Pakistan eased to a 2-0 series win on day five at Sharjah as England surrendered to spin without much resistance. Resuming at 46 for 2 in their pursuit of an improbable 284 on a spinning surface, England only managed to add another 110 runs before succumbing to a disappointing defeat. Skipper Alastair Cook, yet again, was the sole source of resistance for England. He hung around for 240 minutes for his 63 before finally throwing in the towel. Yasir Shah, as was likely to be the case, claimed four wickets while Shoaib Malik signed off from Test cricket with three.
If England were entertaining hopes of a draw, they needed Joe Root and Cook to bat for a major portion of the day. But, the fight was snuffed out of the England batting very early in the day. England lost four wickets for merely 11 runs, and the game was all but over as they crumbled to 59 for 6. If at all they managed to stretch the match into the second session, it was because of Cook’s resistance, and some lower order support from Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad, who made 22 and 20 respectively. It, however, only delayed the inevitable.
England got off to the worst possible start as Root was lbw to Yasir the fourth ball of the morning. He stood back in his crease when he should have come forward, and was trapped. First innings hero, James Taylor also fell cheaply. He was drawn forward by Zulfiqar Babar, and was held in the slips. Jonny Bairstow was trapped plumb in front as he missed a sweep. Samit Patel was also back in the hurt without scoring, as he missed a straight one from Babar, and saw the umpire raising his finger.
Cook and Rashid delayed Pakistan’s victory as they added 49 for the seventh wicket. They hung around for more than 20 overs before Rashid succumbed to the growing pressure. He was out to Rahat Ali before lunch, playing a loose drive. Cook carried on alone valiantly, and crossed another half-century. He even lofted Babar for a four over long-on, and reverse swept Yasir to the boundary. Eventually, Cook too gave it up, and was stumped by Malik, making him the all-rounder’s last Test victim. Ben Stokes again came out to bat despite his injury, but was the last man out, stumped off Yasir’s bowling
--By A Cricket Correspondent