's plight worsened with Cook picking out Wahab Riaz at backward square leg off the bowling of Yasir Shah.
The tourists' two openers had perished before tea and the score hadn't even limped past 20 at 19-2.
Bell (46) and Joe Root (59no) ultimately steadied a steadily sinking ship with a much-needed 102-run partnership for the third wicket, which fell when Bell feathered Zulfiqar Babar behind to Younis at slip.
The lingering, all-pervasive sense though that the end is nigh remains utterly escapable and it will surely come at some stage on Monday.
alex@khaleejtimes.com 

Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed appeals as Younis Khan (not in picture) takes a catch  to dismiss England’s Ian Bell off Babar’s bowling on the fourth day on Sunday. — Photo by Shihab
Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed appeals as Younis Khan (not in picture) takes a catch to dismiss England’s Ian Bell off Babar’s bowling on the fourth day on Sunday. — Photo by Shihab
 Younis Khan of Pakistan plays a shot against England in the forth day of 2nd test match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. 25 October, 2015.
Younis Khan of Pakistan plays a shot against England in the forth day of 2nd test match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. 25 October, 2015.
SP251015-SK-CRICKETYasir Shah and Pakistan team celebrates dismissal of England Caption Alaistair Cook in the forth day of 2nd test match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. 25 October, 2015. Photo by Shihab
SP251015-SK-CRICKETYasir Shah and Pakistan team celebrates dismissal of England Caption Alaistair Cook in the forth day of 2nd test match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. 25 October, 2015. Photo by Shihab


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