England v Pakistan, 2nd npower Test, Edgbaston, 3rd day August 8, 2010

Inspiring Zulqarnain gives Pakistan belief

He was on a king pair and without technology would have gone down in the record books for the wrong reasons, but Pakistan's debutant keeper turned into a hero
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Belief. Goddamn belief. Where have you been hiding all this while? Pakistan might well ask that question after a day in which Zulqarnain Haider, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Amir played like the most cocksure men in the world. They showed the necessary arrogance to stand up to England, and coupled that with a self-confidence that irritated, frustrated and exhausted in equal measure. By the close Pakistan had done the unthinkable: they had batted a whole day for the first time this summer.

It would have been ridiculous to entertain such a notion in the morning. The other prediction - that Graeme Swann would bowl rather more than his series quota of two overs - came to fruition fast and quick as the best offspinner of the moment deceived Pakistan's specialist batsmen with stunning flight and turn. By lunch, Salman Butt was already pondering what new reasons he could offer for another shameful fold-up. Once again the young and old in the Pakistan top- and middle-order had played aimlessly, flopping into a discarded heap like dirty laundry.

But then came Zulqarnain and Co. who refused to be hung out to dry on the line. After technology spared him the ignominy of a king pair on debut, Zulqarnain steeled himself for whatever England could threw at him for the rest of the afternoon. And let's not fool ourselves. The real story wasn't about how he rose above his debutant nerves. The real story was of how he lorded it over England's bowling. Along with Amir for the 90-odd minutes after lunch, and the next couple of hours in the company of Ajmal, he forced Strauss into a complete re-think of his tactics.

Remember England had one foot squarely on Pakistan's throat already. So something extraordinary was needed to get them off the canvas. But Zulqarnain did something clever. He sensed the bowlers were attacking him but he needed to get back on top. Against Swann he took guard slightly outside leg stump to take lbw out of the equation, as Swann attacked his pads from around the stumps. At other times he was seen walking up the pitch a few yards to face down James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Nothing dents a fast bowler's ego more than a batsman charging him with such impudence. Both gave him a 'don't-you-dare-do-that' stare immediately. He out-stared them.

Even Strauss, at first slip, was rattled. What helped Zulqarnain was Amir's dead-batted defiance at the other end. And whenever Zulqarnain tried to do something silly, it was the 18-year-old Amir who slapped him on his wrists. Ajmal did the same later. Like a nagging pair of parents, the duo protected the newcomer from getting carried away. The three amigos understood patience was key and the only way to push back the enemy.

The other aim was to tire the opposition and make them do things that they would not normally attempt. Like placing two fielders in the deep behind square as Steve Finn mechanically tried to knock Ajmal's block off with bouncers but ended up wasting them. It proved to be a futile tactic as Ajmal grew confident and even notched his own maiden half-century.

Zulqarnian said later he was playing with the psyche of his opponents. It was working. Naively Broad threw back a ball in disgust at him, and earned himself a date with the match referee. Anderson was chirping constantly at the Pakistan wicketkeeper from mid-on, but was just wasting his breath. At times when the situation got out of hand, the Pakistanis were not afraid to have a go at the hosts. Ajmal was seen walking up towards Strauss, asking the England captain to mind his own business. Strauss walked, head down, towards the other end.

Situations such as today's are when a cricketer reveals his character. Zulqarnain, who was picked ahead of Kamran Akmal, could not properly celebrate his debut because his father was in a coma in hospital after contracting Hepatitis C. Syed Raza Haider only regained consciousness on the day the tour selectors picked his son in the team for the second Test. But today the senior Haider watched his son's stoic battle with the English from the hospital bed on TV. He would've been proud of Zulqarnain keeping his head high throughout.

It was double joy for Zulqarnain as the four that got him his maiden fifty also took Pakistan past England and put them into the lead. A more important stat came at the end of the day. In their last 15 Tests over the last two years, Pakistan have batted for 100-plus overs in an innings only five times. It is a damning indictment of their ever-failing top-order. But by the end of the day Pakistan had batted for more overs than in any other Test in 2010.

All three of their lower-order batsmen showed a distinct quality which was sorely missing from the specialists: Zulqarnain, Amir and Ajmal showed the hunger to stay at the crease. They took the blows, the opposition taunts, and battled the pitch and the conditions with a poker face permanently in place. England hated being dominated in such a manner.

"Frustrations arise from the fact that all through the series we have taken wickets at regular intervals and very quick and very easily almost. So when two guys apply themselves that is when our standards drop. But all credit to Pakistan," Swann said of Pakistan's fightback. He even admitted that watching his opposite number Ajmal get his half-century gave "perverse pleasure".

Butt, grim faced on the previous evening, was all smiles today and said he and the other batsmen has a lot to learn from the lower-order today. "It is remarkable the way he played," he said of Zulqarnain. "And he has shown us all that if you are willing to stay there and take the pain there is surely gain."

