England v Pakistan, 3rd npower Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 20, 2010

Pakistan poised for redemption

On August 20, 2006 Pakistan forfeited a match after ball tampering allegations were levelled against them. On August 20, 2010 they stand tall and clean
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That old Pakistan trait for doing the unthinkable has resurfaced. At tea on Friday afternoon their miserable series seemed to be getting worse as Alastair Cook laid a platform for a large England lead with a belligerent century. Kevin Pietersen had started off with positive intent and was forming a steady alliance with Jonathan Trott, who demonstrated his typically unflappable patience at the crease. Pakistan's bowlers had toiled hard through the first two sessions for the paltry return of two wickets.

Then something bizarre started to happen. The sellout crowd, which was clapping and joyously celebrating England gaining the upperhand suddenly started to grimace before eventually falling silent. In the penultimate hour of the day, England lost six wickets with the A-team of Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Amir playing destroyers-in-chief. Not for the first time Pakistan had pulled the rug from under the opponent's feet.

Turn back the clock and you will find many moments where Pakistan's bowlers have stunned the senses with their wizardry: through the tumultuous English summer of '92, then the one-off Hamilton Test a year later when New Zealand plunged from 67 for 3 to 93 all out chasing 127; At Lord's in 1996 England, batting for a draw on the fifth day, were going steady at 171 for 2 chasing an unattainable 408 before being shunted out for 242. Move on to Old Trafford in 2001 when England again were aiming for a draw on the final day before Pakistan snapped up eight quick wickets in the final session. If Australia do not give up till the very last minute, Pakistan have a unique ability to surprise at any time.

Coming back to The Oval, Pakistan were playing second fiddle in the first two sessions. The demons of the past defeats on this tour returned when Cook was dropped in his 20s as a thick outside edge flew between the yawning divide between the first two slips: Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed. Both men stared at each other like wax models. Salman Butt rushed across and moved them into the right positions.

Far from being hilarious, it was getting frustrating for the bowlers. The prevailing blanket of grey cloud was the right canvas for Mohammad Asif to paint England's doom. But the slowness of the pitch restricted him from using a free hand. Still he persevered by trying to inject more pace and force the batsman to play on the backfoot. Immediately after lunch Trott played out three maidens from Asif before taking his first run after a 22-ball score-less sequence. Asif was growing tired and his frustration spilled out when he gifted Cook a comeback century with an unnecessary shy which flew over the wicketkeeper's head.

At the other end Ajmal was constantly firing in his doosra which both Cook and Trott, and later Pietersen, struggled to read, but they kept getting easy runs off the loose balls in the over. Wahab Riaz, who had celebrated his debut with a five-for on the first day, had only one wicket, that of Cook mid-way through the second session. England's lead was building. All this was not going according to script for Pakistan.

There had already been signs of spin and bounce, which Graeme Swann utilised cleverly yesterday. The combination of a dry surface and an old ball also made conditions ripe for reverse swing. Yet Amir was given just two overs between lunch and tea. Allied with Ajmal's struggle to find his rhythm early on, it all amounted to further frustration. Butt, however, had a plan and stuck to it. The reason he did not unleash Amir, he later explained, was because he did not want to exhaust all his bowlers at the same time.

When Amir returned for the final session he immediately cupped both hands to hide the shine on the ball and got enough reverse swing to force doubts into the batsman's mind. Once again, he got a wicket in his first over. Trott, despite his long vigil, chased a wide, angling delivery to offer a simple catch. Paul Collingwood was beaten by subtle away movement while Matt Prior, England's best batsman in the series, was clueless. It was not that Amir was unplayable. He just invaded the batsman's psyche with the thought that he could do something special.

It proved to be a catalyst for Ajmal at the other end, who mixed his variations cleverly from around the stumps, and quickly got the big scalps of Pietersen and Eoin Morgan. "The mystery ball [doosra] has done the trick for him as most batsmen find it hard to pick," Butt said. "Even till today we can't pick it in the nets." The biggest problem for the batsman, Butt reckons, is Ajmal is the only bowler who delivers both the straight one and the one comes back a little bit with the same action.

