England face the final spin Test tomorrow needing 288 more runs on what is a square turning pitch at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium against three quality spinners. The bright aspect for England is that they have all their 10 wickets intact despite batting out 20 overs this evening and crawling to 36 for no loss.
Pakistan are in a great position to clinch the Test Series 3-0 tomorrow thanks to Azhar Ali’s patient yet marathon knock of 157 which came in 442 balls with 10 fours and a six. The most important thing is that Azhar Ali has grinded the English bowlers for just 7 minutes less than nine hours!
The third day’s play started with Pakistan strongly place at 222 for 2 which was an overall lead of 180 runs. Overnight centurion Younis Khan added only 12 runs to his 115* before he was lbw to a Stuart Broad indipper early in the morning. By lunch, England had to settle with just this one wicket as Azhar Ali moving onto 115 put up a fine 50+ partnership with Misbah-ul-Haq taking Pakistan to 295 for 3.
After lunch, Pakistan consolidated further before Monty Panesar bowled a terrific spell that triggered a dramatic collapse as England slipped from 331 for 3 to 365 all out in just 22.3 overs! First Monty got an arm ball which had the Pakistani Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (31) lbw to end a 87-run crucial stand for the 4th wicket. Young Asad Shafiq got out lbw for 5 when he got hit on the backpad in an attempted paddle off Panesar. Wicket Keeper Adnan Akmal fell for a duck when he got bowled by a beautiful delivery from Panesar which spun past the outside edge to hit the off stump.
Graeme Swann not to be left too behind struck with a jumping off break to force Abdur Rehman (1) to edge him to slip. Swann then followed it up by having Saeed Ajaml nicking his drifter to slip and then had the defiant Azhar Ali caught at shortleg smartly by Alastair Cook. The innings finally came to an end in the 153rd over when Umar Gul was out lbw to Monty in an attempted slog. Monty Panesar picked up his 10th five-wicket haul but had to toil hard bowling as many as 56.4 overs! Swann who bowled 39 overs took three wickets. Pakistan were bowled out for just 99 in their first innings but bounced back nicely to put up 365 and leave England with a difficult target of 324.
By the close of play, England have Andrew Strauss on 19* and Alastair Cook on 15* with 288 more runs to win.