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Gritty Pak give England plenty to think about

Published Jan 20, 2012 04:25am


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Andrew Strauss's brigade need a much more intensified effort to prove that they are good enough to perform in all conditions and on any surface.— Reuters

Cricket it is said is a mind sport but the way things change during the course of a tense game it is, at times, even mindblowing.

Who would have thought before the ongoing series that the top-ranked England would suffer the humiliation of a ten-wicket defeat and that too within three days of the first Test! But, as we all know, this is now a reality.

The fall from grace in fact does not take too long. Only last summer England had inflicted a massive 4-0 defeat to India to get to the top amongst the Testplaying nations. This certainly would have given them enough confidence to keep their rating intact, at least for some time.

But their first Test defeat in their last ten Tests, after losing the Ashes game inPerth in December 2010, must have left the English camp with a bitter taste, and the thought that one swallow does not make a summer.

To be acknowledged as one of the top teams around, Andrew Strauss's brigade need a much more intensified effort to prove that they are good enough to perform in all conditions and on any surface.

With Pakistan bowlers keeping them in tangles throughout this Test to bring them down to their knees, England now cannot afford to take Pakistan lightly. In fact, Pakistan's impressive outing in the series opener made them look more like a top team than England.

Misbah-ul-Haq's men seem to have a different body language which obviously shows up by the way they batted, fielded or bowled here in Dubai a transforma-tion which we all waited to see for some time during the last few years.

Credit needs to be given the way Misbah handled the team with a calm assurance and in a dignified manner which no doubt rubs on others and which brings required results.

Pakistan's winning streak recentlyowes much to him, the coaches and the management who have been looking after the team. Without that a performance like in the opening Test here may not have been possible.

What pleased me more is the fact that Pakistan on the third morning continued to frustrate the English bowlers byextending their innings for just over an hour to add fifty more runs to their already 96-run lead.

Adnan Akmal though small in size was tall enough to stick around and dominate the proceedings to craft a gutsy 61run knock which provide a substantial first-innings lead of 146 that made England struggle for the second time in the game.

Jonathan Trott (49) and Graeme Swann (39) in the end did try but Umar Gul, Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal sharing the wickets turned out to be more than a handful as wickets tumbled and defeat started to stare in the English faces.

Consistently pounding the batsmen with a mixture of short and full length deliveries, Gul looked a lot moreaggressive than he was in the first innings to reap a well-deserved fourwicket haul.

Rehman is not a mean bowler at all.

His three wickets gave the break that was desperately required and Saeed, like he did in the first innings and with a bit more turn off the track, kept the batsmen guessing to grab three more scalps, and thus claiming his second ten-wicket show in Tests.

If not for a cameo innings by Swann an innings defeat certainly would have been the ultimate before they went past Pakistan to make them bat again.

The formality of reaching the target took only 3.4 overs for Pakistan to take a cherished 1-0 lead in the series before they face England again in the second Test at Abu Dhabi.


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Comments (6) Closed

Hemant Jan 20, 2012 12:40pm
Compare this with India's performance in England and Australia.
saeedodhano1@yahoo.c Jan 20, 2012 12:59pm
this tremendous victory is just a tonic to our highly passionate nation specially after that mean scandal of aamir asif and salman high tribute to misbah and his men specially saeed my namesaeke and fellow from my favourite city faisalabad
zahid Jan 20, 2012 02:10pm
This should be compared to England's visit to India. This is Pakistan's 'home' ground, so to say. Nevertheless, it was a great performance by Pakistan. I hope that they continue this trend for the remaining matches.
Munir A saeed Jan 20, 2012 03:30pm
Dear Hemant, playing in Australia is equally as challenging for teams of subcontinent, as is playing in India/Pak for these Goras. Indian team is star studded, at times over experienced, and over burdened with playing commercially attractive twenty20. India should give rest to some of seniors and enable juniors to learn from their company. After winning the world cup, India should be rebuilding the team to defend their cup in four years. India has always struggled to find genuine fast ballers. the management should give special attention to it. India always had good spinners but finding real pacers has been a chellange. They will bounce back ultimately
M. Asghar Jan 20, 2012 05:26pm
For goodness, do not be carried away by this first test win. Keep cool and determinedly focussed for the coming games, because the rivals will try to play a lot tricks to destabilise the players.
Tariq K Sami Jan 21, 2012 04:16am
A few important points: Cheema had beaten Strauss at least thrice in his first spell. Abdur Rahman kept such a tight line and length evident by his spell when he conceeded only 5 runs in 8 overs at one stage. Asad Shafiq held 2 catches and if you add 25 runs per catch that would make his contribution 50 runs (plus his 16 runs)in the 2nd innings. Akmals 4 catches=100 runs ,plus his 61 runs that's =161 runs. Next match give Gul and Cheema some rest and play Wahab and Junaid. Maybe drop Ali and play Umar Akmal (unless Misbah feels that playing 2 Akmal's is too much of a good thing.