Saturday could mark a special day for Pakistan. Their foot soldiers, the bowlers, have got them once again to the doorstep of victory. The significance of a win at The Oval will not have escaped them. On August 20, 2006 Pakistan forfeited a match after ball tampering allegations were levelled against them. On August 20, 2010 they stand tall and clean with a chance for redemption.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sweetspot on August 21, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    Agree with Mohammad Akhlaq here! What makes India produce an endless line of exciting batsmen and Pakistan an endless line of very good bowlers? IF only the two countries had not separated....! One wishes, but then, nice to have two teams being such good rivals too. I hope the charity series becomes a reality and we have an exciting series, no matter the outcome. Please Pakistan, spruce up your batting. You guys will make even India's depleted bowling attack look good right now. What's going on? Your batsmen are all asleep?

  • sweetspot on August 21, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    As I write this, Pakistan are 3 runs away from winning this Test against England. I am an India supporter but I would be hopping mad if Pakistan somehow contrived to not win this one. Doesn't matter how much we love seeing India bash Pakistan, I always want to see Pakistan play positive, fearless cricket, even against India! (Ah! Pakistan win!). The reason is pretty simple - not many teams play attractive cricket these days. God bless Pakistan for making them the unpredictable team they are. It is horrible to see them go down for 88 for sure, but no other team is so exciting to see winning from impossible situations. Now, just one request for all the newfound millionaires from the IPL - please try and beat India's offer of $5mil aid to the flood victims in Pakistan. Time to get their lives back on track. Oh, sure, looking forward to that charity series between India and Pakistan - finally a real purpose to our cricketing rivalry.

  • 0wais on August 21, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    Yousuf Must Stay There Till The End To Ensure Victory For Pakistan............. You Never Know With Pakistan's Batting, They Can Do Wonders On A Day And Get Out In A Space Of 13 Overs On The Very Next Day!!!!

  • thirdmanboundary on August 21, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    Pakistan breathe life into the great game. Expect the unexpected. I'm a South African fan, but love the variety Pakistan bring, especially their bowlers. I wished they played tests more often.

    It would be a timely victory given the Indus calamity, a ray of hope amidst such suffering.

  • Waqas_Azher on August 21, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Well Well Well, there is nothing much can be said. Pakistan bowlers have been the stars. They have done all best the could do and really you can not ask more than this. However, the batting has been improved and middle order looks stonger with return of yusuf, but still whenever it comes chasing, pakistan fell down on various occasion. We have seen them loosing winning matches. A year ago in Australia and Newzeland as well as in srilanka. Their bowlers have been soo strong and we have to admit one thing here that the current bowling attack of pakistan is batter than any other team in the world. Now let us pray that pur batting clicks again as it was in first inning and let them have another victory and certainly they deserve for this. God Bless Pakistan.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Better remove Ijaz Butt from the board and set a guy who got some brain.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    Just one Match Drop of Kamran Works out his ability of Wicket keeping become more strong because this is his career saving test otherwise in new series he will be sit out and Zulqarnain will replace him easily

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Remember pakistan bowled out twice in this tour below 146!! So, pray for them to finish well.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    oh man i am so excited and nervous given the nature of Pakistan cricketers unpredictably,its is 2:35 am here in California and i am patiently waiting for the day 4 play to start.good luck Team Pakistan , regardless of the results they put up a great show. :)

  • zashrafi on August 21, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Nagraj great article!! And ShankarG your comments about brotherhood brought tears to my eyes. Godbless all of you and let cricket be the peace mill!!!!

  • sweetspot on August 21, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    Agree with Mohammad Akhlaq here! What makes India produce an endless line of exciting batsmen and Pakistan an endless line of very good bowlers? IF only the two countries had not separated....! One wishes, but then, nice to have two teams being such good rivals too. I hope the charity series becomes a reality and we have an exciting series, no matter the outcome. Please Pakistan, spruce up your batting. You guys will make even India's depleted bowling attack look good right now. What's going on? Your batsmen are all asleep?

