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Lawrence Booth: England were dominant but India took their eye off the ball

Lawrence Booth: England were dominant but India took their eye off the ball

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UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 17 December 2012

In the end, it was easy. If you’d told England supporters after the first-innings debacles at Ahmedabad with ball and bat that their team could afford to block out the final five sessions of the fourth Test to make sure of a series win for the annals, they would have asked what you were on and where they could get some.

But in providing the ballast for England’s series-clinching 352 for 4, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell – the two centurions from Warwickshire – merely underlined the momentum shift that has played itself out over the past few weeks.

Dominant at Ahmedabad, India got cocky. MS Dhoni started asking for pitches designed for the sole purpose of humiliating England and wreaking revenge for 2011. They did what no cricketer should ever do: they took their eye off the ball.

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook was dominant with the bat

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook was dominant with the bat

England, meanwhile, were fortified by events in the second half of the first Test. Alastair Cook, a colossus in this series until he was defeated in Nagpur by negative bowling, a duffer of a pitch and the umpiring of Kumar Dharmasena, made 176 and Matt Prior 91. India’s spinners, it turned out, were no Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman or Rangana Herath.

It helped that England picked the right team in Mumbai. In came Monty Panesar for Tim Bresnan, and a pitch of pace and bounce played right into their hands – for the inclusion of Panesar, with his extra pace, meant England now possessed the superior spin attack.

In a spin: England's spin bowlers of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar out performed the Indian spinners

In a spin: England's spin bowlers of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar out performed the Indian spinners

It helped that Kevin Pietersen had a post-reintegration point to prove. For attacking intent, only Virender Sehwag’s opening-day century at Ahmedabad could even begin to live with Pietersen’s 186 at the Wankhede.

Batting for glory: Jonathan Trott was able to bat for the majority of the final day to see England home to the draw they needed in the final Test

Batting for glory: Jonathan Trott was able to bat for the majority of the final day to see England home to the draw they needed in the final Test

And it helped that Cook, having told his players that – when it came to fluffing their lines against spin in Asia – enough was enough, was a captain on a mission.

At Kolkata, Jimmy Anderson joined in the fun, finding reverse-swing that proved beyond his Indian counterparts, and combining with Steven Finn on the third afternoon in another game where the nature of the pitch had proved a pre-match distraction for the Indians.

And at Nagpur, England won an important toss – at last! – and so were able to keep control of their destiny on a pitch that ensured the fourth Test was played in slow motion. Joe Root proved an inspired pick, and Anderson was outstanding once more, especially on the third evening, when India’s hopes of a big first-innings lead evaporated in an hour.

For many reasons, this must rank as one of England’s finest series wins – home or away. They arrived with a reputation as poor players of spin in Asian conditions, and with the Pietersen saga still a tangible undercurrent.

They had a new captain, who could have been granted a tougher assignment for his first series as full-time leader. They were up against a team that had lost only four series at home out of 40. And they were written off after the first Test.

At least in Australia two years ago they arrived with hope and a little expectation. Here, victory has been a bolt from the blue. At the end of a wondrous year for British sport, the cricketers have finally joined in.

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Bell admits England"s batsmen guilty of not giving bowlers a break after another collapse

Bell admits England's batsmen guilty of not giving bowlers a break after another collapse

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 27 March 2012

Ian Bell admitted England’s batsmen once again let down their bowlers as the tourists collapsed to 193 all out.

Tuesday’s debacle was the fifth time in seven innings in Asia this winter that England have failed to reach 200.

Asked whether the top order were feeling guilty, Bell replied: ‘Definitely. There’s no doubt. After getting the last two first-innings wickets in the morning, we wanted to give those bowlers a good rest, like we did in Australia.

Made to work: Ian Bell top scored England's innings with 52

Made to work: Ian Bell top-scored England's innings with 52

'If you give them a day and a half relaxing, they’re going to come out again ready to go. In a way, we have let them down by not giving them that time. But they know it’s not through lack of effort on our part.’

Yet again, England’s downfall came against spin, with Sri Lanka’s slow left-armer Rangana Herath finishing with six for 74.

