Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai, 1st day January 17, 2012

A DRS boo-boo and Dubai hits a flat note

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between Pakistan and England, in Dubai

Surprise - or not - of the day
There was surprise from some when Mohammad Hafeez, a part-time offspinner, was thrown the ball in just the sixth over of the day, but there probably shouldn't have been. Hafeez has either opened the bowling or come on first change in four of the last five innings. Indeed, he took the new ball in the first innings of Pakistan's recent Test in Chittagong. He also has an excellent record against left-handers: they account for 17 of his 22 Test victims. So we really shouldn't have been surprised when, just three balls into his spell, Alastair Cook attempted to cut a ball that was too full and too straight for the stroke, and edged to the keeper. It was an example of excellent planning and execution from Pakistan.

Deflation of the day
It was the dismissal that summed up the day: tentative batting and fine bowling. Ian Bell, who averaged more than 100 in Test cricket last year, prodded half-forward to his first delivery, a doosra from Saeed Ajmal, only to see the ball hold its own line and take the edge of his bat. Suddenly all England's brave talk about the way they were going to play spin was betrayed. They looked as lacking in confidence as ever.

DRS boo-boo of the day
England went to great lengths to ensure they had the benefit of the DRS in their warm-up games with the hope of learning when to utilise it. It seems that more work is required. Both Eoin Morgan and Stuart Broad reviewed lbw decisions only to see that the ball would, pretty much, have hit the middle of middle stump. Still, the worst case of the day came when Umar Gul insisted to Misbah-ul-Haq that a declined lbw appeal against Graeme Swann be referred. The review showed the ball would have pitched every bit of a foot outside leg stump. It might just have been the worst review yet in international cricket.

Farewell of the day
It's not often that a spectator receives a standing ovation. Even more unusual is such an ovation for a spectator that isn't even present. But, midway through the afternoon session, the ground rose and applauded George 'Podgy' Summerside, a 53 year-old from Sunderland, who was found dead at the bottom of cliffs in South Tyneside last week. George, a retired firefighter, was a popular figure among the Barmy Army and was buried in Sunderland on Tuesday. Even Matt Prior, one of the England batsmen, joined in the applause, before Bill Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpeter, played the Last Post.

Reprieve of the day
England's final total may not be daunting, but it could have been much worse. Adnan Akmal dropped what looked, on Hot Spot, like a thin edge squeezed between bat and pad by Graeme Swann when the batsman had just eight. England would have been 104 for 8 had Swann been dismissed. As it was, Swann helped Matt Prior add another 47 runs and give England something of a foothold in the game.

Flat note of the day
Late in the day, security asked Bill Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpeter, to stop playing. Talk about biting the hand that feeds: without England supporters the crowd - maybe the 'sparse' would be a better word for it - might not even have reached three figures. To be fair, they eventually relented and allowed him to continue. Maybe one day the game's governors will reflect on the low attendances at Tests and think again about their treatment of spectators?

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • K on January 19, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Thanks Pakistan for thrashing England. Please make it 3-0 from an Indian supporter.

  • Grant on January 18, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Are you saying that if the Barmy Army trumpeter is banned from playing, then they wont go to the match? That's idiotic. Of course they would. Why do you lot think that a constant din of trumpets and football songs is necessary in order to watch a test cricket match? Here in Australia, we get better crowds for tests matches than anyone and we dont feel the need to have a constant din of musical instruments or silly footbal songs. Some of us actually like watching test cricket.

  • Ed on January 18, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    When Gooch was giving Bell throw downs, it was obviously fast bowlers they were preparing for (as it injured his wrist) why of why do ENG always seem so under prepared for spin, it's not exactly a surprise that PAK are playing two spinners. Why are all the ENG management and coaches not preparing our team to play spin. It's so predictable, the situation that is, not the spin, ENG couldn't predict that if the PAK bowlers even did a Shane Warne and told them what he was going to bowl before he bowled it !

  • Satish on January 18, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    "England's brave talk about the way they were going to play spin was betrayed. They looked as lacking in confidence as ever." Says what happened!!

  • Ammar on January 18, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    George 'Podgy' Summerside RIP from one cricket lover to another !

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    Maybe if the curator in Dubai produced wickets with some grass and pace, it would be conducive to more exciting cricket. Sounds almost like a sub-continent track there. Stadium looks lovely but embarrassing when almost bare. More work needs to be done to ignite more interest in cricket in the UAE.

  • Jackie on January 17, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    Deflation of the day? All the pundits have been united that Bell was not to blame for his first ball dismissal against a brilliant doosra that took the faintest edge on his forward defensive stroke. Not a single expert, whether Gower, Atherton, Bumble, Hussain or Botham, or the Pakistan commentators, nor Trescothick or Bob Willis or Robert Key or Mark Butcher. The newspapers likewise. Strange then that you have picked Bell's dismissal as the prime example of England's poor batting! Remarkable that not a single expert agrees with you! They all said that he faced a 'perfect doosra' first ball. Hope this is not a sign of things to come. It smacks of the old Bell bandwagon of making him the scapegoat.

  • John on January 17, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    Obviously pathetic batting performance by our top order. Great bowling by Ajmal. What's this rubbish about the security asking the BA trumpeter to stop playing? I'm guessing that the non BA crowd took offence - both of them.

  • saqib on January 17, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    I like the way Pakistanis are bating on a slow pitch with patience, English batsman need to learn from their style...... PS It's really a practical approach by Misbah that play defensive rather than loosing.

    Good Luck Team Green

  • Ch on January 17, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    George Dobell, Well, with regards to biting the hand that feeds you, wata joke. It is dubia we are talking about mate.....oil, wealth, economy, money>ring any bells (out an a duck).

    Well played Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabaad...Really big day coming up, need 100/0 to get to first....then 150/1 mayb, right the way through to 450+..Ajmal smashit it bro.. Critics like Bob need to address their concerns to the correct audience, like the officials or umpires so forth....not spread controversy and debate neglecting whilst overshadowing the brilliance ,of the bowler.

    Eng just like Ajmal said, are a very respectable forbiddable batting unit without doubt the (current form and squad), world number one are really up against it here. Am sure ENG are up for it too, wicked series start for PAKISTAN. Carry on boys head down on march on........!

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