  • sweetspot on August 21, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    As I write this, Pakistan are 3 runs away from winning this Test against England. I am an India supporter but I would be hopping mad if Pakistan somehow contrived to not win this one. Doesn't matter how much we love seeing India bash Pakistan, I always want to see Pakistan play positive, fearless cricket, even against India! (Ah! Pakistan win!). The reason is pretty simple - not many teams play attractive cricket these days. God bless Pakistan for making them the unpredictable team they are. It is horrible to see them go down for 88 for sure, but no other team is so exciting to see winning from impossible situations. Now, just one request for all the newfound millionaires from the IPL - please try and beat India's offer of $5mil aid to the flood victims in Pakistan. Time to get their lives back on track. Oh, sure, looking forward to that charity series between India and Pakistan - finally a real purpose to our cricketing rivalry.

  • 0wais on August 21, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    Yousuf Must Stay There Till The End To Ensure Victory For Pakistan............. You Never Know With Pakistan's Batting, They Can Do Wonders On A Day And Get Out In A Space Of 13 Overs On The Very Next Day!!!!

  • thirdmanboundary on August 21, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    Pakistan breathe life into the great game. Expect the unexpected. I'm a South African fan, but love the variety Pakistan bring, especially their bowlers. I wished they played tests more often.

    It would be a timely victory given the Indus calamity, a ray of hope amidst such suffering.

  • Waqas_Azher on August 21, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Well Well Well, there is nothing much can be said. Pakistan bowlers have been the stars. They have done all best the could do and really you can not ask more than this. However, the batting has been improved and middle order looks stonger with return of yusuf, but still whenever it comes chasing, pakistan fell down on various occasion. We have seen them loosing winning matches. A year ago in Australia and Newzeland as well as in srilanka. Their bowlers have been soo strong and we have to admit one thing here that the current bowling attack of pakistan is batter than any other team in the world. Now let us pray that pur batting clicks again as it was in first inning and let them have another victory and certainly they deserve for this. God Bless Pakistan.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Better remove Ijaz Butt from the board and set a guy who got some brain.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    Just one Match Drop of Kamran Works out his ability of Wicket keeping become more strong because this is his career saving test otherwise in new series he will be sit out and Zulqarnain will replace him easily

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Remember pakistan bowled out twice in this tour below 146!! So, pray for them to finish well.

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    oh man i am so excited and nervous given the nature of Pakistan cricketers unpredictably,its is 2:35 am here in California and i am patiently waiting for the day 4 play to start.good luck Team Pakistan , regardless of the results they put up a great show. :)

  • zashrafi on August 21, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Nagraj great article!! And ShankarG your comments about brotherhood brought tears to my eyes. Godbless all of you and let cricket be the peace mill!!!!

  • on August 21, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Mr Nagraj I really like the way you stitch your article and present it to us.

  • jawana on August 21, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Well said article but you forgot to mention the famous Chennai test 19999 against India where Pakistan snatched victory from India's hand. That was really a superb test match.

  • AdnanKayani on August 21, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    good article but please while remembering all the great bowling performances please also remember how pathetic low score chases by same Pakistan, so fingers crossed, although i am praying from my heart for Pakistan's victory

  • Majid-hsc on August 21, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Yeah, the biggest surprise was that Kamran was catching everything. May be he has dropped a couple as per routine but at least I didn't notice.

  • babar.hc on August 21, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    About time to display a mature chase ,technique will matter and so will Mohammad Yousuf,We need this victory desperately.

  • Manoj_Achan on August 21, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Salaam.. As always, awesome display of bowling by Pakistan, could have been some useful tips from Waqar during tea, who else it could be.. They must not forget the way they drew the last test against Australia. Their batting was a major concern then, and even now it will be, if Pakistan loses 3 wickets quickly.

    Also, Pakistan have to take that last 1 wicket , should bowl bouncers at Broad and make Finn play most deliveries. Either one's wicket, most welcome !!

