Mark Wood still keen to face Misbah-ul-Haq despite tough opening day

Published: Thursday 22nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Mark Wood was already up for ’round two’ against Misbah-ul-Haq as he came to terms with a frustrating first day of the second Test for England in Dubai.

Wood was the pick of an England attack who worked hard but failed to stop Pakistan captain Misbah giving his team the edge with a calculated century.

Misbah’s first, very significant, contribution was to win his second successive toss in the three-match series – and he then went on to ensure a recovery from 85 for three to 282 for four at stumps, in stands of 93 with Younus Khan (56) and then an unbroken 104 alongside Asad Shafiq.

With a half-century too at the top of the order from Shan Masood, Pakistan took effective advantage of batting first and moved into position to try to control the match.

Misbah, international cricket’s current elder statesman, used all his experience to withstand England’s best efforts in an often stoic innings – but a characteristically curious one too, which contained five sixes.

Two came in succession off Adil Rashid and then another two in three balls from England’s other spinner Moeen Ali, as he moved from 87 to three figures in the last over before stumps.

Misbah also completed both his 50 and his hundred with reverse-sweeps off Moeen – and Wood admitted the 41-year-old undoubtedly had the upper hand, even though he was discomforted by the short ball on more than one occasion.

“I know I hit Misbah a couple of times,” he said.

“But he’s still out there and has a hundred … so I guess that’s 1-0 to him, and I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

“I had a good battle with him. I tried to be aggressive at him, but he dealt with it really well.”

Wood was far from flattered with his figures of one for 26, and James Anderson and Ben Stokes also bowled well enough to pick up more wickets.

He added: “(We’re) pretty frustrated, I guess.

“I think we’ve bowled well as a group.

“I don’t think we can be too disheartened – we can hold our heads up high.

“We’ve put in the effort; they’ve played well – and sometimes that happens. We’ve put in a good, hard shift.”

England’s bowlers were inventive as well as disciplined, but to little avail on another surface favouring bat over ball so far.

“As a seam group, I think we did our job,” said Wood.

“We set traps and tried different things.

“They attacked the spinners, but I don’t think they bowled badly.

“We hope if we can get a couple early tomorrow we can get into the tail and knock them over quickly.”

Misbah and Younis’ key partnership was ended by Wood when he had Pakistan’s all-time record Test runscorer caught behind.

He said: “As a bowler, I appreciate and have respect that they are great players.

“My personal role was to try and be more aggressive today, but they showed their class and dealt with the situation well.”

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, meanwhile, is hoping Misbah retains his appetite for runs – in the immediate and longer term.

Asked if Misbah appears to be improving with age, Waqar replied: “That’s what we have been saying for the last three years now.

“I guess it’s the determination.

“He wants to carry on playing, and I don’t think age is a barrier.”

Misbah has hinted at retirement in the foreseeable future, but nothing more.

Waqar added: “He has said before this series ‘you never know, this might be my last series’ – so he wants to make the most of it.

“We don’t know what he wants to do – but of course, the way he is batting, Pakistan need him.”

Published: Thursday 22nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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