England v Pakistan, 3rd npower Test, The Oval, 4th day

Juggled catches and Amir's youthful landmark

Andrew Miller at The Oval

August 21, 2010

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

Unbounded joy for Mohammad Amir after he wrapped up England's innings to collect career-best figures, England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, The Oval, August 21, 2010
Mohammad Amir collected his fifth wicket this morning to record career-best figures © Getty Images
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Omen of the day
A target of 148 would be a formality for most teams. Not for Pakistan, who have already been bowled out for 80 and 72 in the series to date, and who shed seven wickets in pursuit of 180 against Australia at Headingley last month. So when Yasir Hameed, whose belligerent 36 had been invaluable in the first innings, was snaffled at slip for a first-ball duck, the visiting dressing-room had every reason to worry. The moment, however, was so nearly lost. Graeme Swann at second slip has been under the weather in this match, but he reacted with impressive sharpness after fumbling his initial take off James Anderson. As with Andrew Strauss at Trent Bridge, the chance was plummeting to earth before he stooped forward to rescue it.

Buttress of the day
Since assuming the captaincy in chaotic circumstances at Lord's back in July, Salman Butt has led from the front in every way except the most obvious. His calm demeanour has not been able to mask a tally of 16 runs in the first four innings against England, and though he exceeded that in his first-innings 17, he was still under immense pressure as he walked out to replace Hameed in that first over of the innings. Credit where it is due, then, for a forceful and vital performance. Though he fell short of a deserved fifty, Butt's battling approach drew the early sting of England's previously formidable seam attack, before two volleys of strokeplay - 10 runs in an over off Steven Finn and 12 off Stuart Broad - accounted for a sixth of the target there and then.

Delivery of the day
Though Butt fell with 45 still required, while Mohammad Yousuf was in situ, everything was under control for Pakistan. England's tactic of bowling wide to make him chase the game failed to take into account both his immense temperament and his deft eye for an opportunity, as he ignored all offerings from the seamers while dabbing the slightest width from Graeme Swann through third man for four. But then, out of the blue, Anderson re-evaluated his tactics and produced a thunderbolt to transform the closing stages of the contest. A pearling outswinging yorker uprooted Yousuf's off stump, and suddenly Pakistan's cakewalk was reduced to a scrounge for crumbs.

Incisor of the day
With their pacemen off the mark until Anderson's late onslaught, England's only option was to rely on the wiles of Swann, and with his habitual sense of purpose he did his best not to disappoint. In his fourth over, he pinned Imran Farhat lbw for 33, then he did for Butt via a low nick to slip, before handing Kamran Akmal his third duck in four innings courtesy of a no-stroke lbw. In between whiles, he skilfully deflected a shy from point onto the stumps to run out Azhar Ali. Had he been given as little as 30 more runs to play with, he might well have had the wherewithal to tighten the noose even further. But England made their own bed by losing their last seven wickets for 28. Not even Swann could overcome that sort of meltdown.

Landmark of the day
Mohammad Amir did the bulk of his damage in a blistering hour after tea on the third day, but in the space of four balls on the fourth and final morning he showed that a good night's sleep hadn't interrupted his rhythm one jot. A single to Steven Finn was as good as it got for England, as Amir banged in a short ball to the belligerent Stuart Broad, who swished a looping catch to Mohammad Asif. The dismissal completed a richly deserved five-for for Amir, and a notable one as well. Only three teenagers have taken a five-wicket haul in a Test in England, and at 18 years and 130 days, he is the youngest of the lot.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

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Posted by rockon16 on (August 23, 2010, 10:07 GMT)

wow cant believe amir is in top 20 bowling rankings in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mashallah ........we did so well in oval test we will win the lords test & draw the series .. inshallah

Posted by irfanwasim on (August 23, 2010, 1:53 GMT)

It doesnt matter if we we fail in one league match Inshaallah we will win the final in srilanka you can see it by your jealous eyes in few days. In Asia cup also we lost the league match and defeated srilanka in finals.