For the first time this series, Pakistan played proper Test cricket today. They tested England's patience and came out on top. Pakistan might not win the Test, but this particular battle belonged entirely to them.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 9, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    For a change Pakistan now have a batsman in Haider and a wicket keeper instead of goal keeper

  • Faisal_Iqbal on August 9, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Quoting Mr. Miller, "Pakistan's chances of fightback in this match are as small as Zlqarnain's current Test average". I guess Zulqarnain read your column. loll!!!

  • kzia on August 9, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I am really impressed with this new guy Zulqarnain, good batting and also see some natural instincts in this wicket keeping which I believe will improve once he gets more confidence. His batting has also shown to top order that don't frustrate once you miss few swinging deliveries and play on your own condition. Test match is that you defend bowlers good deliveries and force him to bowl on your strength. Make them tired and runs will always be on offer once you stay on wicket. Good luck to this guy and also to Kamran Akmal to improve his batting and keeping and create a healthy competition in the team like Moeen and Rashid Lateed used to have. Overall some competition shown by Pakistan and hope they will improve in next matches. On the other note, I still believe that they should bring in Younis Khan back in tests and make a combination of young and experience, otherwise young guys will lose their confidence with such defeats.

  • East_West on August 9, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    Good for Pakistan that they found Zulquarnain in place of Kamran! Hope Umar K is not disgruntled that his bro is not in the team [Umar is struglling OR is it?]. Having said that, it is pathetic to see STUART BOARD got away with less penalty! Is this because his dad is in the higher ranks?? Stuart needs a reality check..just llike Indian YUVI! What if some sub-contient players does the same tantrum on an English/Aussie player? Do you think he will face with the same fine????

  • VipulPatki on August 9, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    Hats off To Zulqernain and Aamer! what application and determination shown by these two. Whatever the result of this test match, their performance would have certainly given a lot of hope to the Pakistani team. Aamer already must be among the top five all-rounders around.

  • SHAHILLL on August 9, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    I like the way of fighting spirit by Zulqairnain, Amir & Ajmal.It does't metter whether they are going to lose .Pakistan has found the Good Batsman Wicket Keeper,The way low orders played at least Now,Top orders has shamed themselves...Selection Board and Coaches must be back cricketers like Zulqarnain , Ajmal. As Fan of Cricket, I must say that remove such player like Shoiab Malik, Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat,Believe me, that if i could imagine captaincy of Legend Imran Khan then I'm sure that these BAKWAAS Cricketers has been disappeared. Kamran thinks as he is Adam Gilcrist (Wearing the glasses & standing behind wicket is not way of Adam) .Dear Malik Shab Dont you think that you should change your professional ....Better Participate is Men/Women Double In Tennis with Wife (Sania Mirza). Oh Farhat, How is your Head ? So sad !!!!!! I heared that you are British Citizen....then Please for God shake Leave Pakistan Team and find out place in english county. I'm sorry but KYA KAREY ?

  • KiwiRocker- on August 9, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Absolutely agree with everything written. In recent times Pakistan has been missing the customary fight that had made Pakistani cricket team of pasts to win from near death situations. Zulqarnain has proven to be a MAN among the boy. Superb innings. He not only outscored every English batsman but he also out psyched them. He has touches of Javed Miandad..A brual shrewed fighter... Zulqarnain also had a decent wicket keeping stint..Actually excellent compared to Kamran Akmal. Lets do not forget amazing effort of Saeed Ajmal. It is a time to get rid of dead wood such as Imran Farhat and Shoib Mailk. These pretenders do not desrve a place. Kamran Akmal should never again play for Pakistan. He has given pain and misry to entire nation. Imagine if Pakistan could have won Sydney test. While Umar Akmal is over rated and should also be dropped. It is time to bring back Yousaf, Younis, Yasir, Asim Kamal and Khurram Manzoor…! Future is bright! This failure will see seeds for long term harvest.

  • dmqi on August 9, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    "and he has shown us all that if you are willing to stay there and take the pain there is gain"- Pak captain. My question to you, "did Mohammad yousuf and Mohammad Younus not shown you in 20-30 tests you played together that you have to stay in the crease? Why do you need to learn that after so many tests?

  • mriaz on August 9, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    surely Salamn will come out with some more excuses for his failure, seniors and junior's failure. His statement "give guys some thime" should extend "give 4-5 years to me , my seniors and juniors" to establish. we all are talented bunch. shame on him making these remarks and illusioning all of the failures of all bats including himself. Atleast now he should pick the proven players with some fresh legs to lead this kind of fightback.Salman show your love for your country. pick yousuf and yasir. drop malik and Umar akmal, if you want to give amin and azhar more chances.Malik is just a waste and Umar should be sitting out to see what test cricket is all about.Let him play 40-50 oneday matches them include him in test. Look what indis does. they played Yuvi and Raina for almost 100 matches before they found the temperament of test cricket.Umar is good talent but only for onedayers as he gets aay with his risky shots in that type of fielding format. Boths changed Kamran and Kaneria worked.

