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World Twenty20 2012: Virat Kohli blasts India to victory over Pakistan

Kohli keeps India's hopes alive with unbeaten knock to dispose of Pakistan

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 30 September 2012

Virat Kohli hit two sixes and eight fours in a career-best 78 not out to guide India to a crushing eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super Eights at the World Twenty20 on Sunday.

It was Kohli's best score in Twenty20 internationals, surpassing the 70 he scored against New Zealand just before this tournament.

Earlier, Indian spinners Yuvraj Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin bagged two wickets each to dismiss Pakistan for 128 inside 20 overs. India chased the meager total with 18 balls to spare at R Premadasa Stadium.

Matchwinner: Kohli celebrates victory on Sunday

Matchwinner: Kohli celebrates victory on Sunday

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Colombo

With the win, India have kept their semi-final hopes alive following the crushing defeat by Australia in their first Super Eights match.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni credited the victory to his bowlers.

'Today's performance was a really a good one because the part timers contributed, the spinners bowled well and also the fast bowlers,' he said. 'The first two overs we gave away bit of runs. But after that I felt we were quite consistent.'

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said his team's batting failure and Kohli's performance with the bat cost his team.

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

'We really wanted to win the game,' Hafeez said. 'But unfortunately we were losing wickets on a regular basis. We couldn't come back in the first 10 overs. We couldn't set the total we really wanted.'

Pakistan's last Super Eights match is against Australia on Tuesday.

After losing Gautam Gambhir on the second ball of the innings, caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, Kohli and Virender Sehwag (29) combined for a 74-run stand off 61 balls that virtually sealed the match for India.

Pakistan made a promising batting start after winning the toss but India's bowlers came back strongly, picking up wickets regularly.

Left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan trapped Imran Nazir lbw in the second over with the total on 17 to provide India their first breakthrough.

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Shahid Afridi, promoted in the batting order to No 3 with the aim of increasing the scoring rate, made 14 off 12 deliveries before being caught in the deep by Suresh Raina off seam bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Yuvraj had both Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal caught behind by Dhoni.

Pakistan were soon reduced to 59-5, losing four wickets for 24 runs before Shoaib Malik (28) and Umar Akmal (21) brought some respite with a sixth-wicket stand of 47.

Ashwin entered the fray when the pair looked set for a longer stay, having Malik caught at short mid-wicket before Umar Akmal was out caught in the deep by Suresh Raina when trying to increase the scoring rate.

Both Ashwin and Yuvraj returned 2-16, while Balaji had the best bowling figures of 3-22 as he polished off the tail.

World Twenty20 2012: Pakistan cruise into Super Eights

Pakistan cruise into Super Eights with victory over Bangladesh by eight wickets

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UPDATED:

17:50 GMT, 25 September 2012

Imran Nazir powered Pakistan as they became the final team to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh.

Pakistan could afford to be defeated by 35 runs or fewer to make it through to the next stage, and knock out their opponents, in Tuesday night's last Group D match at Pallekele.

There were perhaps some doubts when Bangladesh piled up 175 for six, and Pakistan therefore had to make a minimum 140 to progress on run rate – even in defeat.

Job done: Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal embrace after securing victory for Pakistan

Job done: Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal embrace after securing victory for Pakistan

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Pallekele

But Nazir (72) made a nonsense of those concerns, with the fastest half-century in this tournament – from just 25 balls.

Bangladesh, without a win against Pakistan in any format since their shock 1999 World Cup success, appeared to have been given a chance by Shakib Al Hasan's boundary-laden 84.

But on a batsman's pitch, Bangladesh's attempted defence of their useful total began badly as Abul Hasan put Nazir down at mid-on off Shafiul Islam when the opener had just one run to his name in the second over.

It proved to be an especially costly missed chance, Nazir eventually banking nine fours and three sixes.

Fine knock: Nazir scored 72 runs

Fine knock: Nazir scored 72 runs

Fine knock: Nazir scored 72 runs

Captain Mohammad Hafeez batted in his first-wicket partner's slipstream in a stand of 124, before both fell in the same over from Hasan.

