England v Pakistan, 4th npower Test, Lord's, 3rd day August 28, 2010

Pakistan wilt after spirit dries up

This wasn't the first collapse of the summer, but it was one of the most dramatic as the visitors fell apart after facing England's record-breaking stand
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Is it that shocking? Another Pakistan batting collapse? Not really. Pakistan have batted with a defeatist mindset in this Test. If technique, concentration, bloody-mindedness, patience and aggression are the nuts and bolts of successful batsmen then most in this line-up team fall well short of the requirements.

Two-and-a-half hours is all it took England to demolish them in the first innings. It was not a period when the tourists offered resistance because that would have involved them stonewalling, putting a price on a wicket and not being submissive. It was not the first instance of a team collapsing so quickly this summer. Australia, England, Pakistan have all succumbed in much more demanding conditions where the ball was swinging "at the corners" as Graeme Swann described. In fact, Pakistan bowlers triggered quite a few of those downfalls themselves.

However, on Saturday Lord's was bathed in bright sunshine. Richie Benaud was there and his verdict: "it is a wonderful day." It was as a sell-out crowd started the bank holiday weekend in a joyous mood, clapping and urging the overnight pair of Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad to extend their record-breaking stand. The conditions were dry as England sprinkled further salt into those gaping wounds left open on the Pakistan mindsets by adding a further 100 runs.

Still, if Pakistan remained hopeful it was because they had batted purposefully in the victory at The Oval last week. It was the first time Pakistan had crossed 300 runs in an innings. Incredibly, they had even managed to take a lead, a feat that seemed beyond their frail batting line-up earlier on the tour. The return of Mohammad Yousuf proved a good omen as Pakistan's most experienced batsman lent guidance and direction to his younger colleagues. Everybody chipped in and, then, Pakistan seriously threatened to level the series yesterday.

When England were stuttering at 102 for 7 on Thursday morning, overwhelmed by Mohammad Amir's magical spells of bowling, Pakistan had control of this match. But as the minutes ticked by Trott bonded with Broad to irritate, frustrate and eventually dominate the Pakistan bowlers and their captain Salman Butt. It was an astonishing fightback, which mentally exhausted the tourists. Not only did the Trott-Broad alliance break various records, it simultaneously broke their opponent's will during a six-and-a-half-hours vigil. By the time they arrived to bat, Pakistan were devoid of any ideas, completely numbed by the slow torture.

"A lot of it [Pakistan's first innings collapse] is to do with that [Trott and Broad's partnership]," Swann, who helped himself to five wickets, said. "At lunchtime yesterday [Friday] the Pakistan top four would all have been mentally rehearsing batting and the fact they were still doing that five hours later has got to have a very negative effect on them."

But that partnership was only half the reason Pakistan seemed hopeless. The other striking, and more dangerous, part was the weak frame of mind. None of the batsmen showed the focus and guts to build a fight. For that to happen they would need to stay at the wicket - Pakistan lost their last seven wickets in 56 minutes. If England had showed the character from the depths of despair, Pakistan wilted like a dead chrysanthemum.

Earlier in the series, every time his batting unit flopped Butt justified it by reasoning Pakistan were not the only ones to crumble under pressure. True, in testing conditions even England's batsmen had been exposed consistently by Pakistan's fast bowlers, but each time the home side were under the pump they found a man or two to stand up and take the pressure. That is why Trott, Broad and Matt Prior have topped the series batting charts because they have found a way past the conditions and the bowler.

On Thursday, at the time when the partnership with Broad was still in its infancy, Trott studiously left alone numerous deliveries even if they were pitched on a driving length or short and wide. He laid down his own rules and lived by it until he was caught as he cashed late runs, 16 short of becoming the first batsman to get two double centuries at Lord's. His hunger, dedication and determination have come as a result of countless hours in first-class cricket and net sessions. Pakistan's distracted young batsmen can learn a lot from him.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 3, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    BOOMBOOM! Pakistani players are one of the best raw talents available in world cricket. Historically, they have notorious for their brilliant yet inconsistent performances. They have also plagued by internal team disputes & autocratic cricket boards over the years which had dire consequences in its team's performances. Even though they being talented, they are one of the poorest paid cricketers in international circuit. Now, its strenuous relations with India & the bomb attack on Sri Lankan players in Lahore has seen them being isolated from cash alluring IPL, the 2011 World cup

  • ADB1 on August 29, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    @dharmadassa. I don't think you know the facts. One NOTW article quotes the fixer as saying "We don't do results too often. The last one was ... two months ago". So, the result of this Test stands. As for Ammus Mohideen and PTthe Axis, you adopt a mocking tone towards the England players when it's Pakistan that deserves the derision? What alternative universe do you inhabit?