  • on August 9, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    I think Broad should have been banned atleast for one test match.

  • on August 9, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    For a change Pakistan now have a batsman in Haider and a wicket keeper instead of goal keeper

  • Faisal_Iqbal on August 9, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Quoting Mr. Miller, "Pakistan's chances of fightback in this match are as small as Zlqarnain's current Test average". I guess Zulqarnain read your column. loll!!!

  • kzia on August 9, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I am really impressed with this new guy Zulqarnain, good batting and also see some natural instincts in this wicket keeping which I believe will improve once he gets more confidence. His batting has also shown to top order that don't frustrate once you miss few swinging deliveries and play on your own condition. Test match is that you defend bowlers good deliveries and force him to bowl on your strength. Make them tired and runs will always be on offer once you stay on wicket. Good luck to this guy and also to Kamran Akmal to improve his batting and keeping and create a healthy competition in the team like Moeen and Rashid Lateed used to have. Overall some competition shown by Pakistan and hope they will improve in next matches. On the other note, I still believe that they should bring in Younis Khan back in tests and make a combination of young and experience, otherwise young guys will lose their confidence with such defeats.

  • East_West on August 9, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    Good for Pakistan that they found Zulquarnain in place of Kamran! Hope Umar K is not disgruntled that his bro is not in the team [Umar is struglling OR is it?]. Having said that, it is pathetic to see STUART BOARD got away with less penalty! Is this because his dad is in the higher ranks?? Stuart needs a reality check..just llike Indian YUVI! What if some sub-contient players does the same tantrum on an English/Aussie player? Do you think he will face with the same fine????

  • VipulPatki on August 9, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    Hats off To Zulqernain and Aamer! what application and determination shown by these two. Whatever the result of this test match, their performance would have certainly given a lot of hope to the Pakistani team. Aamer already must be among the top five all-rounders around.

  • SHAHILLL on August 9, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    I like the way of fighting spirit by Zulqairnain, Amir & Ajmal.It does't metter whether they are going to lose .Pakistan has found the Good Batsman Wicket Keeper,The way low orders played at least Now,Top orders has shamed themselves...Selection Board and Coaches must be back cricketers like Zulqarnain , Ajmal. As Fan of Cricket, I must say that remove such player like Shoiab Malik, Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat,Believe me, that if i could imagine captaincy of Legend Imran Khan then I'm sure that these BAKWAAS Cricketers has been disappeared. Kamran thinks as he is Adam Gilcrist (Wearing the glasses & standing behind wicket is not way of Adam) .Dear Malik Shab Dont you think that you should change your professional ....Better Participate is Men/Women Double In Tennis with Wife (Sania Mirza). Oh Farhat, How is your Head ? So sad !!!!!! I heared that you are British Citizen....then Please for God shake Leave Pakistan Team and find out place in english county. I'm sorry but KYA KAREY ?

  • KiwiRocker- on August 9, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Absolutely agree with everything written. In recent times Pakistan has been missing the customary fight that had made Pakistani cricket team of pasts to win from near death situations. Zulqarnain has proven to be a MAN among the boy. Superb innings. He not only outscored every English batsman but he also out psyched them. He has touches of Javed Miandad..A brual shrewed fighter... Zulqarnain also had a decent wicket keeping stint..Actually excellent compared to Kamran Akmal. Lets do not forget amazing effort of Saeed Ajmal. It is a time to get rid of dead wood such as Imran Farhat and Shoib Mailk. These pretenders do not desrve a place. Kamran Akmal should never again play for Pakistan. He has given pain and misry to entire nation. Imagine if Pakistan could have won Sydney test. While Umar Akmal is over rated and should also be dropped. It is time to bring back Yousaf, Younis, Yasir, Asim Kamal and Khurram Manzoor…! Future is bright! This failure will see seeds for long term harvest.

  • dmqi on August 9, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    "and he has shown us all that if you are willing to stay there and take the pain there is gain"- Pak captain. My question to you, "did Mohammad yousuf and Mohammad Younus not shown you in 20-30 tests you played together that you have to stay in the crease? Why do you need to learn that after so many tests?

  • mriaz on August 9, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    surely Salamn will come out with some more excuses for his failure, seniors and junior's failure. His statement "give guys some thime" should extend "give 4-5 years to me , my seniors and juniors" to establish. we all are talented bunch. shame on him making these remarks and illusioning all of the failures of all bats including himself. Atleast now he should pick the proven players with some fresh legs to lead this kind of fightback.Salman show your love for your country. pick yousuf and yasir. drop malik and Umar akmal, if you want to give amin and azhar more chances.Malik is just a waste and Umar should be sitting out to see what test cricket is all about.Let him play 40-50 oneday matches them include him in test. Look what indis does. they played Yuvi and Raina for almost 100 matches before they found the temperament of test cricket.Umar is good talent but only for onedayers as he gets aay with his risky shots in that type of fielding format. Boths changed Kamran and Kaneria worked.

