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George Dobell in Abu Dhabi
January 27, 2012
Analysis : Azhar and Shafiq bloom in the desert
Report : Azhar and Shafiq fight but England hold edge
Features : The future's bright for Pakistan
Matches: England v Pakistan at Abu Dhabi
Series/Tournaments: England tour of United Arab Emirates
Stuart Broad has said that England "would not want to be chasing much more than 250" in the final innings against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Broad, the England allrounder, followed up his excellent first-innings bowling with an aggressive half-century to help his side gain the initiative in the second Test. A fightback from Pakistan's fifth-wicket pair of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq brought the hosts back into the game, however, and left them leading by 55 with six wickets in hand at the close of the third day.
"We're delighted with our position," Broad said. "They're only about 50 ahead and we are only 19 overs from the new ball. We just have to remember we are only two wickets away from being into their tail.
"We don't want to be chasing more than 250. Scoreboard pressure plays a huge role and even if the wicket does get a bit flatter that's still a decent score. We have to bowl well and that new ball will be the key. Hopefully we can restrict them to about 200 and then chase that down."
Broad denied that England were frustrated by Pakistan's resistance and instead reasoned that batting conditions had eased.
"Frustrating isn't the word," he said. "In Test cricket, you expect partnerships. The wicket today played at its flattest - I just don't know if it will turn more or play flatter tomorrow. But the important thing is we didn't start chasing wickets; we didn't start trying for magical deliveries. We just stayed patient."
Earlier Broad had struck six fours and a six in a 62-ball innings of 58 to help England gain a first-innings lead of 70.
"Looking at how difficult it was to defend against the quick-turning ball at the end of the second day, I thought my best option would be to try and manoeuvre the field, try to counter punch," he said. "Once I hit a couple of boundaries, everybody seemed to move out and I could pick up some singles and twos. It was a personal decision to give it a bit of a go with the amount of turn there was the night before and it paid off."
Azhar, meanwhile, saw things slightly differently. He reasoned that a lead of 150 would prove "very good" on this wicket and that anything "above that would be excellent".
"We're very confident," he said. "We are fighting back. We lost four wickets but we're determined and will not give up.
"No one gave their wicket away. The England bowlers are very good, it has to be said, but we don't want to give up. We were determined and we knew that if we stayed there, the runs would come."
Both players also praised what Azhar called the "fantastic crowd". Around 14,000 spectators took advantage of the free entry to attend the third day's play, creating "brilliant support for both teams", in the words of Azhar.
Their presence also helped drown out Sky Sports commentator David Lloyd, according to Broad. "The Barmy Army have been brilliant throughout," he said. "But it was so quiet on the first day that we could hear 'Bumble' commentating and we had to ask the umpires to turn the speakers down.
"I keep thinking when I go to leave the ground at the end of the day, 'Tomorrow is a huge day - tomorrow evening I'll know what the result will be'. But I keep getting to the end of the day, and I'm no clearer.
"This has been an amazing Test. It's been one for the purists, I suppose. The cricket has been quite slow at times, but very intriguing. It really can go either way."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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