Pakistan nonetheless completed their task with eight balls to spare.

Bangladesh earlier needed Shakib to carry their innings, after he had been part of a mix-up which saw their dangerman Tamim Iqbal run out towards the end of a powerplay containing 61 runs.

After Mushfiqur Rahim had perhaps surprisingly chosen to bat first, Tamim gave Bangladesh a promising start as Umar Gul suffered most – in one early over which cost 17.

Frustrated: Shakib had earlier scored 84 runs in vain for Bangladesh

Frustrated: Shakib had earlier scored 84 runs in vain for Bangladesh

Frustrated: Shakib had earlier scored 84 runs in vain for Bangladesh

But it was Shakib who ensured the innings had legs, hitting 11 fours and two sixes from just 54 balls.

He shared a stand of 68 for the third wicket with Mushfiqur, and departed only in the 20th over to Yasir Arafat (three for 25).

But it never looked likely to be enough, once Pakistan's batsmen got started.

Stuart Broad up for the challenge ahead despite England"s Twenty20 defeat to Pakistan

Broad up for the challenge ahead despite England's Twenty20 defeat to Pakistan

England captain Stuart Broad was not too downhearted after his side slipped to an eight-run defeat against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 in Dubai.

Having gone down 3-0 to Pakistan in the Test series and redeemed themselves with a 4-0 whitewash of their own in the one-day internationals, England are now playing catch-up again in the latest three-match rubber.

Pakistan made a challenging 144 for six having been put into bat, with Shoaib Malik (39) and Misbah-ul-Haq (26 not out) hitting their stride and Graeme Swann returning career-best figures of three wickets for 13 runs in four overs.

Looking good: But England slumped to defeat after seemingly having a stranglehold on the game

Looking good: But England slumped to defeat after seemingly having a stranglehold on the game

England's response got off to a positive start as Kevin Pietersen, promoted to opener in the format, carried over his good from from the ODI series with 33 in 21 balls.

But despite contributions of 39 and 22 not out from Ravi Bopara and Johnny Bairstow, England were constricted by Umar Gul (three for 18) and Mohammad Hafeez (two for 18).

Reflecting on the match, Broad said: 'Pakistan batted quite nicely in the first three or four overs and made it difficult for us.

'Obviously Twenty20 is a very different game to one-day cricket. There's not as much value for holding length and sticking in there. We'll certainly review the game.

Death bowler extraordinaire: Umar Gul ripped through England's tail

Death bowler extraordinaire: Umar Gul ripped through England's tail

'We bowled pretty well and fielded not as well as we have done in the ODIs but we're happy to keep them to 144.'

Opposing captain Misbah, who has enjoyed an up and down trip as skipper across the three formats, was pleased with what he sees as a timely morale boost for his players.

'That really is an important win which we needed for us to get the confidence back, especially the players who were not in good touch or short of confidence,' he added.

'I think we are going to do well in the next two games.'

Pakistan v England: Fourth ODI live score

Pakistan v England: Follow the latest score from the fourth ODI

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England have the chance to wrap up the series whitewash against Pakistan in today's final one-day international in Dubai.

Jos Buttler and Danny Briggs will make their ODI debuts as Alastair Cook's side look to secure a 4-0 triumph.

Cook led from the front with back-to-back tons in the first two matches and Kevin Pietersen rediscovered his touch with a century in Saturday's nine-wicket win.

England's quick bowlers, led by Steven Finn, have also been in fine form and will be looking to make early inroads after Pakistan won the toss chose to bat.

Click HERE for the live scorecard

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Akmal, Shoiab Malik, Shahid Afridi, Adnan Akmal (wk), Junaid Khan, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal.

