James Taylor talked of England’s “massive frustration” at the DRS ruling that allowed Mohammad Hafeez to hit another 95 telling runs against them in the third Test.
Day three at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium also proved notable for Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik’s unexpected close-of-play announcement that he will retire after the match.
Three hours earlier, though, Hafeez was the centre of attention when he was initially given out caught-behind off James Anderson, only for third umpire Paul Reiffel to overturn the verdict.
Regular audio and visual aids ‘Snicko’ and ‘Hotspot’ are not available in this series, but there was still enough evidence for the decision to be changed.
Taylor described Hafeez’s reprieve on two as a “huge moment in the game”.
It was one which also brought an apparently spicy exchange between some of England’s agitated players and Pakistan’s cheeky 12th man Mohammad Rizwan.
As the decision was relayed from the third umpire, reserve wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan – bringing out drinks during the break in play – goaded the opposition by crossing his arms to mimic the umpiring gesture which precedes a revised decision.
Hafeez went on to finish unbeaten on 97 out of a stumps total of 146-3.
England will therefore almost certainly face a tough chase if they are to level the series in this final match.
Taylor said: “It was massively frustrating, obviously a massive wicket. You can see that in the context of the game now – he’s on 97 not out – so obviously a huge moment in the game.
“But personally, I can’t say I spend too long at night thinking about DRS.”
For that reason, he offered no opinion on the secondary, and final, decision-making progress, but made it plain he thought the first call was the correct one.
“Yes, I did – and I think all the guys behind the stumps did as well,” Taylor added.
“Obviously the umpire did, that’s why he put his finger up.
“But the third umpire has a job to do, and he made his decision.”
Rizwan’s party piece did not help England’s mood, but Taylor was diplomatic in his own recollections.
“I think we were frustrated he was smiling a little bit too much for our liking,” he said.
“I think he had fun while he was out there briefly.”
While England ponder what might have been, Shoaib will no longer have to do so. His retirement, after 34 Tests and at the age of 33, comes at a curious point.
He was recalled for this series after a five-year absence, and has marked his return with career-best batting and bowling – a double-century in Abu Dhabi and 4-33 in England’s 306 all out here.
He said: “I could have played more. But this is the right time, and I want to focus on the 2019 World Cup. I want to give others a chance. I’ve played only one World Cup, so I want to play that and preserve my energy.”
Between the summer of 2010 and last month, Shoaib was left out of the team.
He added: “I didn’t play Test cricket for five years – and those were the years when I wanted to play Tests. Obviously the disappointment is there for not playing (more) Tests, but you have to move on.”
England lost their last six wickets for 78, Taylor (76) the first to go after adding only two to his overnight tally.
He set that anti-climax aside as he assessed his maiden Test fifty the previous day, more than three years after his previous two caps against South Africa.
“I loved every second of it (on Monday) ... not so much (yesterday),” said Taylor.
“It’s been a frustrating three years, trying to get back in the side. It’s a must-win game for us, and I knew that.”
England began the day just 12 runs behind, with six wickets intact.
They finished it 74 behind, still needing seven more Pakistan wickets to set up their chase.
Sharjah: Pakistan lead by 74 with 7 second inns wkts standing.
Overnight: Pakistan 234 , England 222-4.
Pakistan First Innings
Mohammad Hafeez c Broad b M M Ali 27
Azhar Ali c Bairstow b Anderson 0
Shoaib Malik c Bairstow b Broad 38
Younus Khan lbw b Anderson 31
Misbah ul-Haq c Root b Anderson 71
Asad Shafiq c Bairstow b S R Patel 5
Ahmed c Root b M M Ali 39
Wahab Riaz b S R Patel 0
Shah c S R Patel b Broad 7
Babar not out 6
Ali c M M Ali b Anderson 4
Extras b1 lb5 6
Total (85.1 overs) 234
Fall: 1-5 2-49 3-88 4-103 5-116 6-196 7-196 8-224 9-224
Anderson 15.1 7 17 4 Broad 13 8 13 2 Stokes 11 4 23 0 S R Patel 23 3 85 2 M M Ali 13 3 49 2 Rashid 10 1 41 0
England First Innings
A N Cook c Azhar Ali b Shah 49
M M Ali c Younus Khan b Shoaib Malik 14
I R Bell st Ahmed b Shah 40
J E Root c Ahmed b Rahat Ali 4
J W A Taylor c Ahmed b Rahat Ali 76
J M Bairstow b Babar 43
S R Patel b Shah 42
Rashid c Azhar Ali b Shoaib Malik 8
S C J Broad not out 13
J M Anderson b Shoaib Malik 7
B A Stokes b Shoaib Malik 0
Extras lb6 nb4 10
Total (126.5 overs) 306
Fall: 1-19 2-90 3-97 4-139 5-228 6-245 7-285 8-287 9-296
Rahat Ali 22 12 48 2 Shah 36 3 99 3 Wahab Riaz 20 5 33 0 Babar 37 6 80 1 Shoaib Malik 9.5 3 33 4 Azhar Ali 2 0 7 0
Pakistan Second Innings
Mohammad Hafeez not out 97
Azhar Ali run out 34
Shoaib Malik lbw b Anderson 0
Younus Khan lbw b Broad 14
Ali not out 0
Extras lb1 1
Total 3 wkts (53 overs) 146
Fall: 1-101 2-105 3-146
To Bat: Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar.
Anderson 14 5 36 1 Broad 12 4 19 1 S R Patel 11 0 40 0 M M Ali 6 1 25 0 Rashid 10 2 25 0