Stuart Broad (left) celebrates the dismissal of Mohammad Hafeez with skipper Alastair Cook © Getty Images
Stuart Broad (left) celebrates the dismissal of Mohammad Hafeez with skipper Alastair Cook © Getty Images

Pakistan reached a score of 87 for the loss of two wickets at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test against England at Sharjah on Sunday. Shoaib Malik and Younis Khan were batting on 37 and 21 respectively, while James Anderson and Moeen Ali took a wicket each for six and 19 runs respectively. Azhar Ali made a disappointing comeback into the Pakistan side after missing out on the first two Tests due to a toe infection, getting dismissed for a seven-ball duck off Anderson’s bowling. Both teams made two changes to their playing elevens. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England 2015, 3rd Test in Sharjah

The hosts won the toss for the third time in this series — a sixth consecutive toss win for skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. Pakistan decided to replace the out-of-form opener Shan Masood and the injured pacer Imran Khan with Azhar and Rahat Ali. England, on the other hand, decided to bring in left-arm spinner Samit Patel in place of Mark Wood (whose fitness was in question) and James Taylor in place of the wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, with Jonny Bairstow taking over the keeping duties from Buttler, who has been in poor form for the most part. LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: Pakistan vs England 2015, 3rd Test at Sharjah

Ali barely managed to get a start to his innings, struggling against Anderson’s pace for six deliveries before finally nicking one to wicketkeeper Bairstow. It was a poor return for Ali, who captains his side in One-Day Internationals (ODI), after missing out on the first two Tests due to a toe infection that he sustained during his Hajj trip.

Mohammad Hafeez was beginning to get into his rhythm, dispatching a few deliveries towards the boundary ropes occasionally, although the slow outfield helped save a run or two for the visitors. The Pakistani progress was slow for the most part in the first 15 overs, with Pakistan reaching a score of 25 for 1. Hafeez, who has scored two half-centuries in the series so far, got ambitious in the 20th over bowled by Moeen Ali, smashing the fourth ball over the bowler’s head for a four before perishing off the next delivery after getting a top-edge off an attempted pull towards square-leg, with Stuart Broad running in from deep backward square-leg to complete the catch.

Younis Khan, who is currently the third-highest run-getter in the ongoing series and recently became the first Pakistani batsman to cross the 9,000-run mark in Tests, was steadfast in his approach early in his innings. Having seen the pacers off with the ball losing its shine, Malik and Younis began to attack the spinners with ease towards the end of the session. Younis got his first boundary of the innings with a sweep towards square-leg, and soon moved to the 20s. Malik meanwhile, is 13 runs away from his ninth Test half-century at the moment.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 87 for 2 (Mohammad Hafeez 27, Shoaib Malik 37*, Younis Khan 21*; James Anderson 1 for 6, Moeen Ali 1 for 22) vs England.

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(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)