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Jonathon Trott, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Jos Buttler, Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach

Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena and Zameer Haider

TV umpire: SJA Taufel

Match referee: JJ Crowe

Reserve umpire: Ahsan Raza

England v Pakistan: England fight back on day three

Panesar leads fightback but England face uphill struggle to avoid Pakistan whitewash

England at last saw the back of Azhar Ali, but still need to pull off the second-highest run chase in their Test history to avoid a 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan.

Azhar's painstaking career-best 157 spanned six sessions and almost nine hours, before the No 3 was ninth out in Pakistan's 365 all out on the third evening at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

England were therefore left with more than six and a half sessions to make 324, on a wearing pitch which had already helped spinners Monty Panesar (five for 124) and Graeme Swann share eight wickets.

Star of the show: England's Monty Panesar was on top form as he took four wickets on day three

Star of the show: England's Monty Panesar was on top form as he took four wickets on day three

England v Pakistan

Click here for a full scorecard

They made an acceptable start to their mission improbable, openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss reprising the roles played by their great antecedents Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe, the last and only other time England made so many to win – against Australia in Melbourne in 1929.

Cook and Strauss achieved a notable first for this series at least, when they surpassed their previous highest opening partnership of 27 on this disappointing tour – reaching 36 for none at the close.

They had a scrape each before stumps, Cook dropped by Taufeeq Umar off Umar Gul at third slip on four and Strauss rightly given not out on 14 – even after DRS – when he got his pad outside the line on impact against Mohammad Hafeez's off-spin.

Azhar Ali was Pakistan's danger man as he hit 157 (above) having previously celebrated his century (below)

Azhar Ali was Pakistan's danger man as he hit 157 (above) having previously celebrated his century (below)

Pakistan's Azhar Ali kisses the ground after scoring a century


Got him! Ali was finally dismissed by Graeme Swann

Got him! Ali was finally dismissed by Graeme Swann

Azhar's 442-ball vigil had been a triumph of unstinting concentration, shot selection and restraint – taking in a stand of 216 with Younus Khan (127), and containing just 10 fours and one six.

But Pakistan's last seven wickets then fell for only 34 runs in 21 overs, to give world No 1s England a glimmer of hope that their batsmen might yet redeem themselves here.

Younus predicted on Saturday that the tourists could still have a chance in this match, if their luck held. Equally, having watched Azhar's unflustered tour de force, it seemed they might collectively do worse than take their cue from him.

Azhar was in absolutely no hurry on the way to his second Test hundred and beyond, having previously reached exactly three figures on this same ground against Sri Lanka last year.

He eventually reached the milestone from the 319th ball he faced, with one of the most memorable shots of his long innings – a cut off Panesar for his fifth four.

He might have gone before his third-wicket partner Younus, for 84, but survived when Swann was just unable to hang on to a tough chance at second slip, very low to his left off the bowling of James Anderson.

In with a shout: England bowled out Pakistan and survived a nervy final hour on day three of the final Test

In with a shout: England bowled out Pakistan and survived a nervy final hour on day three of the final Test

Instead England's only breakthrough this morning came when Stuart Broad had Younus lbw on the front foot – DRS indicated the ball would have clipped the very top of middle-stump – after a five-hour stay which had helped to shut England out for 82 overs.

Younus was replaced by captain Misbah-ul-Haq, another batsman content to make the most of the ample time available in this well-progressed match.

Eyes on the prize: Andrew Strauss (right) and Alastair Cook remained at the crease at close of play

Eyes on the prize: Andrew Strauss (right) and Alastair Cook remained at the crease at close of play

He and Azhar duly added another 87, until Misbah fell lbw pushing forward to Panesar in late afternoon to kickstart the rush of wickets.

There was no DRS left for Asad Shafiq, sweeping at Panesar to become the 40th lbw victim of this head-scratching series, and Adnan Akmal was soon bowled for a duck by one that turned to beat his defence and hit off-stump.

Swann then scored his first successes, after 32 overs in vain.

Helping hand: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq led his side to an imposing total against England

Helping hand: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq led his side to an imposing total against England

Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal were both caught at slip shortly before tea – and then Azhar fell bat-pad to the off-spinner, and Panesar completed the innings with yet another lbw to account for Gul.