Bell, who returned to form with a neat 52 following a woeful tour of the UAE, conceded: ‘The scores are not going to lie. Under 200 is not a great effort on that wicket. It’s a real shame not to be able to back up the bowlers again this winter. We’re all trying to get better at playing spin and we need to get better at playing on the Subcontinent.’

Central figure: Herath recorded figures of 74-6

Central figure: Herath recorded figures of 74-6

Herath, who removed four England batsmen lbw, including captain Andrew Strauss, said: ‘I saw them play against Pakistan in the UAE and they struggled against Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. I knew this wicket would help spin.’

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said England’s problems were both technical and mental, adding: ‘The wicket has been tough to get runs off. We’re trying to put pressure on them and get them to play shots.’

Another collapse

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Ravi Bopara warns England not to focus on spin

It's not all about spin! Bopara warns England to be wary of new ball

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UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 13 March 2012

Ravi Bopara believes England's batsmen must not overplay their recent problems against spin when they take on Sri Lanka.

Bopara was an unused squad member on the recent Test trip to face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, watching from the sidelines as Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman dismantled England's top order in a 3-0 whitewash.

Eoin Morgan paid for his failures with his place in the squad and Bopara is hoping to get the nod at number six for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.

Opportunity knocks: Ravi Bopara hopes to feature against Sri Lanka

Opportunity knocks: Ravi Bopara hopes to feature against Sri Lanka

And despite the focus on facing slow bowling, he has warned that England cannot afford to take their eye off the new ball.

'I think we were caught a little bit cold at the beginning of the UAE tour,' he said.

'As the tour went on everybody got better at playing spin, but it's not all about spin.

'In these conditions, with this humidity, the ball will swing around, especially early doors.

Time out: Stuart Broad (right) has a chat with bowling coach David Saker

Time out: Stuart Broad (right) has a chat with bowling coach David Saker

'We've seen in the past Chaminda Vaas has been very successful out here and he is a swing bowler.

'We have to cope with that as well, it's not just about spin.'

Bopara expects to play in Galle on March 26, but fellow all-rounder Samit Patel offers an alternative option should England choose to make use of his steady left-arm spin.

Although this tour represents a big chance for Bopara to establish himself in the middle order, he is refusing to look too far into the future, having earned just 12 Test caps in over four years since his debut.

Take aim: Tim Bresnan warms-up ahead of England's next match

Take aim: Tim Bresnan warms-up ahead of England's next match

'There's so much to think about, but I just have to concentrate on what I need to do in the first Test,' he said.

'I need to go out and score big runs for England, help them win the Test match and then look to the next game.

'That's the only way I can approach it. In the past I've looked to far ahead and that's not the best thing to do sometimes.'

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Eoin Morgan must work hard for Test recall – Andy Flower

Morgan must work hard on technique to earn England Test recall, warns Flower

Andy Flower has warned Eoin Morgan there will be no easy return to England's Test side after being dropped for next month's trip to Sri Lanka.

The Dublin-born batsman has paid the price for a disappointing tour of the United Arab Emirates, where he struggled for runs across all three formats against Pakistan.

While Morgan has plenty of pedigree in one-day international and Twenty20 cricket to fall back on, and remains vice-captain of the side in the shortest form, he has yet to prove himself as a Test batsman.

Making his point: England boss Andy Flower at the team hotel in Dubai on Tuesday

Making his point: England boss Andy Flower at the team hotel in Dubai on Tuesday

In 16 matches, and 24 innings, he averages just 30.43 and managed only 82 runs in six knocks in the UAE as spin duo Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman picked holes in his distinctive technique.

He was the major omission from a 16-man party for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, with his recent understudy Ravi Bopara retained and all-rounder Samit Patel handed the chance to battle for a place.

Morgan was selected ahead of Bopara as Paul Collingwood's replacement last summer despite heading to the Indian Premier League while the Essex man excelled in first-class cricket, but Flower has suggested his route back into the team will not be as straightforward.

'He's had a tough tour of the UAE, we've been here for two months and it's been hard work for him,' said Team Director Flower, whose side secured a 2-1 T20 success over Pakistan on Monday.

'He has got some work to do I think on his Test game and that's going to be quite difficult for him considering his next cricket is going to be IPL cricket.

