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Ali puts Pak on course for a whitewash

cricket Updated: Feb 06, 2012 00:44 IST
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England were left to fight hard to save defeat and with it the humiliation of a first-ever series whitewash at the hands of Pakistan in the third and final Test at Dubai Stadium here on Sunday.

Needing to chase their second best achieved target in all Tests of 324, England finished the third day at 36-0, with openers Andrew Strauss (19) and Alastair Cook (15) playing out the tricky 20 overs on an eased out pitch.

They still need another 288 runs in the last two days. England's most successful chase to win a Test was the 332 they made against Australia in Melbourne in 1929. Azhar Ali hit a career-best 157 and Younis Khan's 127 in Pakistan's second innings total of 365.

Pakistan could have got Cook's wicket had Taufiq Umar not dropped an easy catch in the third slip off paceman Umar Gul when the England opener had made just four.

It will need an extraordinary effort from the England batsmen who lost the first Test here by ten wickets and the second by 72 runs in Abu Dhabi after their batting flopped against Pakistani spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman.

Pakistan were well placed at 331-4 before losing their last seven wickets for a mere 34 runs following good bowling from Panesar and Swann, who finished with 3-101. Pakistan owed their total to a brilliant career-best knock by Ali and Younis's brilliance. Together they added 216 for the third wicket in a frustrating stand which almost plunged England into submission.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 99 & 365 (A Ali 157, Y Khan 127, Panesar 5-124) v England 141 & 36-0