first_imgABU DHABI — Shoaib Malik hit a century on his comeback while opener Mohammad Hafeez came up just short of a hundred Tuesday as Pakistan took command on the opening day of the first test against England.Pakistan reached 286-4 at stumps with England suffering from two simple dropped catches by Ian Bell and a no-ball by Stuart Broad on what would have been a wicket.The first of the two dropped catches by Bell would have dismissed Hafeez on seven with the score on 12-1, and Broad’s misfortune happened with Malik on 40.Hafeez went on to make 98 before he was dismissed at the stroke of tea, while Malik reached his third test century and remained unbeaten on 124 in his first international test in five years.Veteran batsman Younis Khan became the highest run scorer for his country by breaking the long-standing record of Javed Miandad. Needing 19 runs at the start of the innings to go past Miandad’s aggregate of 8,832 runs in 124 tests, Khan achieved that by smashing Moeen Ali for the only six of the match over mid-wicket when on 15.But Khan, who played an uncharacteristically positive inning, departed when on 38. Captain Alastair Cook positioned himself right next to the bowling crease in a very straight short mid-on, and Khan flicked Broad straight into his hands.Four runs later, on 251, Pakistan lost captain Misbah-ul Haq to what looked like a contentious caught behind decision. Misbah seemed certain he did not edge the Anderson delivery to Jos Buttler, but had to go for three.Bell’s second mistake was just before stumps in the same position of second slip when he dropped an even easier chance of Asad Shafiq with the batsman on 10.“Obviously, Bell is very disappointed in the dressing room, and I will have to put my hand up for the no-ball, which is unacceptable,” Broad said. “Certainly, in these conditions, those two dropped catches were a shame, but that’s cricket. On the positive side, we are creating those chances.Malik has now batted for 230 deliveries and mixed caution with aggression. He was patient against the pacers and used his feet to punish the England spinners Moeen Ali and debutant Adil Rashid, who went wicketless.“I think Malik’s innings showed what he is capable of doing in cricket,” Younis said. “He played a wonderful knock and he is going to be vital for us tomorrow. If we can bat a couple of sessions tomorrow around him, we will be in a very strong position.”Hafeez and Malik added 167 runs for the second wicket, after Pakistan lost opener Shan Masood early, undone by a slow bouncer from James Anderson in the third over of the innings.The ball reared up and hit Masood’s helmet as he took his eyes off the ball, before ricocheting on to his stumps. Masood was on two and Pakistan’s score was on five.Earlier, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq won the toss and elected to bat first.That advantage came after a major blow for Pakistan with star leg-spinner Yasir Shah unable to recover from the back injury he suffered while bowling at the nets on Monday.That left Pakistan with only one spinner, Zulfiqar Babar, and Pakistan is going into the match with three seamers – Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan and Rahat Ali.England, as expected, gave a debut to Rashid on a pitch that is expected to assist the spinners from day three onwards.Pakistan has played seven test matches at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, winning four, including the last two by massive margins against Australia (356 runs) and New Zealand (248 runs) and drawing the other three. It also won the only test match here against England by 72 runs in 2012. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img