Dropped: Eoin Morgan will not be in the England Test squad in Sri Lanka

Dropped: Eoin Morgan will not be in the England Test squad in Sri Lanka

'When he comes back he'll have limited exposure to opportunities to get four-day cricket under his belt so he has got to go away and give some serious thought to his method in Test cricket.

'He has been severely tested out there by the Pakistan spinners, as have all our batsmen.'

While demotion will be a bitter pill to swallow for a man who quit his native Ireland in a bid to play Test cricket, there were some encouraging words from Flower, who has previously spoken of highly of Morgan's leadership potential.

'I still think he has a very exciting future in Test cricket,' Flower continued.

'He's only 25 years old and he's a very talented player, a very confident player and a very dangerous player. If he can get his game in order so that the next time he gets a game in Test cricket he can grab it with both hands then he will fulfil his wishes for his cricket career and England will be a better side for it.'

The remainder of the batting unit was as expected, with Patel's steady left-arm spin earning him the nod ahead of the likes of James Taylor, Jos Buttler and Johnny Bairstow.

Floored: Morgan (right) had his technique exposed by Pakistan's spinners

Floored: Morgan (right) had his technique exposed by Pakistan's spinners

Surrey's Steven Davies again travels as back-up for first-choice wicketkeeper Matt Prior, while the importance of slow bowling has been underlined by the selection of Kent's James Tredwell, who previous Test experience came in Bangladesh in 2010.

With Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Patel also involved, England's spin contingent for the matches in Colombo and Galle is the largest in recent memory.

Tredwell is a like-for-like replacement for Swann, who is likely to be complimented by a rejuvenated Panesar.

'I'm pretty sure Sri Lanka will produce spinning conditions for us,' said Flower. 'James Tredwell is in the side as cover for Graeme Swann – we think the off spinning position is a very important one and he's there in case Swann goes down with injury or illness.

'I couldn't see them both playing in the XI and Samit Patel gets his first chance in the Test squad. He will be competing for the No 6 batting spot with Ravi Bopara and it gives us the option of playing a fifth bowler.'

The two-Test tour opens with a game against a Sri Lanka Board XI, which starts on March 15.

England then meet a Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI on March 20 with the first Test starting six days later in Galle. The second Test in Colombo is scheduled for April 3.

Batting coach Graham Gooch, who recently signed a full-time contract with the side, will lead an advance party of seven to Sri Lanka, with the remainder of the squad following on March 10.

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England praised by Andy Flower ahead of Pakistan decider

Flower hails England's battling qualities ahead of Twenty20 decider

England coach Andy Flower has praised his players for the way they have fought back against the Pakistan spinners in the limited-overs matches after their Test struggles.

England, the world's top-ranked side, suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the Tests after foundering against Pakistan spin – Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman sharing a massive 43 wickets between them.

However, the tourists have battled back in some style in the limited-overs games against the same opponents.

Back in the game: England celebrate their Twenty20 win over Pakistan

Back in the game: England celebrate their Twenty20 win over Pakistan

They won all four one-day internationals and then levelled up their Twenty20 series at 1-1 with a 38-run win in Dubai on Saturday, having narrowly lost by eight runs in Thursday's opener.

England and Pakistan now face a winner-takes-all clash in Monday's final Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme this morning, Flower said: 'It was an outstanding performance last night, great to level the series and give us a chance of winning it in the last game.

'And in fact the game that we lost, the first Twenty20, I though was an excellent game of cricket as well and we set that up for a win and a combination of some fine death bowling from Ajmal and Umar Gul meant that we couldn't just pip them in that first match, but last night was a superb performance.'

Star: Jonny Bairstow impressed for England as they levelled the series

Star: Jonny Bairstow impressed for England as they levelled the series

Asked about the difference between England's performances now compared to the Test series, Flower said: 'I think we've learned some lessons from that Test series, specifically on how to play the spin.

'Playing spin in the limited-overs games is slightly different to playing it in the Test game, but I still think that the lessons that we learnt there have served us well through this limited-overs leg.

'That's part of it, we have got a group of people who are used to winning games of cricket and as disappointing as the Test series was, I don't think it dented peoples' confidence that badly that we couldn't come back and perform outstandingly well, and that's exactly what they've done in this limited-overs leg.'

England complete their matches against Pakistan on Monday they are back in Test action next month when they travel to Sri Lanka before then playing host to the West Indies in a series starting in May.