  • dharmadasa on August 29, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    @dscoll......the no-balls were ordered by the match-fixer, in order to demonstrate to the undercover reporter the power his (i.e. the match-fixer's) syndicate had over the game. The sums of money at stake for no-ball bets are rather small and not the main point. The point being made was that the whole Test could be bought. That was what he was trying to prove to the undercover reporter, in order to convince him to make a much larger investment. You are commenting without knowing the facts......

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2010, 11:38 GMT

    I have stopped watching cricket after this. I am sick, Im tried, im disgusted. I hav no willpower to watch these clowns represent their country. Its a shame. How come Eng 110-7 and still mange to score 400. How Amir took 6 wckts in 10 balls, & still this happen? Look how they bat, they just don wana play cricket. They bully millions of poor people watching on TV to cheer theri country. Its our National Shame! We cant produce only 11 honest players from a 160 million population. Shame!!! Controversy is always there, but atleast U hav to perform, in 80's & 90's pak teams had controversies but still they perform series after series beating all nations. What happening now?!

  • KAIRAVA on August 29, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    Pakistani players are one of the best raw talents available in world cricket. Historically, they have notorious for their brilliant yet inconsistent performances. They have also plagued by internal team disputes & autocratic cricket boards over the years which had dire consequences in its team's performances. Even though they being talented, they are one of the poorest paid cricketers in international circuit. Now, its strenuous relations with India & the bomb attack on Sri Lankan players in Lahore has seen them being isolated from cash alluring IPL, the 2011 World cup and its home matches. Its true that a cricketer should first play for his country, but it is also important that he gets adequately compensated for his efforts on the field. there are many cricketers in the world inspite of being less talented than their Pakistani counterparts earn humongous amounts.I feel Pakistan's repeated isolation from the world circuit is the logical answer for the current spot fixing scandal.

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    I don't think so that England's No. 9 batsman have the ability to score 169 while all other 4 top order batsmen went for "duck (0)", we can not say this is inability of Pakistan bowler to take further 3 wickets to fold out them, this is pure match fixing scandal and involved lot of money, the Pakistanis sold their ability and talents just for money they have spoiled the young talent Amir as well

  • gohar1131 on August 29, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    The only thing which England or any other cricketing nation of the world fears is the fast bowling department of Pakistan. These CUNNING Englishmen just trying to disturbed this only winning weapon for Pakistan. It totally seems to be a fake drama, just the one of ball tempering a few years ago which was proved to be totally baseless.The world will see THE facts as the time passes.

  • ADB1 on August 29, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    So, to conclude Pak fans, have the stones to give credit to England for a great performance. You were beaten fair and square, even if some of your players are crooks.

  • ADB1 on August 29, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    @dscoll

    Hear, hear. I registered especially to counter the Pak fans using the spot-fixing scandal as an excuse for the loss. It's SPOT-fixing, not MATCH-fixing, people. A few no-balls will have made no difference to the outcome of this match. It's not as if, with Eng at at 5-47, shady characters bet millions that Eng would make 400+. Facts are, Trott and Broad's magnificent stand turned this match, and it is an insult to those two players to suggest that Pakistani players helped them achieve what they achieved. Similarly, Pak's pathetic batting display was down to their morale being shattered by that world-record stand. I see on Cricinfo's match commentary that M. Atherton said the Pak team found out about the scandal allegations at 6:15 last night - AFTER they had surrendered so abjectly at the crease. This morning's performance could be attributed to the scandal - though other players might have responded by digging in - buy yesterday was down to some damn good Eng bowling (cont)

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2010, 10:35 GMT

    England 102/7 and Stuart broad hit 169 to save their team hahaha that was joke of the day / month & year, is it his talent or the result of match fixing scandal, hey England you are the lucky yeah

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