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

Pakistan braced for final push

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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.

  • dummy4fb 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

  • dummy4fb 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

  • dummy4fb 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 :(

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • dummy4fb 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!!!!!!!!!

  • Dr.Mudassar 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

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