Meanwhile, Tim Bresnan arrived in Dubai in time to watch the final session, having undergone fitness tests in Yorkshire on the elbow injury which ruled him out of the Test series.

England hope the seamer will be available for four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against Pakistan, starting on February 13.

Out: Graeme Swann (right) celebrates after taking Misbah's wicket as England took the fight to Pakistan

Out: Graeme Swann (right) celebrates after taking Misbah's wicket as England took the fight to Pakistan

England v Pakistan, third Test, day three, Dubai

LIVE: England v Pakistan – day three of the third Test in Dubai as it happens

Stay up to date with all the action on
day three of the third Test between England and Pakistan with Sportsmail's
unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the action
unfolds at the Dubai International Stadium while our brilliant team of
writers will update with their insights from the ground.

England v Pakistan: Essentials

England: Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (w), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

1st innings: 141

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (w), Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema.

1st innings: 99

Umpires: Simon Taufel and Steve Davis

Click here for a full scorecard

86th over: Pakistan 227-2 (Azhar 80, Younus 115)

That'll be three maidens in a row… neither seamer is looking particularly threatening and both batsmen seem comfortable getting their eyes in again.

85th over: Pakistan 227-2 (Azhar 80, Younus 115)

Anderson bottom-edges trying to shoulder arms to Anderson and picks up a single to third man. This pitch looks pretty docile, even with the new ball. Maiden.

84th over: Pakistan 226-2 (Azhar 79, Younus 115)

Broad manages to get Younus to flirt with a couple outside off but the centurion avoids the nick. Nice shape away from the right-hander from Broad who bowls a tidy maiden.

83rd over: Pakistan 226-2 (Azhar 79, Younus 115)

It's Jimmy Anderson to open the bowling for England… Azhar picks up where he left off yesterday with a watchful couple of leaves and blocks before flicking Jimmy in front of square for two. Azhar then knocks another two through midwicket off the last ball of the over. Not much movement for Anderson.

5.57am: Good morning all and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the third day of the third test between England and Pakistan in Dubai. Can England break this fine partnership between Younus Khan and Azhar Ali and reignite their dwindling hopes of a face-saving win

Down and out Another Test match is slowly slipping from England's grasp

Down and out Another Test match is slowly slipping from England's grasp

Stuart Broad and James Anderson put England on top in third Test against Pakistan

Broad and Anderson topple Pakistan but England's batsmen struggle again

Stuart Broad and James Anderson hustled Pakistan out for 99, yet England could take only a minor advantage on a hectic first day of the final Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Anderson (three for 35) struck in the first over, and there was no let-up from him and Broad (four for 36) after Misbah-ul-Haq had chosen to bat first.

But Pakistan, bowled out in mid-afternoon, hit back to have the tourists 104 for six at stumps – despite Andrew Strauss' dogged defiance in a 120-ball 41 not out.

Four-for: Stuart Broad was at his hostile best for England

Four-for: Stuart Broad was at his hostile best for England

Only No 6 Asad Shafiq had managed
significant resistance as England, in danger of a 3-0 whitewash after
back-to-back defeats, unleashed Broad and Anderson to devastating effect
with the new ball.

There was nonetheless an inevitable
hollow note for the world No 1s, who waved goodbye to this series with
their own hapless collapse to 72 all out in Abu Dhabi last week.
Anderson began here with the wicket of Taufeeq Umar, for a duck, in the
first over with a delivery which straightened off the seam for lbw.

Broad had to wait until his third
over when more movement took a faint inside edge to account for Azhar
Ali after a fine catch by Matt Prior and a DRS review which overturned
Simon Taufel's initial not-out verdict.

King of swing: James Anderson struck in the first overKing of swing: James Anderson struck in the first over

King of swing: James Anderson struck in the first over

Younus Khan then fenced at some extra
bounce from Broad and also went caught-behind thanks to Prior, in the
wicketkeeper's 50th Test.