Give me cricket any day! Andy Flower and Alastair Cook watch tennis in Dubai

Give me cricket any day! Andy Flower and Alastair Cook watch tennis in Dubai

England also have a home series against South Africa to look forward to this year, and Flower admits he is keen to see what his side have taken from their trials and tribulations against Pakistan in the Test arena.

'We're looking forward to the Sri Lankan Test series and I'm really looking forward to seeing how much we have learned and see if we can beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka,' Flower said.

'We've also got the West Indies before South Africa arrive, and while some people write them off completely, they are still a proud cricketing nation. It should be a great summer of cricket this year.

'It's what makes the job pretty exciting, that there is always another challenge around the corner. And when you are playing against international opposition there's always someone out to knock you off your perch, and that's how it should be.'

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

Kevin Pietersen won"t let DRS ruin his career

I won't let DRS ruin my game, says defiant KP as clock ticks on ODI career

Kevin Pietersen has blamed the decision-review system for the run of woeful form that threatens his England one-day place at least, but vowed to conquer his biggest challenge.

Pietersen is enduring his worst spell since he exploded on to the international scene seven years ago and desperately needs runs during the rest of this tour, starting with Saturday’s third one-day international here in Dubai, if he is to have a future in 50-over cricket.

He says he is remodelling his technique to cope with technology that, on this tour at least, has overturned the tradition of batsmen receiving the benefit of the doubt.

Looking to improve: Kevin Pietersen has failed to impress as an opener

Looking to improve: Kevin Pietersen has failed to impress as an opener

As a sandstorm raged in Dubai, Pietersen
addressed the storm created by his inability to cope with the spin of
Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman on this tour.

‘I’ve played a lot of cricket for England but this has been very hard,’
he said. ‘Batters have had to worry about the DRS, worry about the ball
hitting your pad and having to change technique to try to counter it.
The benefit of the doubt is certainly not with the batter now, which is
quite sad.’

Pietersen insists that even though he has appeared a distracted, almost
isolated, figure at times here he is relishing a battle he has to win,
even though he still has credit in the bank in Test cricket after
averaging close to 70 last year.

DRS woes: Pietersen is not a fan of lbw technology

DRS woes: Pietersen is not a fan of lbw technology

‘We think it’s tragic that this is happening but I’m actually at a stage
of my career where it’s quite nice,’ he said. ‘It’s something for me to
really go hard at and try to perfect. I’ve been having real good
conversations with Andy Flower because we talk proper batting.

‘It’s not as simple as saying I’ve just got to use my bat rather than
pad because you have to check the line of the stumps. Batters now think
they have four or five stumps to try to defend. But it’s fun. It’s new
and I’m loving coming to training and learning this stuff. And it will
only really affect things in the sub-continent. In England, where the
ball bounces and comes on to the bat, it won’t be the same.

‘The wheel’s not in my favour at the moment. All batsmen need to get
runs, of course they do, but if you get them, you get them and if you
don’t, you don’t. That’s how I look at it now. I’m 100 per cent
confident that the wheel will turn again. Only a cricketer will
understand me when I say that I feel in very good form. I’m just not
getting the rub of the green and I’m working on something. It’s not a
complete remodelling of technique. It’s very simple. I’m going in at the
moment and if I can get to 20 I’m hoping it will be a case of “see you
later” for the bowlers.’

Frustration: Pietersen throws his bat in the air after being dismissed by Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal

Frustration: Pietersen throws his bat in the air after being dismissed by Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal

Pietersen, who wants to open the batting in one-day cricket permanently,
says that umpire Simon Taufel, who has reservations about DRS, said
sorry for giving him out lbw to his old nemesis Rehman in the final
Test.

‘Simon came and apologised to me the next morning in Dubai. He asked me
if he was still on my Christmas card list and I said, “Don’t worry about
it, it’s fine”. He’s given a decision he wouldn’t have given before
Hawk-Eye and the benefit of the doubt has gone to the bowler. It
shouldn’t be umpire’s call when it’s just clipping the leg-stump. It
should be not out. I really think it’s very unfair.’

Pietersen, who believes that Rehman in particular will be nowhere near
as effective away from sub-continental conditions, insists he has a
fatalistic approach to the remainder of his England career and the
criticism he attracts. ‘What will be will be. I have absolutely no
interest in criticism these days. I used to. But now people can say what
they want because my skin is very, very thick.

