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Broad gives England slight hope

pak_eng_400DUBAI: England's fast bowlers’ search for life in the Dubai pitch proved unprofitable. Until Broad gave the relief to England, by taking Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali wickets, that leavesto Pakistan 54 runs behind at lunch with 8 wickets remaining, England had been left with low score due to their batting inadequacies at opening day.

It was 20 years ago when England won the Test after making less than 200 in the first innings. Saeed Ajmal's career-best 7 for 55 left them with a difficult task. Pakistan's progress towards the 192 mark, however, was interrupted 21 overs into the second day when Broad bowled Taufeeq for 58, making a delivery from around the wicket to take off the stump. Mohammad Hafeez, on 52, mis-hooked a bouncer towards short midwicket where Chris Tremlett made a terrific effort, dived and dropped it.

In his second of the first session play, he nipped one back to strike Hafeez on the pad, but Strauss resisted his overtures and the replay proved him right, with the ball shown to be flicking leg stump but not enough to have overturned the umpire's decision.

Ten minutes from lunch, Broad was still eager to take one more wicket. This time his quarry was Younis Khan, still on nought, and the wicket that England most of all prized. Broad nipped one back third ball to hit him up on the pad and forced Strauss to refer it. The replay showed it was too high.

Azhar Ali was the victim of Broad, early in the over. He scored only 1 run and went back to the pavilion, a hint of away movement enough to find the outside edge in the same way Azhar was caught out in England two summers ago.

Hafeez and Taufeeq took responsibility, determined to make full use of a flat surface. Taufeeq drove with confidence, if not always with faultless technique, most of them a square drive against Tremlett that brought up his half-century and a somewhat jubilant Hafeez rarely missed much as he reached 70 not out by lunch. Taufeeq might have been run out on 38 when Hafeez chanced a single just behind square but Bell, with one stump to aim at, missed narrowly.

It was a rare chance on an unpleasing morning. The skies were blue, the pitch flat, the stadium an empty shell. James Anderson grumbled about the ball, Tremlett had the look of a wrong selection, but Broad's combative spirit gave England hope.