Seamer Stuart Broad apologised to his team-mates after his no-ball handed centurion Shoaib Malik a reprieve as an error-strewn England toiled on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Former Pakistan captain Mailk marked his first Test match for five years with an unbeaten score of 124, while opener Mohammad Hafeez struck 98 as the hosts reached stumps on 286-4.
England’s James Anderson claimed two wickets to move to 10th on the all-time list of Test wicket-takers with 415, as Younis Khan surpassed Javed Miandad’s tally of 8,832 to become the leading Test run-scorer in Pakistan’s history.
Broad was guilty of overstepping as Malik edged to vice-captain Joe Root at gully while on 40 – the sixth time this year England have been denied a wicket due to a no-ball – while Ian Bell was culpable of grassing two catchable chances in the slips.
“We all know, having played a little bit of cricket over here, you can’t afford to have to try to take 26 or 27 wickets to win a Test match, you just need to take your 20,” said Broad, who finished the day with figures of 1-30.
“I can’t think of many occasions I’ve had one chalked off. I’m not really a big no-ball bowler. There’s no real excuses for it. I said sorry at tea to the guys. I have to hold my hand up, it is unacceptable, certainly in these conditions.
“The two dropped chances were a shame, but on the positive side, we created those chances of what was pretty much a batter’s dream on day one.”
England are expected to face a trial by spin in the United Arab Emirates, although their own slow bowling duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid went wicketless and conceded 149 runs from a combined 36 overs.
The visitors, however, had Pakistan rocking at 5-1 after losing the toss at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium as Anderson bowled Shan Masood via his helmet as the opener ducked to mitigate the Lancastrian’s bouncer.
That could have been 12-2 had Bell not dropped Hafeez on seven, only for he and Malik to put on 168 for the second wicket before all-rounder Ben Stokes intervened on the stroke of tea to trap the 34-year-old LBW.
Khan’s knock of 38 was sufficient to pass Inzamam-ul-Haq and then Miandad’s record which had stood for 30 years, before he drove Broad to Alastair Cook at short mid-on, while Misbah-ul-Haq tickled Anderson behind to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for three.
Malik became only the fifth player to hit three figures on his return to Test cricket after missing at least 40 matches and was there at the end with Asad Shafiq, who was dropped on 10 by Bell in the penultimate over.
“If we start well with that [second] new ball, we’re a couple of wickets away from the tail, and anything under 400 would be a fantastic effort from the bowling unit,” added Broad. “Then you’ve got one job and that’s to bat big.”