Posted by AhmadSaleem on (August 22, 2010, 21:26 GMT)

Well Irfanwasim just enjoy your team`s disastrous performance in Srilanka and kindly send a club team of bombay there so that they might beat Newzealand. I m sure those clubs would have better batsmen than Raina, Sharma, Karthik, Kohli, Tiwary and Jadeja. Not to mention your pathetic bowling

Posted by irfanwasim on (August 22, 2010, 20:37 GMT)

I am surprised to see the comments made by pakistani fans for the small win. I think its quite natural you win once in a blue moon and dont compare with india. our club teams of bombay can beat pakistan. Anyway you had a very disasterous tour makings runs like 72, 80, 85. This win came by fluke because of first days condition. Pakistan is not capable to beat even zimbabwe. Shame to all.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2010, 19:18 GMT)

@ ahmadii: WOW!!! more evidence of Pakistani whining. The pitch was flat? thanks for that info.. I don't think any of the batsman really realized that, with scores of 233 and 222, I don't think the English realized that either. On your critique of Yousuf in small chases, I take it that in the games you mentioned, he wasn't the only batsman in the team. He was bowled by a great delivery, really, you are going to criticize players for getting out to great balls? How long have you watched this game? Azhar Ali committed suicide, it was his call. (please don't continue.)

Posted by ahmadii on (August 22, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

A great victory ! Congrats to all. One thing I want to analyze here.We had lost matches collapsing on 117(chasing 168),218(chasing 251 vs NZ),139(chasing 176 vs Aus) in all the last three series.In all these matches we had the services of Yousaf.Here he scored 56, remember this is a flat track and 33 when he was required to stay for a victory after being involved in getting run precious Azhar out.With this 89 runs in the match, he has proved his inclusion justified.I wish he would have played in the previous test(s).Would he had not been in the team and any other Batsman ( Amin for that matter) would also have scored runs here.His persistent failures in the modest run chases is the witness of his selfish game and I bet he can be replaced by any batsman.Moreover, who can forget that Pakistan won against Aus by chasing 180 ( comfortably as 7th wicket fell at scores were levelled) wshich he failed to do at Sydney and many other occasions.( To be continued )

Posted by PAK-92 on (August 21, 2010, 23:49 GMT)

Well done Pakistan on a much deserved victory against England. Amir was sublime in the 2nd innings and deserved the man of the match. It was a great performance allround by Pakistan. The next test series will be in the UAE against South Africa and its worth reminding we will be one great bowler short. Asif is not allowed in UAE and Gul could still be injured. So i think the PCB should call the 7 foot left-arm fast, Mohammad Irfan in the team as he looks like a great talent. He has had a great first-class career so far and with his height, he would be a great asset and attack against any team in the world. Asif is a line and length bowler that can take wickets but there is no one in pakistan that can replace him in that resect. so pakistan need to play their trump card which is Mohammad Irfan. Also the batting line up needs a change. Farhat and Hameed need to go inplace of Fawad Alam and Younis Khan. Good luck Pakistan at Lords where you can draw the series!

Posted by Cricket_my_Heartbeat on (August 21, 2010, 20:18 GMT)

Well done Pakistan! and many congrants to Amir on achieving this landmark. Pak batting line collapsed once again but a good test match it was to watch.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2010, 19:15 GMT)

@ MaarifSohail: Thank you for that brief introduction to the wonderful, all-weather Pakistani ungrateful whine... whine when you win, whine when you lose. Always the same... Umar played a very good 35, ran himself out, but in the end played a good innings, plus in the second he guided Pakistan home from a precarious position. Kamran held ALL his chances... very few wicket keepers, good or bad, have this kind of unblemished Test match. You suggest 11 bowlers after Pakistan's best batting performance all summer... like I said, thank you.

Posted by PAK-92 on (August 21, 2010, 17:57 GMT)

Well done Pakistan on a much deserved victory against England. Amir was sublime in the 2nd innings and deserved the man of the match. It was a great performance allround by Pakistan. The next test series will be in the UAE against South Africa and its worth reminding we will be one great bowler short. Asif is not allowed in UAE and Gul could still be injured. So i think the PCB should call the 7 foot left-arm fast, Mohammad Irfan in the team as he looks like a great talent. He has had a great first-class career so far and with his height, he would be a great asset and attack against any team in the world. Asif is a line and length bowler that can take wickets but there is no one in pakistan that can replace him in that resect. so pakistan need to play their trump card which is Mohammad Irfan. Also the batting line up needs a change. Farhat and Hameed need to go inplace of Fawad Alam and Younis Khan. Good luck Pakistan at Lords where you can draw the series!

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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