England took a firm grip of the third Test against Pakistan after bowling out the hosts for just 234 on day one in Sharjah. Seam pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the chief tormentors with combined figures of 6 for 30, with Misbah-ul-Haq make a steely 71, but the loss of Ben Stokes to injury threatens to eclipse the early inroads.
The Durham all-rounder fell awkwardly on his right shoulder after attempting a full length catch off the retuning Samit Patel, and left the field with his arm in a sling following treatment on the outfield. Stokes faces a scan before the second day of play to determine his fitness but early signs after that his match and tour could well be curtailed.
But even the potential loss of Stokes for the remainder of the winter, which could include the 11-match, multi-format tour of South Africa, could not overshadow a fine England performance with the ball after captain Alastair Cook lost the toss for the third time in the series. Anderson took four wickets while Broad chipped in with two as the seam axis covered for the ineffectual display of the spin trio, amid a Pakistan collapse which saw them lose their final five wickets for 38 runs.
Patel, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid failed to take advantage of the spinning and bouncing conditions which allowed Pakistan to build a respectable total, as Misbah made his sixth consecutive test score of fifty or more and put on 80 with Sarfraz Ahmed (39). It is left to be seen whether Yasir Shah will be as wasteful during the England first innings which will began in earnest on day two after Cook and Ali negotiated the final two overs at the end of the day.