  • on August 9, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    I think Broad should have been banned atleast for one test match.

  • on August 9, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Pakistan desperately need some die-hard,determined and committed cricketer like zulqarnain. Dont need some so-called talented bunch of lethargic and sluggish young lads who scare to recieve blows and stand up against attack. The whole team lacks the spirit to fight.The shoddy and dismal batsmen have always wasted and made a trash of all good deeds and ground prepared by the bowlers. The so-called specialist batsmen must re-invent and redeem themselves, or else they should leave and do anything other then putting on test caps.

  • on August 9, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    I believe in the Pakistani team. The two crucial partnerships (Aamir & Zulqarnain - Ajmal & Zulqarnain) prove two things 1) The conditions in these matches heavily affect the outcome of batting/bowling 2) The England batting order is not miles above that of Pakistan. The difference arises between the quality of fielding shown by each side.

    I'm not justifying the dramatic collapse of Pakistan in the first innings, just merely pointing out that under these variable conditions, it is very hard to judge the batting potential of a blossoming team.

    I personally think that the return of Muhammad Yousaf/Younis Khan should benefit the team experience wise, the youngsters should learn and build from the test experts instead of heavily relying on them for a decent total.

  • amit1807kuwait on August 9, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    An article which almost unnecessarily deifies a newcomer. Frankly, English bowling yesterday lacked bite, and was not good enough to dismiss Pakistan. And Stuart Broad continues with his petulant ways!!

  • owaisvirani on August 9, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    The best thing from all this will be if the upper order learns from the lower order and apply themselves in the next tests. Pakistan team always take lots of points from their confidence which was below freezing point before this innings from Zulqarnain, Aamir and Ajmal. Pakistan may loose this match and if conditions and fielders favour the bowlers their is a chance that this match can get exciting.

  • TurboKam512 on August 9, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Thank you very Nagraj Gollapudi, That was a fab read and a sigh of relief and i have to agree about every word that you have written is so true....Well done Zulqarnain Haidar , Ameer , Ajmal and now Gul & Asif are attacking and getting these probably winning runs if they miracolously do win. perhaps the actual batsmen SHOULD learn from all this but its once a while too many for them so i believe it will not make any difference to the squad batsmen...we need to figure out a new set of 6 batsmen and yes again Younis Khan deserves a place as captain in this sorry bunch of batsmen... my team would have :

    Yasir Hameed Toufiq Umar Younis Khan Zulqarnain Haidar Hammad Azam Azhar Ali Umar Akmal Mohammad Ameer Saeed Ajmal Mohammad Asif Umar Gul

    While the 12th man can be Umar Amin..

    England are good but that gives no reason for any team to be scared and wetting their pants everytime they come out to play cricket... I just hope the PCB rethinks & puts in GUTSY players.......

  • haxy on August 9, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    oh .. a day before people were commenting more on his personal life rather his cricket & most of them were disappointed with his keeping ... what a perfect reply to all by this young man ... what a cool customer he was ... never got irritated with any of the british instincts .... very solid in his technique ... defending his off stump & thats it ... i really wished if he could have gone past 100 to fulfil his mom wishes & promises ... if Gul & Asif can put another 50 runs by anymeans ... i think it would not be that bad if we start comparting the match with Sydney disaster ... but still its going to be a nervy chase for sure ... Keep ur heads up guys & all the best

  • synergy on August 9, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    "BAHUT BARA AALOO RAKH DIYA AKMAL PER", this is what Zulqarnain has done, His innings deserves all praise. The guy is fighter and really faught hard, he is here to stay. We must give credit to Waqar for showing faith and confidance in youngsters who have really shown spark all we nee now is to groom. Pakistan should now try to groom replacements for each player and adopt a rotation policy as well. This is the only way we can snub the player power in pakistan Cricket. For the next test we must also drop Malik (rather send him back al together) bringing in Yousuf and also try Yasir instead of Imran Farhat. I am a bit concerned about Gul's injury and pray that he is fit for the 3rd test, Ajmal too bowled very well, his inclusion has given sting to the spinning department thus making the over all bowling attack very effective. I think it is probably the best in the world when compared with the current attack of other teams. I am expecting a much improved performance in the 3rd Test.

  • on August 9, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Wish you best of luck Zulqi....I hope the confidence and spirit will prevail. "Staying on the wicket" is purpose of the test matches. I think the rest of the batsmen would have taken this lesson that they should stay on the wicket. This would undoubtedly boost the confidence of other team-mates and they will perform better in the next coming tests.