    Imran Farhat should play aggressively [he plays like that]; Yasir should play for getting a 50, he will rock after that; Umar Akmal should be promoted at No.3, if he sustains he can damage England mentally; Captain Butt, at No.4, should put a price on his wicket too and try to play like Trott {make 36 but remain on one end}; Gifted player Yousuf should play his way to get a 50; Azhar should play till the end and score the winning run.. I don't think Pakistan will lose more than 5 wkts, given confidence of their 1st inn.

  • Nizam1949 on August 21, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    The tumultuous nature of Pakistan Cricket is both nerve-wrecking and exciting, if not for the high-wire trapeze act of the actors on the field, often bordering on the hilarious nature of the pitiful and puerile pitfalls of the Pakistani cricketers, but more often for the anticlimax of the result in a mix of brave and boring denouement.

    What a double-edged dimension to Pakistan's Cricket - a historical truism, after all! Bordering in the same breath on the threshold of genius and mediocrity, Pakistan Cricket has always tended to electrify the mundane meanderings of Test Cricket with spice and flavour. The Oval Test surely offers poignant pointers to the bravado and frailty of Pakistan Cricket at the same time.

    While the razzmatazz of the A-team - Amir and Ajmal - has kept one mesmerized about the bowling prodigies in Pakistan Cricket, the choreography of batting Crucifixion by the Pakistani batsmen in this Series against England can not proffer a rosy end for them with certainty.

  • ShankarG on August 21, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Being an die hard fan of India, i always admire the Pakistan's bowling ability. Actually to me, cricket indirectly teaches the brother hood of my neighbor country PAKISTAN. All the best. Good wishes from 1.3 million brothers & sisters from INDIA.

  • Faran on August 21, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    @sbhat3.it is just pathetic the way u think.what wasw the reason of this reverse swing during ashes 2005 campaign?is the same bottle top was doing it for jones and flintoff?come on man.Pakistan had always given the cricket world the best bowlers of the time.U must appreciate the talent not criticize it by foolish comments.

  • smalishah84 on August 21, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    A wonderfully well written article that perfectly captures the way the Pakistanis play.

  • on August 21, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Go Pakistan! Awesome!

  • on August 21, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    It is amazing how quickly things change .. Pakistan lost 1 test to Australia and won the next and now Pakistan have lost 2 tests to England and may well have a chance to win one back .. regardless of the outcome of the series .. the 2 isolated wins (one over Australia and one presumably and hopefully over England) will have done more good to Pakistan cricket than the last 5 years of cricket.

  • on August 21, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Very good artical from Naraj Gollapudi best chanse to win..........

  • tksami on August 21, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    NO: this will not fool me again. I have seen Pakistan implode. Their batting has always been the cause of failures. I will get a heart attack so I will not watch Pakistan bat. I will wait for the results. Regardless , I will remind myself in the end its only a game.

  • bhaskar_79 on August 21, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    @ yasir - dont forget the batsmen!!!! they too have the ability to surprise by forming dramatic collapses. and wat abt the WK? Kamran surprised us by gobbling all the catches didnt he? :))

  • ArtPakistan on August 21, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    Very well written Nagraj. You did as good job with the article as did the Team Pakistan in Oval.

  • on August 21, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    @sbhat3: Just because your bowlers cant swing it (forget reverse swinging it) doesnt make everyone else who does it a cheat.

    Grow up and stop publicly exposing how vulnerable and jealous you feel seeing Pakistan perform, not that it'll affect the Pakistani team, but just for your own sake, and for the 'little' respect i and other pakistanis have for your country and team.

