Pakistan v England 1st Test day 4 review: Cook departs for 263, draw most likely result

Pakistan v England 1st Test Day 4 review: Cook departs for 263, draw most likely result

(© MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Alastair Cook played a marathon knock of 263 runs.(© MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan v England 1st Test Day 4 review: Cook departs for 263, draw most likely result: Alastair Cook played the 3rd longest innings in the history of Test cricket as England eclipsed the Pakistan total with ease and look set to manage a draw all credit to the flat pitch at Abu Dhabi and Pakistan’s toothless bowling. A tireless spell of reverse swing bowling from Wahab Riaz was admirable but didn’t bring much reward for Pakistan. Though, it might sound fanatic, the visitors are the only side that has the slenderest chance of forcing a win, if Pakistan collapse spectacularly on the last day. Talking realistically draw seems the most likely result.

In the 38 degree Abu Dhabi heat Pakistan began the day hoping for the bowlers to come to the fore and jolt Alastair Cook’s determination. Pakistan shelled a chance to get the English skipper out early when keeper Sarfraz Ahmed grassed a catch low down to his right off Wahab Riaz.

Imran Khan troubled Root with a probing spell in the first hour but had no luck. Root also survived a close LBW shout, which was adjudged umpire’s call when Pakistan reviewed. He put his head down and soon completed a half century.

It took 620 minutes and 396 deliveries, but Alastair Cook completed his third double century in the extended first session. Tons of patience and mental strength were amply on display. Root fell chasing a wide one from Rahat on 85, missing a well deserved Test ton. England’s deficit was under 100 by then.

Wahab was in the middle of a fine spell and got Johny Bairstow rapped on the pads by a fast reverse swinging delivery. A hopeful review followed but to no avail. The spell Wahab bowled would go down as one of the finest in the history of Test cricket. Big booming reverse swinging yorkers back into the left-handers made even Cook, batting at 200 plus, look out of his depth at times. The worry is this spell would be forgotten in the dullness of this match.

Cook and Ben Stokes continued to pile on the misery for Pakistan in the post-tea session. Stokes, having survived that hostile spell from Riaz in the post-lunch session, grew in confidence as the spin duo Babar and Malik operated for Pakistan.

The records continued to tumble as Cook eased himself to the 250-mark. He had hit just 2 boundaries till that time in the day and managed to control any urge to step out and tonk one out of the park.

In a bid to increase the run rate Stokes advanced to Malik but missed and the stumps were castled. That was the end of a 97-run stand, minuscule though in terms of what we were dismissing. Jos Buttler arrived in what was a perfect situation to add some runs under his belt.

Cook’s marathon innings of 263 eventually came to an end when fellow double centurion Shoaib Malik had him caught at short fine-leg off an attempted sweep shot.

This knock was right up there with the best in terms of endurance and unwavering focus. 528 balls, over 13 hours at the crease. Buttler also departed after a brisk 23. England ended the day at 569/8 at stumps.

Overview of the day

Alastair Cook was dismissed. Read that again. Let it sink in. But not before a marathon 263. Actually Pakistan can take a lot out from today. Even if this Test does end in a draw, England’s inexperienced middle order was exposed. Despite getting a half-century, Stokes looked very unconvincing. Babar would struggle to believe he bowled 70 overs.

Stats of the day

1. Cook’s 263 is the highest ever by an England batsman in Asia.

2. Not since Cook’s own Essex mentor, Graham Gooch, made 333 against India at Lord’s in 1990 had an England batsman notched up a triple-century.

3. Pakistan have till now bowled 196.3 overs, the most by them since 1985.

4. Cook is now the only opener to have batted for more than 11 hours in an innings, twice in Tests.

What can we expect on Day 5

Is a horrendous batting collapse from Pakistan in the second innings on the cards? Seems tough to comprehend but can’t rule it out. Otherwise the series will stand at 0-0.

Brief scores:

Day 4

England 1st innings – 569/8 (196.3 overs)  (Cook 263, Root 85; Riaz 3-116)

lead Pakistan (523/8 dec)  by 46 runs