  • on August 9, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    he really brought pak out of a succession of shameful scenarios ...n guess what he bats like younis khan!!! btw well supported by amir n ajmal

  • FaisaLKarim on August 9, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    Very well written article Nagraj. One of your best accounts of the ebb and flow of a day in test match cricket.

  • shahzadd-malik on August 9, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Zulqarnain alongwith Aamir and Ajmal truly demonstrated to the consistently incompetent Pak top order (Don't deserve to be called Batsmen) that how to play TEST Cricket. Pakistan top order has descended to the level of BANGLADESH and warrants removal/ ban from play elite form of cricket (TEST), at the same time Bowling as always has ascended to the level of AUSSIES.But man, what a disgusting and disgracing display of FILEDING from the top order (Butt, Umar Amin, Akmal, Farhat). O Man, Not only they 'll disappoint utterly with their batting, they are unable to hold the simple of catches. Who can forget, how poor fielder WAQAR himself was, once he used to play, team is maintaining his standards. How he or even IJAZ 'll teach them the techniques of BATTING. Get in Yasir Hameed in for Umar Amin/ Shoaib Malik. Get in Asim Kamal, Taufeeq Umar, Asad Shafeeq pls and avoid disgracing nation and Utilize Miandad as Coach if at all PCB is paying him Lacs of salary........

  • sani007 on August 9, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    well this the bright side of hav8ng youth in ur side they are ambitious talented and fighters who r eager to prove all they need is alittle spark . and then world will know of true champions that PAKISTAN are this battle was just like the movie 300 . ....i pray and hope best 4 this team.!!!!!

  • on August 9, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    What an article! I am impressed. Pakistan will win this match. I am telling you. my 2 cents :)

  • cricpolitics on August 9, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    If Asif and Gul could add another 20 or so odd runs to the total and stay out there thirty to fouty five minutes England would lose 25% of this match already due to their dented spirits and frustration. At that point if Pak bowlers strike early and the fielders hold on to the catches, anything could happen. Everyone knows how England got to 251 in the first innings and how their last eight wickets fell for less than 50 runs.

  • on August 9, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    What a show of character by Zulqarnain... Amazing & something that should be a hallmark of a test wicketkeeper. It should turn the series inside out for Pakistan. Players like these define the team.

    None of the young players should be changed to make way for Yousaf. Umar Akmal or Shoaib Malik should be thrown out. This Pakistan team can go a long way & give Pakistan recognition in test cricket it deserves... "If persisted with".

  • DINESHCC on August 9, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    Nice Article. I am from India. But I support all Asian Teams. I can't agree with you that Pakistan might not win the test. Among with entire cricket playing nations, Pakistan is the only team which plays bottom level of cricket and top level of cricket. After the 354 run demolishing, they came back strongly here. That too by trailing 101/6 in the 2nd innings, 79 to avoid innings defeat, they scored a lead of 112 runs with tailenders. I can bet that if they take a lead of 150 plus, defintely they are going to win the test match. It can also be a world record that a team scored double digit total in 1st innings and win a test match.

  • on August 9, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    i think that kamran Akmal doesn't deserve the place for atleast 2 to 3 series in the squad after this performance. He should go and correct his technique and then try for comeback.

  • MOHAMMAAD-HOTWAREZ on August 9, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    he showed the right way how to bat in pressure nice innings by HAIDER

  • demon_bowler on August 9, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    What an utterly charming innings by the young wicket-keeper on debut! I understand he has had some personal misfortunes in his life, so it's good to see him have something to smile about. Well done, Zulqarnain!

  • sameenkhan on August 9, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    It was fascinating to see Zulqarnain Haider bat and the 18 year old Mohammad Amir amazed me. Where did he get his patience from? It was great to see Haider get his fifty, i was praying for him to get a hundred.... Can anyone guess what's happened to the experienced players the ones who have played before many time in England like shoaib malik wonder if he's doing it deliberately ?

  • SKK75 on August 9, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    You know being an indian, i have never supported pakistan in any game, but for the first time since the last australia series, i have pulled for this pakistani unit. i was glad when the beat the arrogant aussies with wonderful cricket and i definitely hope they win this test. Their bowler's approach to playing cricket is refreshing.

  • on August 9, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Hats off to Zulqarnain! I cried when he scored his maiden test 50! Bravo and way to go Pakistan. Kudos to Zulqarnain, Amir and Ajmal .. they are the spirit of cricket in Pakistan; fighting against all odds! Good luck!

  • on August 9, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    ZuLqaRna!n pRovEz 2 B an Owsum baTsmAn

  • a.s.r on August 9, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    These kind of fight backs makes me love PAKISTAN team even more than before. LOVE PAKISTAN.

  • Mantan on August 9, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    It was sooooo good to see some sense and fighting spirit in batting of Pakistan batsmen at last. I hope this will put some sense in top order specially Umar Akmal who is wasting his talent due to his immaturity.