  • richard-munir on August 21, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Believing in them self is pakistani team's big problem right now(kind of understandable also,that what's going on back in the country) few correct changes in the team have been made, players who know how to play test cricket. still need to get rid of few others (faraht M, a kamran, shoib m,) they bring the moral of the whole team (they been given all the chance's) down by giving easy runs dropping catches and defending unnecessarily. look like we have to do a lot at the management level, pakistan politician is choosing chairman of cricket board,(currant one finished playing cricket even before the one day games have been introduced) is now selecting the pakistan cricket team (TEST,ODI,T20.LOL.)purely on his liking and disliking(laughing stuff of the whole cricket world) how on earth some one like faisal iqbal can be drop for m-amin. bottom line is (big if) pakistan put there best cricket eleven on merit, they can beat any one by playing, not waiting for luck. best wishes for PAK team

  • sriniwas_mahapatro on August 21, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Since d day I hav been watchin cricket, i remember pakistan always had d best bowling attacks in all eras, and tht trend continues. nd i wonder.. being he neighbours and in same geography, how do we indians have such a diff from pak. coz any day, any time, a couple of pak bowlers can replace the best fast bowlers in the indian line up :) they are just too gud.. all they need is a ouple of dravid/lxamn/sehwag etc. just imagine.. if india and pak were 1 country... tht would hve been the best in all fields by all margins.. the best bowling, best batting.. and a suport of over 1.5 bn crowd..

  • on August 21, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    i think pak bowlers did good job but batsmen are struggling for runs in series this is once again low scoring chase pak batsmen have to careful, low scoring always tricky one,remember last month test against oz they found hard to score freely.

  • Acton49 on August 21, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    For the likes of PCB, Waqar Younis, Imran Farhath and Salman Butt, what is Mohammed Yousef's worth in the Pakistani lineup. Priceless! the only player who now have made Azhar Ali turned a corner, who reminds us of Inzimam in his hatting style. Pakistan missed a trick with dropping U Amin. He is better than Farhat and will give you a bowling option. I hope Yasir Hameed practice in knowing where his offstump is? that shot he played to get out was village! But this match will for ever be remembered as experience has no substitute

  • on August 21, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    Thanks God...that reverse swing didnt prompted any umpire for another Oval fiasco.

  • on August 21, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    "If Australia do not give up till the very last minute, Pakistan have a unique ability to surprise at any time" I think it should be changed to Pakistani Bowlers have a unique ability to surprise at any time :) Nicely Quoted though :)

  • cric_lover_4ever on August 21, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    @sbhat3 - that is not funny. Not sure what country you hail from but you're surely a sorry loser. Typical to blame and not appreciate the talent that comes from Pakistan and has consistently since the days of Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran to the perfection of reverse seing by W&W.

    GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN.

  • Humanoids on August 21, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Credit goes to the bowlers, but before that to Yousaf for his sublime knock. Utter calmness which made Azhar score too! Had Pakistan been bowled out for 180-200 the match was out of Pakistani reach.

    This is what is called experience! Yes you can win odd matches (vs Aus ) but to be consistent and giving new talent exposure, the right thing is to sandwitch them between seniors like Y's.

    Examples are Inzi in the shadows of Miandad, Imran, Ijaz and Salim Malik. Later Younis and Youhana (Yousaf) under Inzi and Ijalz Salim etc. This makes the new talents flourish. You cant throw rookies in front of vultures, not all are spartans!!!

  • on August 21, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    The significance of a win at The Oval will not have escaped them. On August 20, 2006 Pakistan were forced to forfeited a match after ball tampering allegations by an Oz Umpire, we dont remember the name were levelled against them. On August 20, 2010 they stand tall and clean with a chance for redemption.

    We certainly HOPE THAT PAKISTAN SHOULD WIN THIS MATCH and NOT TO MAKE IT LIKE SYDNEY TEST IN JAN 2010 AGAINST QZ

  • on August 21, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    Somehow or the other despite posing the weakest batting line in world cricket , they claw themselves back in the face of adversity time n again courtesy of pure bowling talents, kudos to the A's , but job still to be completed with the bats. Moyo's hour beckons !

  • on August 21, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    @sbhat3 hes doin the same thing to the ball that an indian bowling attack couldnt do with a rock grinder even :p although i could say the same about our batting cz u guys are outstanding in that but pakistani bowling has always been ages ahead of the world,we reverse swung the ball and the world called it tampering cz they were being cry babies about it.we all need to appreciate the synergy that asian cricket has created.none better bowling or batting.

