ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The day after a Pakistani cab driver told Stuart Broad that England will be “destroyed” by Pakistan in the second test, the cricketer did his utmost to defy the cocky claim on Friday.
Broad frustrated Pakistan throughout the third day, first by hitting a near run-a-ball 58 not out which helped to give England a first-innings lead of 70, and then by pinning down Pakistan with his medium pace for 11 overs which conceded only 16 runs.
“He (the cab driver) was pretty confident that they (Pakistan) were going to destroy us but I had different views,” Broad said.
Broad believed on Thursday the result of the match would become clearer to him by stumps on Friday, but he was still on the fence.
“I keep getting to the end of the day and I’m not clearer,” he said. “It really can go either way again going into the fourth day.”
England looked in control after its innings and after Monty Panesar claimed three wickets and reduced Pakistan to 54-4 after tea, but Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq fought back with a 71-run undefeated stand.
The partnership did not frustrate Broad.
“Frustrating is not the word,” he said. “In test cricket you expect partnerships. The important thing is we didn’t start chasing wickets, we didn’t try magical deliveries, we just stayed patient and held.”
Broad believed if England could stop Pakistan from scoring freely in the first hour on Saturday, the new ball — due in 19 overs — could do the trick for England.
“If we can hold and not let them go anywhere and then fire up with the new ball, we can put ourselves in a great position,” he said.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch has seen two high-scoring draws — Pakistan vs. South Africa (2010) and Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (2011) — since it became Pakistan’s home venue after foreign teams refused to travel there due to security concerns.
But the nature of the pitch has changed dramatically in this test with spinners getting lot of assistance from day one.
Broad said there were times when batsmen could graft their innings like Ali and Shafiq showed when they denied England success in the last two hours.
“If the wicket continues to play like it did today and gets better then we’ll be able to chase 150, but if it starts turning again we need to keep them to as little as possible.
“It’s been an amazing test match so far. It’s one for the purists, it’s been slow cricket but very intriguing.”
Broad said he manipulated the Pakistan field setting while batting in the morning as he hit six fours and a six to raise his half century off 52 balls before running out of partners.
“Today it was quite important that we grew a lead and I was a bit more selective,” he said.
“It was pleasing to make a contribution today, but I don’t think it was reckless hitting, I think I sort of calculated it OK.”