England fell agonisingly short of claiming a remarkable win over Pakistan after bad light stopped play on day five of the first Test Abu Dhabi. The tourists were set just 99 to win in 19 overs after bowling Pakistan out for just 173, but the gloomy conditions cruelly curtailed their chase just 25 runs short of victory.
Joe Root finished on 33 not out as part of an England chase which ended on 74 for 4, but despite there being eight overs to be bowled the umpires hauled the players off due to the fading light. After a match which was seemingly destined for a dull draw after the fall of just 16 wickets during the opening four days, England stuck a phycological blow ahead of the final two Tests of the series in Dubai and Sharjah.
After England declared on 598 for 9 on the fifth morning, Adil Rashid bounced back from the worst figures from a Test debutant in the first innings to take 5 for 64. There were two wickets each for James Anderson, who produce a brutal and hostile opening spell to take a brace, and Moeen Ali as spin belatedly came to the fore in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan had seemingly put the result beyond doubt after reaching 139 for 4, with Misbah-ul-Haq eventually making 51, and with a lead of 65.
But the designated home side, who have never lost a Test series in the UAE, lost their last six wickets for 34 to give England hope. With conditions becoming increasingly dark overhead and the floodlights imminent, Jos Buttler came out to open with Moeen Ali but the openers and Ben Stokes soon departed to leave England 35 for 3.
Pakistan attempted to slow the game up with a series of field changes, but Root continued on his way, but the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow (15) all-but signalled the end with sunset in the Arab state approaching. After the light meter was again used by the umpires at the end of the 11th over they had no choice but to take the players off, with England denied in wicked fashion.