Five-star Panesar stakes claim
Monty Panesar's timely five-wicket haul added value to the theory England may yet use him as a second spinner in their Test series against Pakistan, which starts on Tuesday.
Panesar, who returned 5-57, took advantage of favourable conditions to stake his claim for a recall to the Test team, as the Pakistan Cricket Board XI chiselled out 200 for nine declared.
Even Panesar could do little about the unexpected resistance provided by teenage tailender Raza Hasan, though, on day two of this second and final warm-up match which concluded with England 82 for none in their second innings, leading by 151.
Panesar was the most successful bowler in an awkward and extended afternoon session which saw Raza complete a 133-ball 50 not out at the ICC Global Cricket Academy ground in Dubai.
England did nothing wrong in a passage of play which was informative in terms of what they can expect, in these conditions, during the three-Test series.
Before Panesar got to work, Graham Onions struck first this morning and Chris Tremlett was twice successful too. Onions, playing his first match for his country in more than two years after a career-threatening back injury, was in business with the fourth ball of the day - after England's opponents had resumed on 23 for none.
The Durham seamer pinned left-hander Nasir Jamshed in front, and soon afterwards Tremlett shifted the PCB XI’s other opener Afaq Raheem - also lbw, pushing forward.
Mohammad Ayub Dogar and Usman Salahuddin then played fluently, particularly as Onions began to leak runs. But Tremlett, himself replaced by Panesar, returned to give Onions a rest and took his second wicket in his first over with the wind behind him.
Salahuddin pushed out on the back foot at a delivery outside off-stump, and edged to Matt Prior for 23 as the PCB XI slipped to 78 for three.
England were therefore already making inroads without a wicket yet from spin, with Graeme Swann still waiting for his chance.
It soon turned out Panesar, who last played a Test at the start of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff, was merely biding his time.
The slow left-armer began his day with an unpromising full-toss, dispatched for four past midwicket by Dogar, but put himself in the wicket column for the first time when he had Fawad Alam looping a catch to Andrew Strauss at short midwicket off bat and pad.
That was the first of four wickets to fall to spin for 19 runs up to lunch as Panesar doubled up when Haris Sohail went lbw on the defence to leave the PCB XI struggling on 101 for five.
Swann joined in to have captain Sarfraz Ahmed caught at silly point first ball by Jonathan Trott off bat and pad, and then the PCB XI slumped to 110 for seven when his spin partner made it three when top-scorer Dogar, who made 33, was caught behind off a well-flighted delivery.
Only eight more had been added after lunch when Panesar had Yasir Shah caught at slip by a diving Swann.
But that is where England’s patience test began, at the hands of ninth-wicket pair Raza and Mohammad Talha who were mostly watchful - although the latter hit Swann for two leg-side sixes in one over.
It was not until Panesar had Talha edging more turn behind to Prior for 31 after 28 overs of vain persistence that England were rewarded for their efforts.
But even after that, there was no shifting Hasan, who grew in confidence and played barely a false shot, belying the fact that his previous-best score in 16 first-class innings was 29.
He brought up his fifty with a crisp off-driven four, his eighth, off Kevin Pietersen - and one run later, the PCB XI declared 69 behind.
England did not need to see Alastair Cook bat again here, after his first-innings hundred, so promoted Jonathan Trott - following his two low scores from three attempts so far - to open alongside Strauss, who made an unbeaten 36.
Trott, 39 not out, responded with a composed share of a stand which should mean England can declare for a second time by early afternoon tomorrow.