During the First Test match between England and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, Misbah ul Haq was accused by many cricket experts of nearly gifting the English team an unexpected victory by losing his wicket after attempting an audacious shot when discipline was needed. He was the only recognised batsman remaining, as wickets tumbled around the Pakistan captain. England were ultimately prevented from winning by the intervention of bad light, but the criticism directed at Misbah that day has now been surpassed by praise after he became one of the oldest cricketers to score a test match century during the Second Test between the two teams.
At 41 years of age, Misbah is probably nearing retirement from the international arena but he became the oldest player since Australian Bob Simpson in 1978 to claim a test century with his score of 102 on the first day of the current test match. Simpson was slightly older at nearly 42 years old when he accumulated 100 runs for the final time in a test match, but the way in which Misbah achieved his milestone was probably far more dramatic and entertaining.
At the onset of the final over of the day, Misbah had amassed 87 runs and clearly did not relish an overnight wait to complete his century. Not being renowned his restraint at the wicket, Misbah decided to attack English spinner Moeen Ali. The first ball of the over was despatched into the stands as was another delivery, with three more runs added later in the over as Misbah finished the day unbeaten on 102 with his team 282-4 and seemingly comfortably in control.
As the second day enfolded, Misbah failed to score another run and faced just five deliveries as the Pakistan innings closed at 378. Perhaps his efforts on the previous day and his advancing years had contributed to some fatigue, but his early dismissal was an unexpected bonus for the English team as they sought to contain the opposition.
Yet the England first innings certainly did not begin with a flourish. Both Ali and Ian Bell lost their wickets cheaply with only 14 runs registered, but once again Alastair Cook and Joe Root rescued the English team with some accomplished scoring. Root remained unbeaten at close of play having accumulated 76 runs with Cook scoring 65 before departing as England finished the day on 182-3 with bad light again curtailing play.
Already, a draw appears the likely outcome as Root and Johnny Bairstow would hope to extend their 55 runs partnership into the third day but as the First Test proved, there could be surprises ahead especially if England can build an impressive first innings lead and then generate a degree of panic into the Pakistan cricketers. The main hope is that the outcome of this Test Match is decided by on-field activity.
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