Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai, 2nd day January 18, 2012

England's perseverance overcomes conditions

With little pace, little turn, little bounce and little chance of any reverse-swing, England's bowlers had to dry up runs to take wickets, and their patience went some way in making up for the first day's batting failure
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With ten minutes of play remaining and just five wickets down, it looked as if England were facing the prospect of a daunting first-innings deficit in Dubai. Pakistan's lead was approaching 100 and their increasingly talismanic captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, was still at the crease. England's hopes of retaining a foothold in this Test were slipping away.

Two late wickets, however, brought England back into the game. The loss of Misbah, in particular, exposes a fragile looking tail and raises the prospect that Pakistan's lead, which at one time looked as if it could be crushing, might now be little more than useful.

It was no more than England deserved. On a pitch that offered them little, they probed and pressed until, finally, Pakistan buckled. Every one of the attack could feel well satisfied with their day's work.

It was a day that spoke volumes for the spirit and character within the England dressing-room. A weaker team might have lacked the patience or discipline to sustain the plan of attack England required. A weaker team might have allowed itself to become divided after their batsmen let them down so badly on the first day. But then a weaker team probably would not have recovered from the positions England clawed back against Australia in Brisbane and against India at Trent Bridge, and ended last year as the No. 1 ranked team in Test cricket.

Make no mistake: Pakistan are still in the stronger position. The largely self-inflicted damage England suffered on the first day may prove too serious to recover from, and a lead of 96 with power to add is not to be underestimated. Yet, when Pakistan look back on the second day, they will surely reflect that they squandered a wonderful opportunity to put this game beyond England's reach. Indeed, it is just possible that Pakistan have surrendered their best opportunity of winning the series.

Perhaps words such as 'squandered' and 'surrendered' are unfair. Pakistan were not, for the most part, remotely careless. They were just worn down by England's disciplined bowling. On an absorbing day of Test cricket, England earned wickets through persistence, intelligence and skill.

This is not the sort of pitch where bowlers can expect to run through a side. There is little pace, little turn, little bounce and, because of the small square and relatively grassy outfield maintaining the shine on both sides of the ball, little chance of any reverse-swing.

Instead England had to apply pressure. They had to dry up Pakistan's run scoring opportunities and wait for mistakes. They had to ensure that, even if Pakistan were going to grind out a big total, it would take them as long as possible to achieve it.

The attack responded admirably. None of the fast bowlers conceded more than 2.76 an over, with Stuart Broad producing an admirably mature performance and Jonathan Trott's mean spell before the second new ball, which claimed Younis Khan as his third Test wicket, a huge bonus. Chris Tremlett cut down his pace and probed away on off stump, while James Anderson showed that he is not just reliant on a swinging ball to fulfil a useful role for England.

Graeme Swann, lacking the doosra that makes Saeed Ajaml such a dangerous bowler, instead gave the ball more flight and bowled a line wider of off stump than Ajmal. His figures stand no comparison, but Swann's performance was not much less impressive. Put simply, Ajmal had the substantial advantage of bowling to batsmen who appeared hapless against spin.

There were several occasions when it appeared Pakistan were on the brink of establishing a match-defining platform. Each time, however, England were rewarded for their perseverance with a crucial wicket. Pakistan were only 78 behind with all ten wickets in hand when Broad produced a beauty to dismiss Taufeeq Umar, while the wickets of Mohammad Hafeez, with a century at his mercy, and Younis, who was batting with an easy class that promised great things, also came just as Pakistan were re-establishing their dominance.

Then, with the close beckoning, Swann spun one back to defeat Misbah's forward prod. Until that moment Misbah, patience personified, had appeared as unforgiving as the desert that surrounds this ground and just as tricky to dislodge. With the captain gone, England struck again: Abdur Rehman was defeated by a beauty that nipped back from James Anderson. England were just about back in the game.

"We're still in a good position," Hafeez said afterwards, sounding as if he were trying to convince himself as much as anyone else. "We were expecting a few more runs - we're a bit down on what we were expecting - but we are still happy. We are in control of the game and, with two spinners in our side, we are in a happy position. It is the nature of this pitch to turn more as the game wears on."

Indeed it is. But with Pakistan batting last, Hafeez's words could comfort England just as much as Pakistan.