  • on August 9, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    well played haider, i guess gul there now and what he can do a lead of 170 could well turn out to be a winnig total

  • on August 9, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    Hats off Zulqarnain, Amir and Ajmal, not forgetting Gul's commitment to come and battle the English attack with his hamstring and this fighting spirit is all we know about Pakistan cricket team!!!!!!!!!Well Done!!!!!!

  • rpt92rpt on August 9, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Hats off to the debutant Zulqarnain... great innings under pressure!

  • KarmatBaig on August 9, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    Well palyed Zulqarnain, atleast you have done everything right to show Kamran Akmal the door of Test cricket. Selectors can now pick another new wicketkeeper to deputise for Zulqarnain on tours abroad and forget Kamran at leatm for Test matches, he is more suited to T20 and that also for not too long.

  • on August 9, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Debutant zulqarnain has the message to the all batsman which threw their Wickets over England bowlers through out the series ,probably for the pakistan test cricket. He stand bravely against struass and his men tactics, really his inning give the sense that top 10 ranked batsman tryinh to get out of trouble his team. He deserved hundred, and also credit to ajmal to give him support to stand firmly . Many well wishes for his future and for his father health.

  • parimal_t on August 9, 2010, 3:26 GMT

    Asta La Vista.... Kamran....

  • Himayun on August 9, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    All the excuses of not having experience and youngsters in the team from Small Butt has been put to rest today. The most experienced players like Butt, Malik, Kamran, and likes failed miserably. The bowlers not just bowled remarkably but also batted with application and authority to put these "stars" to shame.

    It was an amazing sight to see Ajmal and the others taking blows after blows from the same English bowlers who have kicked Pakistan's Butts. This reminded me of previous Pakistani teams which had the fighting spirit.

    The way these tail enders played and blocked the chances of LBW and with new technique and determination, showed that there may be a new batting "coach" or an expert who has finally arrived!

    My hats off to the Pakistani youngsters and the bowlers. They may be physically roughed up but they are the men among boys. I love these young stars that made a match out of a total surrender by the "star batsmen".

    Himayun Mirza, USA

  • raveekoomar on August 9, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    Hmmm well wht can i say but tht barring the captain salman butt, hes the only person who seem to speak english welll like Imran khan does, the rest of batters, i mean professional batters as pakis call them should be replaced by full time bowlers of course, who seem to be the only one who are willing to play full cricket with both bat ball and fielding of course. In tht case imagine having 9 bowlers, i said earlier take off keeper and salman butt, would be a blessing in disguise and of course they can bat for atleast 30-40 runs each and tht would be a sane target which of course the bowlers would themselves defend to perverse levels tht it can be 9 threatening bowlers who can do the job hands down, wow wht a perverse way to win cricket. Batters suck from pakistan. Bring on the bowlers all of them who can bowl fresh tidy spells. Now am a pervert like anything hehehehehe.

  • aalhasankh on August 9, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    None of the top order Pakistani batsmen is worth his salt and worthy of a place in the team.Salman Butt is hellbent on proving right the saying :MAKE ME CAPTAIN AND DESTROY MY GAME.Shoaib Malik repeatedly showed the aftereffects of his recent marriage.Why can't Pakistani selectors do a better job?Catlike baring of teeth by the two Akmal brothers frightens only the viewers,not the English bowlers.

  • on August 9, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Hats off to the fighting spirit of Zulqarnain.He should be given a longrun atleast for next 10 test matches. Shoaib Malik should be dropped,Kamran akmal should replace him as a batting specialist.He is far more better batsman compared to him. Asim Kamal should be brought back,he is a defensive wall. Umar Akmal must go at No.3,to play more innings at the top and get some big hundreds to regain his confidence. Opening should be a RIGHT-LEFT combination,which can alter technic of fielding team. Yusuf should be in Pakistan team as a Batting Coach. Bowling department is best,needs no change.

    This is my view,pls comment on my suggestions.Im expecting.

  • badal on August 9, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    The way Zulqarnain played, put all those top order in to a big shame. May be Pakistan should open from the bottom. Have Gul and Amir open the innings, followed by Zulqarnail, just to show, these so called specialist batsmen , how to BAT.Why Shoaib Malik is still in the team, I would never know. Kick his behind so hard, that he would never ever come close to a Pakistani Cricket Camp. Yes, we might not win this test, but, at least some of them in this team showed the true colours. Wake up guys, it's never too late. Square up the series, and put a little bit of a smile on our sorrow and depressed nation, at this crucial moment of our trying time. The whole nation is praying for you, and many more across the globe, like me, from Canada.

  • Woody111 on August 9, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    Great viewing last night - well done Pakistan. Zulqarnain looks a little eccentric but there's nothing wrong with that. Broad showed his impetuousness and this cost England a run out. Strauss needs to control his players better - Broad's behaviour is childish and intolerable. Watching the lower order bat out time makes you wonder what's wrong with the top order. Umar Akmal carries himself like he's made several hundreds when he hasn't proved himself at all. Drop him and teach him a lesson that his spot should not be taken for granted.

