Saeed Ajmal's five-for reduces England to 139/7 at tea

Saeed Ajmal (extreme left) is delighted after completing his five-wicket haul on the opening day of the first Test Getty Images

Dubai: Jan 17, 2012

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took his fifth five-wicket haul to plunge England into trouble on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at Dubai Stadium on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old, whose claims of a mystery delivery surrounded the lead-up to the three-Test series, had figures of 5-40 after an unchanged 16-over spell to leave England 139-7 at tea on a slow turning pitch.

At tea, Matt Prior was unbeaten on 37 and Graeme Swann on 27 not out. The pair have added 45 for an unfinished eighth wicket stand after England were in danger of being bolwed out for their lowest Test score (130) against Pakistan.

England went to lunch at 52-5 after they won the toss and decided to bat, losing their much vaunted top-order to the spin/pace attack of Pakistan.

Ajmal dismissed Andrew Strauss (19) with the last delivery of his first over and then had Ian Bell (nought) with the first ball of his next, before trapping Kevin Pietersen (two) leg before three balls later.

After lunch Prior added 39 for the sixth wicket with Eoin Morgan (24) before Ajmal struck again, dismissing Morgan and then Broad (eight) — both leg-before off miscued sweeps.

Pakistan played two frontline spinners in Ajmal and left-armer Abdul Rehma, with Mohammad Hafeez giving them an extra option of spin. England may be regretting their decision to leave out the in-form Monty Panesar and play three seamers alongside off-spinner Graeme Swann.

Pakistan introduced spin as early as the sixth over through Hafeez, who was rewarded when England opener Alastair Cook edged his third delivery to wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal for just three.

Paceman Aizaz Cheema then dismissed Jonathan Trott (17), caught behind by a diving Adnan off a leg-side edge to leave England at 31-2.

Ajmal, who did not appear to have unfurled any new bowling delivery in the morning, then bowled Strauss who went for a pull but missed the ball and lost his off-stump.

Bell was then caught behind off a straight delivery from Ajmal.

Pietersen survived a confident lbw appeal but Ajmal asked for the Decision Review System and to the team’s surprise, Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford was forced to change his mind with replays showing the ball going on to hit the stumps.

Adnan, who took three catches behind the stumps, fumbled on two occasions, failing to stump Morgan when the batsman was three and dropped Swann on eight — both off Ajmal. (AFP)

Brief Scores: England 139 for 7 (Matt Prior 37*, Graeme Swann 27*; Saeed Ajmal 5 for 40, Mohammad Hafeez 1 for 3) vs Pakistan.

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