England v Pakistan, 4th npower Test, Lord's August 25, 2010

Pakistan braced for final push

25

Pakistan dare not hesitate now. There are bound to be nerves and uneasiness ahead of the fourth Test at Lord's, but this may not be the worst thing for a brash young side raised on the easy thrills of Twenty20 cricket. This is not the moment to be overconfident. Pakistan would be best advised to hold a healthy respect for the task that lies ahead of them, as England will not hand over the series without a serious fight.

Exactly a month ago, despite a nerve-shattering win over Australia at Headingley, Pakistan walked into the England series as the weaker opponent. Over the following two weeks, at Trent Bridge and then Edgbaston, their batsmen stood numb against James Anderson's prodigious swing, their fielders forgot they had hands to catch the ball and many people were starting to predict a 4-0 whitewash.

Yet at The Oval, the site of the controversial 2006 Test, Pakistan played with belief and a hunger to win at all costs. Suddenly they had more than one matchwinner in their ranks. Their fast bowlers, who had carried the entire team up to that point, had some of the burden taken off their shoulders as the batsmen began to show some support. Almost every catch was held, and suddenly it was England who had more questions with Pakistan having found the answers to their problems.

If Pakistan have managed not to be sucked in by the whirlpool of instability in their home country it is only because of the wise and mature leadership of Waqar Younis and Salman Butt. Both men remained level-headed regardless of Pakistan's roller coaster ride on this exhaustive six-Test tour. As Pakistan enter the final match as equals for the first time this summer, once again it will be these two who will have to help the side find their feet as quickly as possible on unfamiliar territory.

"We know the slopes and from where the winds comes. If we can play to our potential I do believe we can beat them and level the series," Butt said with an assured smile, but without arrogance.

Having touched both defeat and victory Butt's philosophy is to see his glass as half full. "There is no need of going very high or very low. What we have to do is stick to our basics and do our best," he said.

Pakistan have never bounced back in a live series after being 2-0 down, and it is five years since they won consecutive Tests. Those wins were spread over two different Test series: the first achieved in Kingston against the West Indies in July 2005 followed by the narrow 22-run defeat they inflicted on England in Multan three months later.

They couldn't have picked a better venue to try and re-write history: Lord's has a rich history of inspiring visiting cricketers and can inspire the most insipid of cricket fans. After the victory last week Butt stressed about the importance of history and how that can motivate young players. The walls at Lord's are steeped in more than two centuries of historic performances.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bkraks21 on August 26, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    @the guy who suggests Pak batting line up is second to none - In ur dreams dude. Wake up.

  • on August 26, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    @wc1992 "i want SPRITE of 1992:" i dont think you'll be able to find a can of sprite that old lol thats wayyyy out of date

  • on August 26, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    if pakistani batsman performs well specially butt and yousouf at least one should make hundred then there are chances 2 win

  • on August 26, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    I m not sure if it is true or not, but i have read in Express newspaper than Zulqairnan Haider was deliberately send back to home by strong lobby in cricket team to save Kamran Akmal the place. His injury was a very minor one, it wud have been far more beneficial for him and team had he stayed there. but he was undone by pathetic lobbying. National committee of sports from senate and also Shahid Afridi echoed same comments abt this!! feel bad for him :(

  • on August 26, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Pakistan is team can beat any one but they have a problem with their confidennt and some time they forget to play as a team. They should work on this, then they will be unbeatable.

  • on August 26, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Nagraj Gollapudi is becoming an honoury Pakistani with his articles. A well thought out article. All the best Team Pakistan, you have the players now go for the kill. win it for the flood victims.

  • smalishah84 on August 26, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    "Exactly a month ago, despite a nerve-shattering win over Australia at Headingley, Pakistan walked into the England series as the weaker opponent. Over the following two weeks, at Trent Bridge and then Edgbaston, their batsmen stood numb against James Anderson's prodigious swing, their fielders forgot they had hands to catch the ball and many people were starting to predict a 4-0 whitewash.".......excellent piece of writing.........lets hope some Butts are smashed and I hope they are English and not Salman's.....lol

  • sani007 on August 26, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    GO PAKISTAN RISE UR FLAG HIGH IN LORDS AND ON BRITISH SOIL !IF WE WORK HARD AND BELIEVE IN ALLAH INSHALLAH WE WILL WIN!!!!!!!!!