  • on August 9, 2010, 1:22 GMT

    pakkistan can win.if they put 60 more runs on board

  • on August 9, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    Nagraj, i have thoroughly enjoyed this article. It so hard to believe that the tail can bat that way against the same English bowling attack that took us out for 72 in the first innings. If Gul can hit 65 not out, Ajmal can score a 50, Amir can stay at the crease for a 120 odd balls...then there is seriously something wrong about our top order...i am not even mentioning the debutant keeper because i am considering him a batsman.

  • on August 9, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    Fantastically weldone Zulqarnain,,,, He deserved a century but unfortunate enough not to get there ,,,,,,,,, but still a valuable and purposeful knock.......

  • MeAsFan on August 9, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    Well played Zulqarnain, Aamir and Saeed you show the fight sprit today & you people showed wh others have to do when they r batting. Good luck & best wishes to Zulqarnain for your bright future and finally pakistan captains and coach can think beside Kamran Akmal (he does not deserve the place in squard).

  • on August 9, 2010, 0:46 GMT

    Still the match is not over, If Australia can fall for 88 at Lords and Pakistan on two occasions under 100 in this series, it can be England too..... Lets Hope Pakistan can stretch the lead to 130 ~ 140 tomorrow morning we are i with a chance....

  • vismorkel on August 9, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    now thatz the attitude the pakistani teams had in the past which had disappeared alltogether.Aamir,haider & ajmal showed that attitude today,the top order has failed consitently for a long time now,they should be ashamed of calling themselves specialist batsmen..look how the bowlers & a debutant batted.Itz time they wake up & when it comes to fielding they r worse than a club team.I have never seen an international side field so pathetically,even school teams can field better...but one thing is for sure if majority of this team survives i.e if they become permanent fixtures in the side in the longer run,then they'll be surely become dangerous bcoz they are getting to learn international cricket in the hard way in alien conditions after being robbed of the luxury of home matches...but for that to happen they have to correct their attitude & start being positive & field atleast half decently...otherwise they might end up in trash...& looks like kamran & yuvi r goin thru similar problems.

  • on August 9, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Very well written article. Zulqarnain indeed proved that batting is something *prevailing in mind and playing mind games* with the opponents. Regardless of the entertainment and popularity factor of one day and twenty-20 cricket, test cricket remains the basic building block of any international player, regardless of his aggressive and defensive instinct. Well played Zulqarnain and Ajmal, you people have given a ray of hope of what seemed an inning defeat! I wish he is kept with the team in the shorter formats too, because this guy has got the brain and talent to do justice with his place in the international team.

  • Abaa on August 9, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    How on earth was Kamran Akmal in this team as a batsman? He scored two ducks in the last test (being a 'specialist' batsman) and dropped quite a few catches. The overall cost of having had him in the team is at least a 150 runs I think. Give 50 runs for what he should score in the match (come on scores of 25 & 25 is not much to ask from a 'specialist'batsman is it) and about a 100 runs in dropped catches (even that is a minimum). Absolutely no way should he ever be in the test team again after this new guy's heroics! I really hope they continuously give him chances and make him into a fully fledged keeper that can be relied on with the bat. Someone like an Ian Healy or a Mark Boucher hopefully. They weren't a Gilchrist or a Sangakkara with the bat but they were the best glove men of their times and that is what Pakistan badly needs! Hope the bowlers make a match out of this. But I don't really mind the result as it has really been an absolutely fantastic test match :o)

  • shahrukh.94 on August 9, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    THat's Something Which Was Missing In The Pakistani Test Team It's called Jasbah In Urdu and Enthusiasm In English. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD <3<3<3

  • on August 8, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    Awesome article Nagraj.....and hats off to Zulqarnain Haider...He was absolutely brilliant today.....determined and patient and classy at times....40 more runs by gull and asif tomorrow and who know what might happen??

  • clutch28 on August 8, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    Haider had fantastic stuff. As an England supporter i was growing very annoyed myself with his tactics but they worked brilliantly. He rattled the bowling attack so badly it was like watching a MMA bout in terms of the intensity of the glares out there. England forgot about line and length to ajmal and decided to bang him around and got hit for 50 from him alone. Ajmal is not a great batsman. Averging 7 in Tests prior. Rather then sticking to their guns and keeping him defensive, Haider's tactics made them get so rattled that everything went out the window. With a display like that why is Haider not batting at number 1? Pakistan could use that type of grit in the top order

  • on August 8, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    Nagraj, ur last words are worth to be written in gold. "For the first time this series, Pakistan played proper Test cricket today. They tested England's patience and came out on top. Pakistan might not win the Test, but this particular battle belonged entirely to them." How true.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 8, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    It was a good innings but at the end he couldn't bring pakistan in a wining position. He had been playing some shots in the air and it looked obvious that his time was near. Had he scored a 100 and may be a little more, could pakistan be standing as favourit to win the match. He had no need to play airy shots when he was no near to his hundred and pakistan was so near to gain a good lead. Anyways well done Zulqarnain, Said Ajmal and most of all Mohammad Aamer who is the one who has stayed longest at the crease for pakistan when you look at the balls faced in both innings.