England could do precious little
wrong, and called another successful DRS to have Mohammad Hafeez lbw to
Broad even though the batsman appeared to think he had got bat on ball.

When Misbah himself went lbw at the
other end – DRS proved no help to Pakistan against Anderson's
full-length swing – Pakistan's scorecard already bore a remarkable
resemblance to the ones England contrived in the first two Tests.

All over: Umar Gul's leg stump is dislodged by Anderson

All over: Umar Gul's leg stump is dislodged by Anderson

There were to be two more wickets before lunch for good measure.

Adnan Akmal would have been run out
after a push to cover for an unwise single, had Eoin Morgan managed a
direct hit. But the same batsman was soon deceived by Broad, in his
second spell, lbw pushing forward.

Graeme Swann broke the run of wickets
falling to pace when Abdur Rehman had a swing at the off-spinner and
managed only to hoist a gentle skier to Kevin Pietersen at mid-off.

Star of the show: Broad is mobbed after taking the wicket of Younus Khan

Star of the show: Broad is mobbed after taking the wicket of Younus Khan

Shafiq kept England at bay for 78
balls, and contributed almost half his team's runs. But he was the
second of two more lbw departures, trying to cut a Monty Panesar arm
ball, before Pakistan fell just short of three figures.

Immediate impressions were that
England had bowled well and Pakistan batted especially poorly on a
perfectly feasible pitch of decent pace, with just occasional seam
movement.

But that premise looked ropy as the reply stumbled to seven for two before tea.

On his way: But had Trott reviewed he would have been given not out

On his way: But had Trott reviewed he would have been given not out

Alastair Cook chased a wide ball, to
be well-caught behind off Umar Gul by a diving Akmal, and then Jonathan
Trott fell to the same bowler – lbw to a full-length delivery, and
ignoring a DRS option only for Hawkeye to suggest the ball would have
gone on to miss leg-stump.

Strauss and Pietersen convinced as
England batsmen so rarely have, over the past two weeks, in a
third-wicket stand of 57 in which the latter appeared in notably good
form.

But Pietersen was to become the eighth lbw victim of the day, and world-record 34th for any three-match series.

Not happy: Pietersen was frustrated by the decision to give him outNot happy: Pietersen was frustrated by the decision to give him out

Not happy: Pietersen was frustrated by the decision to give him out

He was perhaps unfortunate too to see
Taufel's decision confirmed by DRS, even though technology indicated
the delivery from Rehman (three for 23) – Pietersen's slow left-arm jinx
again – would have barely shaved leg-stump.

There was to be an element of bad
luck about England's next dismissal too – Ian Bell undone by a Saeed
Ajmal doosra, over-balancing only momentarily yet just long enough for
the ball to ricochet straight back off the wicketkeeper's gloves just
before his foot had slid back behind the crease.

Digging in: Strauss offered some resistance for England

Digging in: Strauss offered some resistance for England

There was still time too before the close of an uncanny day for Morgan to go lbw and Prior bowled to Rehman's orthodox spin.

Meanwhile, England hope Tim Bresnan
may be able to fly back to the United Arab Emirates soon, in time for
the limited-overs leg of this tour, having had to return home before the
first Test because of post-operative elbow pain.

But the seamer's travel plans and
availability for one-day international and Twenty20 squads, due to be
named after this Test, are still dependent on ongoing fitness checks in
Yorkshire.

Just ahead: England hold a narrow advantage going into day two

Just ahead: England hold a narrow advantage going into day two

England v Pakistan, day two, second Test, Abu Dhabi

LIVE: England v Pakistan – the action on day two of the second Test in Abu Dhabi

Stay up to date with all the action on
day two of the second Test between England and Pakistan with
Sportsmail's unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the
action unfolds at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi while our brilliant team of writers
will update with their insights from the ground.

England v Pakistan – the essentials

England:
Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian
Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Jimmy
Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Pakistan:
Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq,
Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid
Khan.