  • Mr.Moody on August 26, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    pakistan should play their natural game that is attacking. pak batsmen have to attack england bowlers specially swann and anderson. dont let them find their rhythm. you cant win matches by blocking all the day (we have example of Trott in oval)

  • sabirshah on August 26, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    3 CHEERS FOR PAKISTANI TEAM,HIPHIP,HIPHIP,HIPHIP.I CAN HEAR THE 'HURRAYS' ALL OVER PAKISTAN:- What else could you lose? Pakistan has all the possibilities to win this match for sure. Because England has shown the worst performance ever. Not even a single 'repetitive' performance. If Pakistan was bowled out for 72 and 80...England in many intervals have been bowled out for even less then that. BUT THEY HAD WON THE MATCH. and a WIN can cover everything. After losing the match the critics have shown the other side of the COIN. and in LORDS lets see how English batsmen will face AAmir,AAjmal,AAsif and Umar Gul....triple "AAs" and "U". . . I see worse clash this time. England is under pressure and playing like they're practising for ASHES, which is a bad thing for them. Play like you played against Pakistan before. Do not compare Australia with Pakistan. England should stay calm and watch VIDEOS again and again and encounter the attack of Pakistan's bowling which hasn't let them down ever

  • bkraks21 on August 26, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    @the guy who suggests Pak batting line up is second to none - In ur dreams dude. Wake up.

  • on August 26, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    @wc1992 "i want SPRITE of 1992:" i dont think you'll be able to find a can of sprite that old lol thats wayyyy out of date

  • on August 26, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    if pakistani batsman performs well specially butt and yousouf at least one should make hundred then there are chances 2 win

  • on August 26, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    I m not sure if it is true or not, but i have read in Express newspaper than Zulqairnan Haider was deliberately send back to home by strong lobby in cricket team to save Kamran Akmal the place. His injury was a very minor one, it wud have been far more beneficial for him and team had he stayed there. but he was undone by pathetic lobbying. National committee of sports from senate and also Shahid Afridi echoed same comments abt this!! feel bad for him :(

  • on August 26, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Pakistan is team can beat any one but they have a problem with their confidennt and some time they forget to play as a team. They should work on this, then they will be unbeatable.

  • on August 26, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Nagraj Gollapudi is becoming an honoury Pakistani with his articles. A well thought out article. All the best Team Pakistan, you have the players now go for the kill. win it for the flood victims.

  • smalishah84 on August 26, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    "Exactly a month ago, despite a nerve-shattering win over Australia at Headingley, Pakistan walked into the England series as the weaker opponent. Over the following two weeks, at Trent Bridge and then Edgbaston, their batsmen stood numb against James Anderson's prodigious swing, their fielders forgot they had hands to catch the ball and many people were starting to predict a 4-0 whitewash.".......excellent piece of writing.........lets hope some Butts are smashed and I hope they are English and not Salman's.....lol

  • sani007 on August 26, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    GO PAKISTAN RISE UR FLAG HIGH IN LORDS AND ON BRITISH SOIL !IF WE WORK HARD AND BELIEVE IN ALLAH INSHALLAH WE WILL WIN!!!!!!!!!

  • Mr.Moody on August 26, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    pakistan should play their natural game that is attacking. pak batsmen have to attack england bowlers specially swann and anderson. dont let them find their rhythm. you cant win matches by blocking all the day (we have example of Trott in oval)

  • sabirshah on August 26, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    3 CHEERS FOR PAKISTANI TEAM,HIPHIP,HIPHIP,HIPHIP.I CAN HEAR THE 'HURRAYS' ALL OVER PAKISTAN:- What else could you lose? Pakistan has all the possibilities to win this match for sure. Because England has shown the worst performance ever. Not even a single 'repetitive' performance. If Pakistan was bowled out for 72 and 80...England in many intervals have been bowled out for even less then that. BUT THEY HAD WON THE MATCH. and a WIN can cover everything. After losing the match the critics have shown the other side of the COIN. and in LORDS lets see how English batsmen will face AAmir,AAjmal,AAsif and Umar Gul....triple "AAs" and "U". . . I see worse clash this time. England is under pressure and playing like they're practising for ASHES, which is a bad thing for them. Play like you played against Pakistan before. Do not compare Australia with Pakistan. England should stay calm and watch VIDEOS again and again and encounter the attack of Pakistan's bowling which hasn't let them down ever

