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Cook anticipates more fan-friendly fare in Dubai

England captain Alastair Cook is hopeful of a more even contest between bat and ball when the second Test against Pakistan begins at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday.

Bowlers on both sides toiled for the majority of the series opener in Abu Dhabi, with Cook batting a mammoth 836 minutes for 263 after Shoaib Malik scored a double century of his own in Pakistan's first innings.

The match thrillingly stirred into life on the final day as Pakistan collapsed second time around before bad light heralded an unsatisfactory conclusion with England 25 runs short of what would have been a remarkable victory.

That controversial finish put talk over the harm such docile tracks can do to Test cricket as an entertainment spectacle.

"I think it will turn more and a bit quicker than Abu Dhabi," Cook said. "The last time we were here there was a little bit more in it for the seamers early on. 

"It is a slightly unique stadium here, the shadow over the ground is still there or close to still being there at 10am.

"I seem to remember that from last time and that allows a little bit more dampness in the wicket overnight so there is a little bit more movement early on and that quickly dries out. It should be a better cricket wicket."

England will assess Ben Stokes ahead of the contest as he comes through the after-effects of a 24-hour bug, but Cook is confident the Durham all-rounder will play.

Should Stokes miss out, Liam Plunkett or Chris Jordan could bolster England's seam department. Alternatively, Samit Patel could provide left-arm spin and win a first Test cap since 2012.

"It would have to be an option [three spinners] where there is no seam, where it really is a really dry wicket, but we said at the beginning of the tour that this squad has the option of doing it and it doesn't really affect the balance of the side," Cook added.

"All three spinners bat really well as well, obviously Ben's bowling ability with batting at six gives us balance. Whichever combination you include, whether you include Samit or Rash [Adil Rashid], they all bat and means we are always batting down to eight."

Rashid responded from a chastening first-innings bowl on debut in Abu Dhabi to take 5-64 as Pakistan slumped to 173 all out.

The focus is now on Pakistan's spin department ahead of the second Test, with leg-spinner Yasir Shah set to return from a back spasm at the venue where he took seven wickets on debut a year ago.

Shah's 54 subsequent scalps in the longest format marked him out as a major threat to England before the series, although off-spinner Bilal Asif has been called into the squad despite being reported for a suspect action following the third one-day international against Zimbabwe this month.

"That is not an issue for us," Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq said. "If that had been an issue for us he would not be here. 

"We think that he is [correct in his action], that is why we have been really supporting him and promoting him and picking him. He has just gone through the test. We think his action is okay and that is why he is here."