The Test series between England and Pakistan has not been the most enthralling, but things at last threatened to heat up in Dubai as Joe Root and Wahab Riaz clashed in unlikely circumstances.
England’s middle-order run machine confronted Wahab after the Pakistan seamer was seen kicking the ball along the dusty ground, but the on-field umpires took no issue with the alleged ball tampering.
Replays indicated that Wahab was merely toe-poking the ball, claiming that he could not pick it up due to his sweaty palms according to The Guardian, rather than purposely tredding on the ball.
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace attempted to play down the incident after stumps on day four, which England reached 130-3 in their second innings, still needing 361 more runs to win.
“In the heat of battle you are going to see the odd exchange between players,” Farbrace is quoted as saying by The Guardian. “Riaz certainly won’t be signing for Chelsea in the Premier League with his footballing skills. The umpires dealt with it at the time and that is the end of it.
“Joe has shown with his high level of skill and commitment to the cause that he is up for a scrap. That is what Joe Root is about – he fights and gets stuck in. He comes across as this nice young lad but there is fight in him.”
Root will need to show every bit of that fight if he is to help the tourists save this second Test. England’s lower order should be no match for Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah on current form.
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