Practice makes perfect: Pietersen during an England nets session

Practice makes perfect: Pietersen during an England nets session

‘Fitness and form are two huge things in a sportsman’s life and at the
moment I’m very fit. As soon as form catches fitness we’ll have much
better press conferences.’

The rest of this tour will go a long way to defining the next chapter of the eventful Kevin Pietersen story.

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Monty Panesar has class, but Grame Swann is still No 1 – Nasser Hussain

Panesar has class, but Swann is still my No 1 spinner…

There are a lot of people with short memories who are suddenly questioning Graeme Swann's right to be England's No 1 spinner on the back of Monty Panesar's performances here.

Just look at what Swann has achieved over the last three years or so and bear in mind that Pakistan have a majority of right-handers in their side.

That is the reason Panesar has done more bowling than Swann and that is why he would seem to have outbowled Swann in the last two Tests.

Class is permanent: Graeme Swann (right) has been outbowled by Monty Panesar

Class is permanent: Graeme Swann (right) has been outbowled by Monty Panesar

Swann hasn't done a lot of bowling in sub-continental conditions and is on a learning curve here.

Swann is also having to compete against an opposing bowler with a doosra and on wickets which suit spinners who jam it in at a quicker pace, as Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Panesar do.

I know Swann dropped a catch but he remains an important fielder for England and a batsman capable of lower-order runs.

Don't get me wrong. It's marvellous to have Monty back and I have been delighted with how he has bowled to take 14 wickets.

More from Nasser Hussain…

Nasser Hussain: Umpires now encouraged to guess
03/02/12

Nasser Hussain: England need to sweep away the scrambled batting brains
29/01/12

Nasser Hussain: Broad can drive England on to victory
27/01/12

Nasser Hussain: Cook and Trott show the way but middle order still in a spin
26/01/12

Nasser Hussain: Full marks for turning to No 2
25/01/12

Nasser Hussain: How do you solve a problem like Ajmal
24/01/12

Nasser Hussain: Do England need a big occasion
19/01/12

Nasser Hussain: We're right in this but Ajmal still holds key
18/01/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Just as it is healthy for England to have so many good seamers it is healthy for Panesar to be pushing Swann.

They are an excellent combination for England, particularly in series like this. They will both play in Sri Lanka next month and in India later this year.

If England revert to one spinner for this summer's series then you have to say that Swann remains the top man, particularly as he has such a good record against West Indies and South Africa, who tend to have a lot of left-handers.

I have heard it said that Swann hasn't bowled as well for the last year or so as he did when he first came into the side, but you cannot expect someone to be at a peak all the time.

Just as Alastair Cook cannot be expected to bat like he did against Australia all the time, so Swann cannot be expected to bowl as he did in 2010 constantly.

All sportsmen have peaks and troughs and, as long as they are constantly looking to improve and are hungry, then you stick with them. Even the great Sachin Tendulkar has gone close to a year without a hundred! It can happen.

Panesar is clearly a different character now, much more comfortable within the team. Monty doesn't have to be told what to do, where to set his fields. He knows what he is doing.

Changing counties and taking himself off
to play grade cricket in Australia has matured him. He's more rounded
and less intense.

Deadly duo: Panesar and Swann will team up for England again this year

Deadly duo: Panesar and Swann will team up for England again this year

He is still an outstanding, proper left-arm spinner who turns the ball and works hard for his wickets. His return is to be welcomed, but don't suddenly think he has become a better option than Swann.

What both spinners and England were given was a masterclass by Younis Khan in how they should have batted. He played forward with a straight bat in front of his pad, not a crooked one like Kevin Pietersen, and also showed that the much-maligned sweep shot can be a potent weapon in these conditions.

Younis took singles, was busy and pushed the field back with the odd big shot. This is the way to play against spin and the decision-review system.

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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

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England v Pakistan, day two, third Test, Dubai

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

Stay up to date with all the action on day two 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.

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

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**Coverage of the day's play begins at 5.30am**

Drama: Sadly there were few in the ground to witness a stunning day of Test cricket

Drama: Sadly there were few in the ground to witness a stunning day of Test cricket