ENGLAND vice-captain Joe Root thinks Alastair Cook’s marathon innings has put the tourists back in with a chance of beating Pakistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.
Cook was finally dismissed for 263 in the evening session of the fourth day yesterday after breaking a host of records, but not before he had helped England overturn Pakistan’s first-innings effort of 523 for eight.
The tourists now have a lead of 46 with two wickets in hand after Root, who contributed 85, helped put on 141 for the fourth wicket with his captain.
After Shoaib Malik’s 245, it looked as though Pakistan had batted into a position where they could not lose the game, but Root thinks the roles have been reversed heading into the final day thanks to Cook’s brilliance. “He’s knackered as you’d expect,” Root said. “He’s played out of his skin for the last two days. It takes a hell of a lot of concentration and skill to be able to bat for that amount of time regardless of the pitch, so we’re thrilled for him and it’s given us hope of some sort of result in this game now.
“It’s going to be very hard [to win the game]. But we’ve given ourselves a chance with a lead.
“If the guys [unbeaten batsmen Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad] can try to edge as much as they can and get a hundred lead then you just don’t know.”
He added: “There’s been a lot spoken about the pitch and how unresponsive it’s been, but you’ve seen in subcontinental conditions how quickly it can change. The amount of wickets we lost in the final session gives you a glimmer of hope as a side trying to force a result.”
He also supported Rashid, who went wicketless in the first innings, and recorded the worst-ever figures for a Test debutant.
“You’ve seen a world class spinner in [Zulfiqur] Babar take 70 odd overs to get a wicket.
“That’s given him [Rashid] a little bit of confidence and that bit of rough brings him in the game massively. Hopefully he can go out and show all his tricks and come good for us.”