  • ARSHADAWAN on August 26, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    inshaallah. PAkistan will square the series. get ready for some seroius and eventfull five days of cricket. GOOD LUCK team PAKISTAN. our prayers are with u. let,s do it. u can do it COME ON.

  • AnksRaj on August 26, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    @ Rehma Shake Shake - LOL U want all of em to score century ... pray that atleast they open their account.....Rofl ...

  • Sprewell on August 26, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    article headline "Butt braced for final push"... lol, toilet humor, not lost on me

  • on August 26, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    keeping my fingers crossed and just hoping for a good fight from Pakistan team.. All the best guys just do your best.....

  • on August 26, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Wanted to see a REAL GOOD and HARD FOUGHT Contest ....

  • wc1992 on August 26, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    AOA Hi All i want is the SPRITE of 1992 corner tigers to ROAR one more time at the Lords and let the world knows what we are made of (i don care about the win but the sprite) as Butt said its Holy month of Ramzan and we won the cup in that month ........

  • on August 26, 2010, 1:05 GMT

    Pakistan has talent with bat and ball. Our fast bowlers are one of the best in the world right now. Our batting line is also second to none, except they are very young and get nervous as the openers fail....but now we have Mohammed Yousaf, a world class batsmen, and a veteran, so Insha Allah like the 3rd test we shall perform in the 4th. too. GO PAKISTAN!!!!!

  • on August 25, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    Spot on and timely advice for Pak team. I have been reading the articles from Nagraj and must say they have been very good readings. Very balanced and properly worded.

  • LeftBrain on August 25, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Pak batsmen have to perform, simple as that. Lord's is wide open with both teams having equal chances. I do feel England is an over-rated team at the moment. Riding on 4 victories against Bangladesh and two against a different Pakistan doesn't count as "extraordinary" in any respect. Besides they have very ordinary players in their ranks, with none qualify as a super star so any comparison with Australia or even South Africa is rubbish. Eng batting is very ordinary and fast bowling is very one-dimensional. They have a good keeper/batsman and a good spinner though. Pakistan on the other hand have a very good batsman in Yousuf and two very good bowlers in Asif and Aamer. I dont see why Pakistan cant beat them if they eprform even half of their potential.

  • on August 25, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Hopefully Pakistan would come good in spite of shaky batting. Pakistan shake shake England!

  • Zahidsaltin on August 25, 2010, 21:39 GMT

    For pakistan to win two things are gonna have a big effect. Winning the toss to bat and that how their opners perform. if pakistan opners can play 15-20 overs regardless of the score, it will be a stage set for middle and lower order to accumulate when its not swinging any more. Yousef and Umar Akmal must play to their potential if pakistan is to stand a chance.

  • on August 25, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Win or lose it'll be great to see a Pakistani fight. These guys have shown they have the ability to play hard Test cricket and unless our Rhesus monkey administrators start meddling with them again, this team can be as good as Pakistan ever was, after a couple of seasons of maturity.

  • sri1ram on August 25, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Looking at a time-line of games last week, it is a funny coincidence how Pakistan's fortunes and India's seem to be balancing each other out. Never mind the game format, but sublime performance of one of the teams seems to be accompanied by a pathetic showing by the other. This has even led to many of the partisan comment-writers thumping their chests whenever their team performs and the other nosedives or even allege match-fixing! Given the scenario above, India's ODI win over NZ and getting into the finals does not bode well for Pakistan. But given their famed "unpredictability", the best wishes to the Pak team for coming up trumps against England in the fourth test.

