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Spinners give England a chance Published: 05 February 2012

Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann picked up 5 and 3 wickets respectively to set England a huge 324 runs to win the final Test.

Half an hour before the Tea interval it was looking as if Pakistan would notch up an unassailable lead, at 339-4. But a flurry of wickets from the spinners saw Pakistan restricted to 365 all out.

Strong start from Pakistan

The day began with Younus Khan and Azhar Ali at the crease, bringing up their 200 partnership from 459 balls. Both batsmen giving an exhibition of how to bat on the Dubai pitch.

At this stage it was looking as if Pakistan would run away with the game and this was compounded when Azhar Ali edged Anderson to second slip, but Graeme Swann failed to hold on and dropped the catch.

In recent times it has often been Stuart Broad who has been able to make things happen, where other bowlers had failed.

Once again today he made the breakthrough, with Khan departing LBW for 127. DRS played a part again, with the batsman unsuccessfully challenging the decision.

Having been padded up for 2 and half sessions, Misbah took to the crease and carried on where Khan left off.

He supported Ali on his way to his second Test century, as he cut Panesar away for 4 and dropped to his knees to celebrate.

As Pakistan passed 280, England turned to their third spin option, Kevin Pietersen. But he was unable to offer any breakthrough before lunch was taken with Pakistan 295-3, leading England by 253 runs.

Flurry of wickets

The second session looked to be going the same way as the first, with England toiling away in the field for little reward.

Azhar and Misbah looked well set until Panesar and Swann picked up 7 wickets for 34 runs.

Panesar was the pick of the England bowlers, dismissing both Misbah & Shafiq LBW before clean bowling Akmal for a duck.

This brought Rehman (the left hander) to the crease and Swann saw his opportunity to get amongst the wickets, spinning one away from the batsman which clipped the edge to James Anderson at slip.

Swann and Anderson combined again to remove Ajmal, with Anderson taking a fantastic catch at slip off the final ball before Tea.

Azhar Ali’s fantastically patient innings came to an end shortly after Tea, with a sharp catch at short leg off the bowling of Swann. Azhar scoring a magnificent 157 runs off 442 balls.

Pakistan were now 363-9 and Monty was on the hunt for his fifth wicket.

Both teams were out of reviews by now, and a huge appeal for LBW against Gul was deemed to be going down leg.

But the next ball looked plum and the umpire raised his finger to give Monty figures of 5-124 and England needing 324 to win.

Strauss and Cook skillfully saw out the final 20 overs of the day for 36 runs, leaving England 2 days to score 288 runs.


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