SHARJAH (Web Desk) – Ben Stokes defied a collarbone injury to come into bat at No.11, but he was last man out for a ten-ball duck as England’s first innings was wrapped up for 306 shortly after lunch on the third day in Sharjah.
After Yasir Shah had bowled the mainstay of the tail-end resistance, Samit Patel, with a perfect legbreak for 42, the end came quickly thanks to Shoaib Malik’s offbreaks.
He tweaked a brace of deliveries past the edge of the left-handers, James Anderson and Stokes, who had withstood a hostile over from Wahab Riaz while adding ten useful runs with the not-out batsman, Stuart Broad.
Taylor, who last played a test match three years ago, resisted Pakistan’s spin challenge on a turning wicket to finish unbeaten on 74 and guided England to 222-4 at stumps.
Earlier, Pakistan was bowled out for 234 on the first day with James Anderson and Stuart Broad taking six wickets between them for the loss of 30 runs, The Hindu reported.
Together with Jonny Bairstow, who was unbeaten on 37, Taylor defied Pakistan’s bowlers, even with the second new ball in the last session, by adding 83 for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand.
England captain Alastair Cook missed out on a half century and went for 49 while Ian Bell took almost 3 1/2 hours to grind out 40 before both fell to leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who was 2-79.
Shah had struck after tea as England stuttered at 139-4 when Bell lost his composure on his 158th ball and missed a sharp leg-spin only to be stumped by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
But Taylor and Bairstow kept calm in England’s most productive session of the day, scoring 87 for the loss of only Bell’s wicket.
Taylor waited for loose deliveries and twice swept Shah in front of square to midwicket boundary while hitting six fours off 141 balls as Pakistan struggled to make further inroads.
With Ben Stokes unlikely to bat after injuring his right shoulder in the field on Sunday, England needed Taylor and Bairstow to be solid as they look for a series-levelling victory after losing the second test by 178 runs.
Cook faced 119 balls and added 71 with Bell before Pakistan came back hard and took two wickets for the loss of seven runs after lunch.
Shah had Cook caught close to the wicket and Ahmed plucked a low diving catch when left-arm fast bowler Rahat Ali induced a thick outside edge of Joe Root’s bat with the batsman on 4.
The runs dried up for England in the second session as it could add only 48 runs with Ali effectively using the old ball to reverse swing.
Resuming at 4-0 Monday morning Shoaib Malik provided the lone success of the first session when Moeen Ali departed for 14 after top-edging a sweep to Younis Khan in the slips.
Cook and Bell then combined for a half century second-wicket stand but Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq held back Shah until the first hour had passed.
Bell, who has scored only one half century on the tour, used his feet well against the spinners and showed early aggression when he lifted left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar for a straight six.