Pakistan v England 2012 January 19, 2012

Saeed Ajmal lifts Pakistani hearts

Never in the field of cricket conflict have so many enjoyed a match played before so few. Pakistan's thumping victory in Dubai was accompanied by shrill cries of glory that echoed around a near-empty stadium

Never in the field of cricket conflict have so many enjoyed a match played before so few. Pakistan's thumping victory in Dubai was accompanied by shrill cries of glory that echoed around a near-empty stadium, but it was also greeted with a torrent of exultant tweets and status updates that rang out around the world.

This was the examination of Pakistan's progress that was anxiously awaited, a bout with the world's No.1 Test team, a tussle that might expose the illusion of Pakistan's cricketing resurrection. Instead, Misbah-ul-Haq's team moved their supporters a few steps closer to heavenly rapture.

England were disappointing, a batting performance unworthy of their status. But Pakistan have also made Sri Lanka look miserable here, and perhaps there is more substance to this revival than could have been hoped for? With Saeed Ajmal in such mesmeric form and Misbah's leadership more impresive by the day, Pakistan are capable of turning their Middle East abode into as much of a fortress as Karachi once was. On this evidence, Pakistan can be a power again in Test cricket and the world game will be better for it.

Ajmal was the master of mind games and ball control, unafraid to toss the ball up, confident in his variations. England played to Misbah's masterplan - he prefers to bowl first in such conditions - and Ajmal's wrists and fingers worked their magic. His elbows, meanwhile, extracted some unfair disgruntlement from an English commentator or two, despite the ICC declaring his doosra a legal delivery. A verdict on the legality of long sleeves is eagerly awaited.

To his credit, Matt Prior made no fuss about Ajmal's bowling action, after hitting England's best score, exposing the miserable effort of his colleagues. England's batsmen were collectively poor, a sharp contrast to Pakistan's excellent team bowling effort, Umar Gul and Abdur Rehman playing crucial supporting roles on the final day.

Where England were unreliable, Pakistan batted with solidity. They lacked a big innings that would have made England's task even tougher but it was a team batting display enriched by Adnan Akmal's pluckiness in the lower order. Pakistan's batsmen have replaced extravagence and brittleness with grit and consistency, and it is a formula that has allowed their match-winning bowlers to attack and Misbah to rule with an effortless and incisive calm.

England are far from done in this series, as their second-day bowling underlined. But the first match after that shameful day at Lord's in 2010 was always going to carry a thrilling significance for players and spectators of both teams, Pakistan's in particular. Team Misbah's stylish victory has restated that precious ability of sport to cleanse sins and lift hearts. For its manner and its poignancy, Pakistan's ten-wicket triumph will rank among the greatest in its gripping cricket history.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanedlive on February 6, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    What is more troublesome for England; a defeat or a defeats within 4 days, none of the test match saw the 5th day sun.. 1st test was over in 3 days with England defeated, 2nd test was over on 4th day with England defeated and 3rd test was over on 4th Day as well with same result, England defeated (World #1 Test team defeated 3-0) Pakistan..

    Proud to be a Pakistani and a its supporter.

  • fanedlive on January 29, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    @AfridiFan_MUFC: Adnan Akmal the "Teesra" of Akmal family? Loved that germ lol. He is the only Akmal I can't hate.

  • fanedlive on January 27, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    @Kamran Abbasi: I truly appreciate your each and every single word. I am an Indian, Cricket is my craze, so no grudge for Pakistan Cricket Team..

    Saeed Ajmal & other boys really made massive efforts to gain the victory and Mibah did superb piece of captaincy. I cherish the joy of victory for the young blooded and high confident Pakistani players.

    They brought smile and happiness on the faces of many Pakistani people & not just whole Pakistan would be proud of their national team's victory, but I truly believe that millions of Pakistani Cricket fans across the globe must have enjoyed watching these players playing the game with such a high-spirit.

    Cheers for your blog!!! Nicely written...

  • fanedlive on January 27, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Pak has always been saved by its bowling performances rather than batting. Our bowlers have earned many victories even on foreign soil.Pak is not afraid of giving chances to new bowlers rather than new batsmen. It was expected & the production/induction of new quality bowlers has cotinued since long.What needs to be addressed is our batting. Talent hunt scemes should be launched to discover young talent. Azhar is 1 of them. We need more such confident batsmen, to support our batting because only bowlers cannot give you victories all the time. Look at India,their batting power house just melted against Eng & Aus.

  • fanedlive on January 27, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Younus Khan should definitely retire, he has the technique of a club cricketer and isnt suited to international cricket. The problem is who will take his place as pakistan is thin on batting talent. Umar Akmal has skill but no temprament. I see Pakistani batsmen celebrate their 50's like your supposed to celebrate a 100 maybe because they know they dont have the patience to hang around till 100. Until this mindset changes pakistan will always only show promise nothing else.

  • fanedlive on January 26, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    @ Nawaz Janjua: Mohammad Yousuf put the roadblocks in his career himself. He has too many restrictions and limitations when it comes to playing for the country. Just recently, he was denied inclusion in a county team because he wanted to take a month off for Ramadhan. When you sign a contract, you're under obligation to be available and perform when you are required. If because of your obligations, you are not able to fast for a few days out of the month, you can make up for those fasts later. When you take a job and then you don't perform fully, then you are stealing by not working for your money, and that is also a sin.

  • fanedlive on January 24, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Hi everyone want pakistan team to be united wat about as nation we ever going To be united

  • fanedlive on January 23, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Pakistan have a tendency to get complacent, if that happens in the second test you can kiss the series goodbye, a good team would got for the kill and not rely on the third test.

  • fanedlive on January 23, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    Dear Kamran, Your good article seems to deliver the right appreciation to Pak Team members and for whole of Pakistan. I have to ask you only one question. WHAT ABOUT Mohammad Yousuf? Why is he out of the game? Is it politics or the usual PCB stubborness? Yousuf is still fit, playing county cricket successfully and he can surely manage 2/3 years of test cricket. Do you think he would be included in the Pak Test team? Arn't we losing a class player once again very early in his top form? Why can't we give our legend players a respectful retirement? If the same will happen to Younus Khan & Misbahul Haq later? Please write about this. We are awaiting your article. Thanks for the consideration.

  • fanedlive on January 23, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    my only reservation about Pakistan is their batting, they still need a lot of experience in the middle. But Pakistani boys did wonderfully well at Dubai despite all odds against them,this is a great news for future of cricket here. English team feel prey to arrogance, over confidence and No 1 position tag. Misbah,s team won because of humility, hardwork and team's dependence on raw talent. Hats off to u young Pakistani cubs who tamed the English lion so easily!

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