  • on August 21, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    The problem is Pakistanis still have to bat...Yousuf is the only batsmen in the line up who can be called international caliber

  • on August 20, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    Pakistan 100% unpredictable team.......

  • on August 20, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    Isn't it a pity that some personal egos did not let Yousuf get into the side in the first two tests and Yasir Hameed was not selected despite the continuous failure of the top order batsmen. Last two defeats put some sense into the heads of the brainless management and everybody can see the result. Pakistan get past 300 runs for the first time in the season. Now they have a golden oppertunity to wrap up this test and I hope they do not throw this away. If they want to perform consistantly then they should bring in Younis in place of Imran Farhat.

  • S.M.Kmaran on August 20, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    Pakistani left handed seamers and spin bowling again bamboozle and tumbles English batting again. Alarming situation for the English team before the Ashes.Well played Pakistan.

  • on August 20, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Nice to read Indian fans viewing on Pakistan. Only if we could swap a few bowlers for batmen: both teams will benefit.

  • on August 20, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    @ sbhat3. I sense a certain "smell" out of your comments, whatever you´re trying to say is not nothing more than a cheap trick to undermine this young talent. Way to go Amir. PS: Amir HAS the ability to get under not only the batsmen´s skin, but also some readers. :)

  • Zahidsaltin on August 20, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    What ever the results, English players must have found out that their batting line has been torn apart time after time by this pakistani bowling attack. I wonder, what if pakistanis had taken those 19 catches which they dropped in last two matches. This English team is gonna get beaten 5-0 in ashes.

  • AMTRBZ on August 20, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    "Not for the first time Pakistan had pulled the rug from under the opponent's feet. " AND "If Australia do not give up till the very last minute, Pakistan have a unique ability to surprise at any time. " So True, that what Pakistan Cricket is all about. Pakistan is predictably unpredictable !!!

  • shakkw on August 20, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    Excellent Article. I hope Pakistan wins it tomorrow.

  • on August 20, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Aamir was superb with the old ball and really kept the englishmen guessing. Fantastic display of reverse swing fast bowling. Pakistan is in a hunt for a win and killer instinct is evident after the inclusion of Mohammad Yousuf. What a class player he is! No words to describe the elegance and style of Mohammad Yousuf. I hope he sees Pakistan through tomorrow.

  • ozsyed on August 20, 2010, 21:49 GMT

    I think it was a good display of both bowling/batting from the Pakistan team. After so many crushing defeats we need something to cheer about. What a difference can Yusuf make is praise worthy, he is really a classic and stylish player in his own league. I have to say that he is that good to watch as was Viv Richards in the past. His classic and silky drives are immaculate. As Ramiz said once "if anyone can drive better than Yusuf, its going to be Michael Schumaker". I have always knew that Azhar Ali had the potential and will to occupy the crease and have score as well. He has proved that he could occupy the crease and i believe the scores will come. But his resistance and defense is good. He could be next VVS Laxman sort of player or may be Dravid. We need batting like India has. An ideal batting line up the way i see is Salman,Fawad Alam,Yasir Hameed,Azhar Ali, MoYo,Umar Akmal, Zulaqernan/Kamran Akmal,Md Amir, Gull/Riaz, Ajmal and Asif. This is going to be a dream team.

  • Choudhry_Ghawas on August 20, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Brilliant Work by Bowlers as for the first time the Batsmen gave them something to fight with in the first Innings. Pakistan should get rid of Imran Farhat and Promote Yasir Hameed as the opener with Captain. Umar Akmal 'must' be developed for Number 3 (Imagine if Inzi played all his career at 3, He would have scored a lot more - tendulkar & ponting). Yousaf & Azhar are brilliant at 4 & 5. Tell shoib Malik to perform but get him back in the team as an alrounder. Compete Akmal & Haider against each other to fight for the spot. The rest are good.

    Hopefully, Pakistan will win but regardless of result, they have shown a lot of promise and hope during the whole tour. Allah Bless them!

