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azhar-aliABU DHABI: England were closing on a series-levelling win against Pakistan in the second Test after taking the stubborn wicket of Azhar Ali at Abu Dhabi Stadium in Saturday's morning session.

 

Ali hit a fighting 68 and added 88 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (43) before England took three wickets before lunch, leaving Pakistan under pressure at 198-7, a lead of 128 with only three wickets intact.

Spin duo Abdul Rehman (10) and Saeed Ajmal (11) added an invaluable 26 runs for the unbroken eighth-wicket stand until the break.

Pakistan lead the three-Test series 1-0 after winning last week's first Test in Dubai by 10 wickets. The third and final Test starts in Dubai from February 3.

Left-arm spinner and chief tormentor Monty Panesar got one to turn across Shafiq's forward push and the ensuing edge was well taken by James Anderson in the lone slip. Shafiq hit five boundaries during his 138-ball stay.

Panesar has figures of 4-59.

Before Shafiq's dismissal, Ali completed his 13th half-century with a couple off Graeme Swann, raising his team's hopes of setting a decent target.

But England's decision to take the second new ball as soon as it was due paid rich dividends as Anderson removed the dangerman Ali with a sharp rising delivery which caught the edge and safely landed in keeper Matt Prior's gloves.

Ali hit eight boundaries during his 195-ball knock.

Stuart Broad then had Adnan Akmal (13) caught by Andrew Strauss in the slip off an ambitious drive in the next over as Pakistan wilted.

England used their second review when Anderson trapped Rehman in front of the wicket, but television replays showed the ball was missing the stumps, much to the frustration of the fielding side.

 

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


 



 
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