  • sri1ram on August 25, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Looking at a time-line of games last week, it is a funny coincidence how Pakistan's fortunes and India's seem to be balancing each other out. Never mind the game format, but sublime performance of one of the teams seems to be accompanied by a pathetic showing by the other. This has even led to many of the partisan comment-writers thumping their chests whenever their team performs and the other nosedives or even allege match-fixing! Given the scenario above, India's ODI win over NZ and getting into the finals does not bode well for Pakistan. But given their famed "unpredictability", the best wishes to the Pak team for coming up trumps against England in the fourth test.

  • on August 25, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    Inshallah Pakistan will win! It would be a treat to watch yousuf and akmal make a century, hope salman can be better with the bat this time, and hope that azhar ali can make century as he was stopped in the last match at 92 not out!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on August 25, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    Inshallah Pakistan will win! It would be a treat to watch yousuf and akmal make a century, hope salman can be better with the bat this time, and hope that azhar ali can make century as he was stopped in the last match at 92 not out!

  • sri1ram on August 25, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Looking at a time-line of games last week, it is a funny coincidence how Pakistan's fortunes and India's seem to be balancing each other out. Never mind the game format, but sublime performance of one of the teams seems to be accompanied by a pathetic showing by the other. This has even led to many of the partisan comment-writers thumping their chests whenever their team performs and the other nosedives or even allege match-fixing! Given the scenario above, India's ODI win over NZ and getting into the finals does not bode well for Pakistan. But given their famed "unpredictability", the best wishes to the Pak team for coming up trumps against England in the fourth test.

  • sri1ram on August 25, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Looking at a time-line of games last week, it is a funny coincidence how Pakistan's fortunes and India's seem to be balancing each other out. Never mind the game format, but sublime performance of one of the teams seems to be accompanied by a pathetic showing by the other. This has even led to many of the partisan comment-writers thumping their chests whenever their team performs and the other nosedives or even allege match-fixing! Given the scenario above, India's ODI win over NZ and getting into the finals does not bode well for Pakistan. But given their famed "unpredictability", the best wishes to the Pak team for coming up trumps against England in the fourth test.

  • on August 25, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Win or lose it'll be great to see a Pakistani fight. These guys have shown they have the ability to play hard Test cricket and unless our Rhesus monkey administrators start meddling with them again, this team can be as good as Pakistan ever was, after a couple of seasons of maturity.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 25, 2010, 21:39 GMT

    For pakistan to win two things are gonna have a big effect. Winning the toss to bat and that how their opners perform. if pakistan opners can play 15-20 overs regardless of the score, it will be a stage set for middle and lower order to accumulate when its not swinging any more. Yousef and Umar Akmal must play to their potential if pakistan is to stand a chance.

  • on August 25, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Hopefully Pakistan would come good in spite of shaky batting. Pakistan shake shake England!

  • LeftBrain on August 25, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Pak batsmen have to perform, simple as that. Lord's is wide open with both teams having equal chances. I do feel England is an over-rated team at the moment. Riding on 4 victories against Bangladesh and two against a different Pakistan doesn't count as "extraordinary" in any respect. Besides they have very ordinary players in their ranks, with none qualify as a super star so any comparison with Australia or even South Africa is rubbish. Eng batting is very ordinary and fast bowling is very one-dimensional. They have a good keeper/batsman and a good spinner though. Pakistan on the other hand have a very good batsman in Yousuf and two very good bowlers in Asif and Aamer. I dont see why Pakistan cant beat them if they eprform even half of their potential.

  • on August 25, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    Spot on and timely advice for Pak team. I have been reading the articles from Nagraj and must say they have been very good readings. Very balanced and properly worded.

  • on August 26, 2010, 1:05 GMT

    Pakistan has talent with bat and ball. Our fast bowlers are one of the best in the world right now. Our batting line is also second to none, except they are very young and get nervous as the openers fail....but now we have Mohammed Yousaf, a world class batsmen, and a veteran, so Insha Allah like the 3rd test we shall perform in the 4th. too. GO PAKISTAN!!!!!

  • wc1992 on August 26, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    AOA Hi All i want is the SPRITE of 1992 corner tigers to ROAR one more time at the Lords and let the world knows what we are made of (i don care about the win but the sprite) as Butt said its Holy month of Ramzan and we won the cup in that month ........