  • on August 20, 2010, 21:32 GMT

    "New Zealand plunged from 67 for 3 to 93 all out chasing 127" but when you see the actual match it says

    "1-19 (Greatbatch), 2-31 (Hartland), 3-32 (Morrison), 4-65 (Jones), 5-67 (Parore)" im not sure if the writers correct or the match stats.

    other than that great article.

  • on August 20, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    Lets win this match and dedicate to the the victims of flood at home, it will be something nice to rejoice over! Hope the bowlers get that last wicket out fast! Then pakistan will win! Inshallah

  • khansa06 on August 20, 2010, 21:07 GMT

    What is thw 21st century version of the bottle top? Ask Amir.

  • devenmakesar on August 20, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    pakistan has consistency in inconsistency, immensley talented team, escpecially the bowlers , they are know to have these bowlers who are the match winners, go on pakistan and i am a indian

  • khashar on August 20, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    well surely a great bowler coming up for the future of pakistan and world cricket..amir has proved himself in all three formats only in very short one year career...i wish him good luck and pray that he plays and grooms as long as he can for pakistan

  • Desi_In_US on August 20, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    What a game this Cricket is. This Test has been 4 years in the making. Couldn't help notice lack of crowd noise during the last session of the day. It's true that Pakistan has a habit of pulling some unthinkables from their bag of tricks... some good and some horrible. Lets hope tomorrow is a trick that works for Pakistan. Good luck guys. Lets win one for the people at home.

  • khansa06 on August 20, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    Again a post-tea pile of wickets for Pakistan, with nothing much in the 2 prior sessions......Amir sure has "learnt" the art of reverse swing.

  • waseem_akhtar on August 20, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    Knowing Pakistan, it still may not be a walkover if Pakistan were to chase 160. It's perhaps in the blood that they don't like it nice and easy. It has not be photo finish most of the times. Anyhow, I won't be surprised if Pakistan win by 3 wickets!

  • hmia1001 on August 20, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    A high class match winning show by Pakistani bowlers yet again!!!

  • on August 20, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    What a write up. Very well put

  • on August 20, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    finally pieces of puzzle are falling in right places. we have got a sensible captain + three extra ordinary A's asif-amir-ajmal + mohd. yousuf and azhar ali. hopefully we will win this one.

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  • on August 20, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    finally pieces of puzzle are falling in right places. we have got a sensible captain + three extra ordinary A's asif-amir-ajmal + mohd. yousuf and azhar ali. hopefully we will win this one.

  • on August 20, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    What a write up. Very well put

  • hmia1001 on August 20, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    A high class match winning show by Pakistani bowlers yet again!!!

  • waseem_akhtar on August 20, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    Knowing Pakistan, it still may not be a walkover if Pakistan were to chase 160. It's perhaps in the blood that they don't like it nice and easy. It has not be photo finish most of the times. Anyhow, I won't be surprised if Pakistan win by 3 wickets!

  • khansa06 on August 20, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    Again a post-tea pile of wickets for Pakistan, with nothing much in the 2 prior sessions......Amir sure has "learnt" the art of reverse swing.

  • Desi_In_US on August 20, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    What a game this Cricket is. This Test has been 4 years in the making. Couldn't help notice lack of crowd noise during the last session of the day. It's true that Pakistan has a habit of pulling some unthinkables from their bag of tricks... some good and some horrible. Lets hope tomorrow is a trick that works for Pakistan. Good luck guys. Lets win one for the people at home.

  • khashar on August 20, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    well surely a great bowler coming up for the future of pakistan and world cricket..amir has proved himself in all three formats only in very short one year career...i wish him good luck and pray that he plays and grooms as long as he can for pakistan

  • devenmakesar on August 20, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    pakistan has consistency in inconsistency, immensley talented team, escpecially the bowlers , they are know to have these bowlers who are the match winners, go on pakistan and i am a indian

  • khansa06 on August 20, 2010, 21:07 GMT

    What is thw 21st century version of the bottle top? Ask Amir.

  • on August 20, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    Lets win this match and dedicate to the the victims of flood at home, it will be something nice to rejoice over! Hope the bowlers get that last wicket out fast! Then pakistan will win! Inshallah