Umpires: Bruce Oxenford and Steve Davis

Click here for the latest scorecard

5.37: The biggest surprise of the day came before play had even started. England's injury problems and uncertainty over which bowling configuration to select meant Monty Panesar didn't find out he was playing until 20 minutes before the start of play. But Andrew Strauss' decision to go 'two and two' has paid dividends. Certainly Nasser Hussain was impressed.

5.30: One of the most pleasing sights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium yesterday was the presence of spectators. Hell, there was even a modicum of atmosphere in this desert-bound arena. More on that and other musings in Bumble's Test diary.

5.23: No doubt England should be proud of their efforts so far, but Martin Samuel has two words of caution: Saeed Ajmal.

All smiles: England enjoyed a productive day in the field, but will they be able to match it with the bat

All smiles: England enjoyed a productive day in the field, but will they be able to match it with the bat

5.15am: Morning one, morning all and welcome along to Sportsmail's coverage of England v Pakistan, day two of the second Test.

Day one was hugely positive for England who took seven wickets and restricted the hosts to 256 runs.

Not bad considering this featherbed track was meant to produce a run-festival and certain draw. Now we look dead set for a result – one way or another.

Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad took three wickets a-piece, with the spinner's third coming in the extra overs squeezed in at the end if the day due to England's lightning quick over rate.

So, to wrap up the tail and set about proving this team – the World's No 1, no less – can bat confidently on the subcontinent, right

Firstly, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was in obdurate fashion while scoring a leisurely 83 on day one and there's the Saeed Ajmal factor to consider, too.

This game remains at a crossroads, England must grasp the nettle early if they are to reap the rewards of all their hard work on day one.

I'll fetch you all the action as it happens from 6am and you can share your thoughts via EMAIL or TWITTER. Many thanks.

Late gains: England bagged a late wicket to swing the game their way on day one in Abu Dhabi

Late gains: England bagged a late wicket to swing the game their way on day one in Abu Dhabi

England make promising start to second Test against Pakistan

England make promising start to second Test… but errors let Pakistan off the hook

England grafted hard but paid for missed chances too as they had to settle for seven Pakistani wickets on day one of the second Test at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The best efforts of a four-man attack, in which Stuart Broad (three for 47) was the most deserving, were rewarded with a stumps score of 256 for seven after Pakistan had chosen to bat first.

But it could have been better for England if they had held their catches.

Nice one: Stuart Broad (centre) is congratulated by his England team-mates after dismissing Azhar Ali

Nice one: Stuart Broad (centre) is congratulated by his England team-mates after dismissing Azhar Ali

Pakistan v England

Click here for a full scorecard

Two drops, one barely a half-chance, were not costly. But two more, James Anderson and Andrew Strauss at slip to reprieve Misbah-ul-Haq (83no) and then Adnan Akmal, made a difference.

Broad prised out two frontline batsmen in early afternoon with some disciplined and skilful bowling on a surface more conducive to spin than seam.

There was turn from the outset this morning once England called on Monty Panesar, and then Graeme Swann (three for 52).

Panesar was into the action first, for the 10th over, in his 40th Test and his first since the start of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Despite a nervy start as he, like Swann, dropped short too often in his early overs, it was evident almost immediately both would be in the game if they could get it right.

Ironically, both Swann and Panesar struck with deliveries which did not turn – but batsman error stemmed from doubts sown by spin against the Pakistan openers.

Breakthrough: Graeme Swann (right) runs off to celebrate getting rid of Taufeeq Umar

Breakthrough: Graeme Swann (right) runs off to celebrate getting rid of Taufeeq Umar

Swann had beaten Taufeeq Umar with turn and bounce past the outside edge on the front-foot defence before the left-hander shouldered arms in the same over and was bowled off-stump.

Panesar dropped Mohammad Hafeez, a sharp return catch low to his left. But that was irrelevant after the very next ball went on with the arm and bowled the same batsman middle-and-leg on the back foot. England's decision to pick two spinners and just two frontline seamers, as they try to get back in this three-match series following their hammering in Dubai, was already looking sound.