  • lucyferr on August 8, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    "Both gave him a 'don't-you-dare-do-that' stare immediately. He out-stared them" ... that's a cool turn of phrase - reading about cricket is so much more fun than watching it :-) (PS: That ain't sarcasm.)

  • Pakipower786 on August 8, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    now bring back younis and yuosef and get rid of malik and Umar

  • Amaan2004 on August 8, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    You are right! pakistan might not win this test however trio's batting should be a wake up call for rest of the pakistani batting specially Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal. I was very please and excited to see a spinner (ajmal) got his self a half century:) Please ship kamran akmal back to pakistan:)

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  • Amaan2004 on August 8, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    You are right! pakistan might not win this test however trio's batting should be a wake up call for rest of the pakistani batting specially Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal. I was very please and excited to see a spinner (ajmal) got his self a half century:) Please ship kamran akmal back to pakistan:)

  • Pakipower786 on August 8, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    now bring back younis and yuosef and get rid of malik and Umar

  • lucyferr on August 8, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    "Both gave him a 'don't-you-dare-do-that' stare immediately. He out-stared them" ... that's a cool turn of phrase - reading about cricket is so much more fun than watching it :-) (PS: That ain't sarcasm.)

  • Zahidsaltin on August 8, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    It was a good innings but at the end he couldn't bring pakistan in a wining position. He had been playing some shots in the air and it looked obvious that his time was near. Had he scored a 100 and may be a little more, could pakistan be standing as favourit to win the match. He had no need to play airy shots when he was no near to his hundred and pakistan was so near to gain a good lead. Anyways well done Zulqarnain, Said Ajmal and most of all Mohammad Aamer who is the one who has stayed longest at the crease for pakistan when you look at the balls faced in both innings.

  • on August 8, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    Nagraj, ur last words are worth to be written in gold. "For the first time this series, Pakistan played proper Test cricket today. They tested England's patience and came out on top. Pakistan might not win the Test, but this particular battle belonged entirely to them." How true.

  • clutch28 on August 8, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    Haider had fantastic stuff. As an England supporter i was growing very annoyed myself with his tactics but they worked brilliantly. He rattled the bowling attack so badly it was like watching a MMA bout in terms of the intensity of the glares out there. England forgot about line and length to ajmal and decided to bang him around and got hit for 50 from him alone. Ajmal is not a great batsman. Averging 7 in Tests prior. Rather then sticking to their guns and keeping him defensive, Haider's tactics made them get so rattled that everything went out the window. With a display like that why is Haider not batting at number 1? Pakistan could use that type of grit in the top order

  • on August 8, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    Awesome article Nagraj.....and hats off to Zulqarnain Haider...He was absolutely brilliant today.....determined and patient and classy at times....40 more runs by gull and asif tomorrow and who know what might happen??

  • shahrukh.94 on August 9, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    THat's Something Which Was Missing In The Pakistani Test Team It's called Jasbah In Urdu and Enthusiasm In English. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD <3<3<3

  • Abaa on August 9, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    How on earth was Kamran Akmal in this team as a batsman? He scored two ducks in the last test (being a 'specialist' batsman) and dropped quite a few catches. The overall cost of having had him in the team is at least a 150 runs I think. Give 50 runs for what he should score in the match (come on scores of 25 & 25 is not much to ask from a 'specialist'batsman is it) and about a 100 runs in dropped catches (even that is a minimum). Absolutely no way should he ever be in the test team again after this new guy's heroics! I really hope they continuously give him chances and make him into a fully fledged keeper that can be relied on with the bat. Someone like an Ian Healy or a Mark Boucher hopefully. They weren't a Gilchrist or a Sangakkara with the bat but they were the best glove men of their times and that is what Pakistan badly needs! Hope the bowlers make a match out of this. But I don't really mind the result as it has really been an absolutely fantastic test match :o)

  • on August 9, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Very well written article. Zulqarnain indeed proved that batting is something *prevailing in mind and playing mind games* with the opponents. Regardless of the entertainment and popularity factor of one day and twenty-20 cricket, test cricket remains the basic building block of any international player, regardless of his aggressive and defensive instinct. Well played Zulqarnain and Ajmal, you people have given a ray of hope of what seemed an inning defeat! I wish he is kept with the team in the shorter formats too, because this guy has got the brain and talent to do justice with his place in the international team.