ABU DHABI (Reuters): England’s Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann were the scourge of Pakistan as they picked up six wickets to reduce the hosts to 256 for seven on the first day of the second test on Wednesday.
Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 83 at the close but England, the world’s top-ranked team, made a good start to the match following their 10-wicket drubbing in the first test.
The touring side looked like they might rue a hat-trick of missed catches as ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq put on a fifth-wicket stand of 100 to reach 203 for four but Swann and Broad struck in the final session to tip the balance in England’s favour.
Pakistan, who play home matches in the Gulf region due to security problems in their country, won the toss and opted to bat.
Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar added 50 as Broad and James Anderson struggled to make an impression with the new ball.
Captain Andrew Strauss then turned to spin duo Swann and Monty Panesar, with England fielding a four-man attack with two slow bowlers for the first time since 2003, and the decision was soon vindicated.
In the 19th over, Swann bowled Taufeeq Umar for 16 with a straight delivery the batsmen foolishly left to clip his off stump, reducing Pakistan to 51 for one.
Panesar, recalled in place of injured seamer Chris Tremlett for his first test appearance since 2009, then dropped a stooping caught and bowled chance.
But he made immediate amends, dismissing Hafeez for 31 with his next delivery which squeezed between bat and pad to strike the leg stump as Pakistan reached 73 for two at lunch.
Broad returned to the attack for the afternoon session and the all-rounder dismissed Younus Khan and Azhar Ali in quick succession, sending their off-stumps flying with searing deliveries.
Ul-Haq and Shafiq fought back, cheered on by a small crowd in the Sheikh Zayed stadium, an oasis of green in the industrial outskirts of the UAE capital.
Both batsmen had lucky escapes. Ul-Haq survived a fierce lbw appeal on nought, umpire Bruce Oxenford deciding the captain’s bat hit the ball before it struck his pads, and he again escaped on 30 when Anderson put down a catch at slip off Panesar.
Alastair Cook at short-leg also failed to snaffle an edge from Shafiq before it hit the turf as the batsmen recorded his fifth test half-century.
Swann then trapped Shafiq lbw for 58 as he attempted a sweep shot, leaving Pakistan on 203 for five.
Strauss was found wanting as Anderson let rip with the second new ball, dropping an easy catch at slip after Adnan Akmal sliced an outside edge.
Broad then claimed his third wicket, Akmal falling for nine after being trapped lbw, and Abdur Rehman went for a duck as Swann snared him with a ball that turned sharply past the left-hander to hit off-stump.