But Broad proved his worth by taking two wickets for two runs, again both bowled, in 13 balls soon after lunch.

They were close to action replays too, the ball snaking back into Younus Khan and then Azhar Ali – bowling the former off his pads and the latter through the gate.

The second success came with an especially good delivery which offered to swing away before jagging back just enough.

Showing the way: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was top scorer for Pakistan on the opening day in Abu Dhabi

Showing the way: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was top scorer for Pakistan on the opening day in Abu Dhabi

Two new batsmen therefore joined forces with just one run between them. Misbah's response was to hit Panesar for successive sixes from the crease, and Asad Shafiq (58) also cleared the ropes when he went up the wicket to the slow left-armer.

There was much earnest defence between the big shots, though, as Pakistan's fifth-wicket pair adopted a necessarily patient approach in an important stand which would realise exactly 100.

They had moments of fortune too. Shafiq got only a thin inside-edge to save himself when he was up the wicket again and went through with another attempted big hit at Swann.

Then, on 30, Misbah edged Panesar just wide of slip – where Anderson was unable to react quickly enough to get more than fingertips to the ball. Shafiq pressed on to a 103-ball 50, survived on 53 when Alastair Cook was not quite alert to a bat-pad opportunity off Swann at short-leg but could add only another five before the same bowler had him lbw sweeping – a decision which stood after DRS, even though ball appeared to be almost entirely striking back leg outside the line of off-stump.

The most obvious of England's missed opportunities was just round the corner, and it came courtesy of their captain when he failed to hold a regulation chance at slip to see Akmal off for a duck in the first over with the second new ball.

The wicketkeeper made only nine and helped Misbah add 13 before Broad got another one to angle in for lbw – but had he gone for nought, England would have had more momentum to attack the tail with the ball still hard.

Instead, they had to wait for the return of Swann for their final wicket when he revisited his old party trick of immediate success – bowling Abdur Rehman with the first delivery of his new spell.

Yet unquestionably, Misbah was the man who gave the opposition most cause for regret by chiselling out a 142-ball 50 which included just two off-driven fours to go with those two early sixes.

For good measure, he then hit Panesar for successive sixes for the second time in his innings – in the last over of a well-contested day.

James Anderson strikes late as England fight back in First test

Jimmy swings it back as last-ball Anderson strike caps superb England fightback

The look of complete joy on his face
as he was mobbed by his team-mates said everything about the potential
significance of the moment.

Jimmy Anderson had struck with the last ball of the day and England were back in the first Test.

They still face an uphill battle, of
course, after suicidal shot selection had left them at least 200 below
par in their first innings, but England's fightback on Wednedsay
epitomised their unity and the character within the team.

Big finish: James Anderson (right) runs off to celebrate getting rid of Abdur Rehman with the final ball of the day

Big finish: James Anderson (right) runs off to celebrate getting rid of Abdur Rehman with the final ball of the day

Pakistan v England

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This second day was everything we
expected from this series: old-fashioned, attritional Test cricket with
disciplined bowling from England on a flat sub-continental-type pitch
being met with careful Pakistan defiance.

On any other day Andrew Strauss would
have been delighted to take seven wickets and restrict Pakistan to
fewer than three an over but such was England's capitulation at the
hands of Saeed Ajmal that Misbah-ul-Haq will still expect his team to go
on to victory from here.

That Misbah would have slept just
that little less soundly last night was entirely down to England's late
double strike which made Pakistan's scoring rate seem just that little
bit too slovenly.

At the close they led by 96 runs, but with only three wickets left.

.
Big breakthrough: Graeme Swann successfully appeals for the wicket of Hafeez

Big breakthrough: Graeme Swann successfully appeals for the wicket of Hafeez

Misbah himself, whose calmness at the
crease epitomises the pragmatism he has brought to his new-look side,
had been blocking his way toward the close for more than three hours
when Graeme Swann suddenly struck him a blow on the front pad that he
thrusts seemingly permanently forward.

It looked a marginal call and umpire
Billy Bowden seemed entitled to turn down Swann's appeal. Strauss
agonised over whether to review the decision but was del ighted he did
when technology suggested the ball was just hitting leg stump.

Bowden seemed aghast that his decision had been overturned and I really could not blame him.

Whatever the scientists and decision
review system apologists say, there looked an element of doubt there and
Misbah might have been unlucky. No matter.

When Anderson followed it up in the
next and final over of the day by swinging a ball past the defences of
Abdur Rehman, England were able to leave the field with a spring in
their step and a chance to dream that they may yet get out of jail. It
was not the perfect day for them.

Mobbed: Stuart Broad is congratulated by his team-mates after dismissing Pakistan's Azhar Ali

Mobbed: Stuart Broad is congratulated by his team-mates after dismissing Pakistan's Azhar Ali

They really needed to take every
half-chance to limit the damage inflicted on them by Ajmal, and fielding
coach Richard Halsall will have been disappointed to see Ian Bell miss a
run-out by a whisker and both Chris Tremlett and Kevin Pietersen spill
difficult catches.

Mohammad Hafeez was the beneficiary
of England's largess on two of those occasions and took advantage to
show why he has become one of the most effective all-round cricketers in
the world.

It was Hafeez who began England's
demise on Tuesday when he dismissed Alastair Cook with his orthodox
off-spin and now he played the best innings of the day, surviving that
run-out chance on 44 and Tremlett's miss on 52 to go on to a
well-organised 88.

Stuart Broad was the pick of the
tourists' attack, again bowling with the intelligence that he showed
against India last summer to take two wickets in quick succession after
the disappointment of missing out on Hafeez, dismissing Taufeeq Umar in
particular with an absolute beauty.

But perhaps the most pleasing bowling
of the day came from Jonathan Trott, who showed that he could yet step
into Paul Collingwood's shoes as fifth bowler by dismissing the key
figure of Younis Khan and generally provide a threat by getting seam
movement with his medium pace.

England's batsmen are the most
reluctant of bowlers and it would make such a difference if Trott could
perform this role more often.

Key contribution: Mohammad Hafeez weighed in with 88 before he was trapped lbw by Graeme Swann

Key contribution: Mohammad Hafeez weighed in with 88 before he was trapped lbw by Graeme Swann

There is a strong case to say that
Trott's contribution would not have been necessary had England played
Monty Panesar in a balanced attack of five bowlers and dropped a
batsman.

As an advocate of such a policy, at
least in subcontinental conditions, I can only concur that it would have
been lovely to see Panesar out there supporting Swann, especially as
there was barely a hint of the reverse swing that England's seamers were banking on here.

But the absence of Tim Bresnan does
make such a move risky in the extreme, especially as much of England's
success has been built around piling runs on the board with the longest
batting line-up in Test cricket.

Leading by example: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq managed a half century

Leading by example: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq managed a half century

I am not sure England could have
done much better yesterday even if Panesar had been supporting Swann,
who bowled well in taking two wickets and could never have been expected
to repeat Ajmal's first-day heroics on such a bland surface.

Yet it is fair to say that Tremlett,
who has played in just last week's warm-up match since badly injuring
his back last summer, was not at his best and Anderson was reasonably
innocuous until he struck with the second new ball and then made his
late heartening strike.

Welcome Matt: Prior (left) celebrates with Swann after catching Shafiq off Anderson

Welcome Matt: Prior (left) celebrates with Swann after catching Shafiq off Anderson

The key to this match and the rest of the three-Test series is undoubtedly England's ability to counter the threat of Ajmal. But they need only look back to the first Test of the Ashes last winter at Brisbane to know that they can concede a big first-innings deficit and still hit back in style.

The challenge now is whether they can do it in alien conditions against the mystery spin of Ajmal.

Secret weapon: Trott