England were both delighted and relieved. "We batted really badly," Broad said, "but one of the strengths of this team is that we are forward looking. We try to learn from our mistakes but we don't dwell on the past. We knew it would be tough today. We're chasing the game a bit so it was a really good bowling performance. We wanted to concede fewer than three runs an over and hopefully we can polish them off for another 20 or 30 tomorrow. Now the batsmen need to score big hundreds and put the wrongs right. It won't be easy chasing anything over 200."

Perhaps not. But, so far in this match, the players who have succeeded are the ones who have utilised the old-fashioned virtues of playing straight, bowling straight and showing patience. This Test could well be decided by which team can maintain those skills under pressure on the final three days.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • g.narsimha on January 21, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    JG2704-It appears that ur are not following the india -aus theads regularly other wise u would not have opinioned in this manner ,u people have not spared indian team even in aus, lot of demeaning coments , our friend 5wombots memory just struck on the grand victiries of ur team over india in ur place , i never gave any excuses on our teams dismal performance in eng &aus where baring these present disaster tours ours is the only team fron subcontinent which performed better than ur team in india during the last decade , u people pretends as if we had never won a test in ur plce & our greats never scored in seaming conditions that pains most as all our top 4 having 50+ave in eng , sachin has averaged better than his carrier ave @59, in eng , see how u people comenting on him , the reason for most indians appearing on this page is mainly now it proved that every team is pathetic once it comes out from its cofort zone, only ind is not exception ,as branded by majority of ur people ,

  • JG2704 on January 20, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (January 19 2012, 04:02 AM GMT) Why not - Monty for Morgan? On this tour's performances you could leave out KP or Bell but it's not so drastic dropping Morgan who is the only Eng batsman who's averaging (significantly) less than 40

  • JG2704 on January 20, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    @g.narsimha on (January 19 2012, 04:44 AM GMT) - These are English related threads and we have a load of Indians coming on here and the majority here just to gloat and snipe etc. If you came on these boards to add anything constructive to the threads then I myself would tell 5Wombats to give it a rest , but when you or your fellow countrymen come on England threads purely to say stuff like , undeserving number 1 , can't play spin , lucky India was injured , will get thrashed lol , he he , ha ha etc then do you expect us to just say nothing back? We're getting more jibes etc from your fans than the Pakistan fans who actually won the test. At least our fans aren't going on to the Aus/Ind or SA/SL boards to support another team just because we're in bad form. How sad is that? I actually wish India would win a test against Aus to restore a bit of pride etc but I start to doubt my feelings when we are constantly bombarded with these petulant jibes etc

  • wiiCricket on January 19, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    News: Pakistani bowlers took an offence from the article by George Dobell and cleaned up English players again in second innings.

    Next time write a fair article so we can view an even contest. ;-) :-)

  • g.narsimha on January 19, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    BRAVO BRAVO URteam is doing well so enjoy why u bring indias performance in ENG, AUS. now it proved beyond doubt that every team struggles once it comes out of its comfort zone only india is not bad out side, in that metter what was ur performance in AUS last time with full strenghted pak team it was white wash , so forget india, enjoy your cricket as we all also enjoying this match ,the poms are proving they are still bad travelers specially to this part of world ,

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 19, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Part 2: The sooner England realise that they should prepare sportier tracks in their country, the better for their batsmen and bowlers. The unidimensional monotonous grassbowls they have at home are the reason why England has been a poor team historically providing their players (both batsmen and bowlers) a false sense of comfort. May be ECB should send their batsmen to our domestic tournaments to develop the skills needed to play against good bowling in challenging batting conditions on our sportier tracks. I thought most of the England's players looked like fish out of water on a track that challenged every player's skills. I hope David Lloyd will now tweet -"England will probably have one of those "reviews". These are their best players but they can't play pace and spin in challenging conditions on sportier tracks, even after 150 years of playing cricket. Solution: pitches at home." Well done my Pakistani Brothers. Thanks for this happiness in 2012 - an Indian here. Please publish.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 19, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Part 1: As I said yesterday, most of this article was utter drivel. How in the world the final unknown lead, when the known lead is already 96, will be just a little more than useful? And also as I said yesterday about Conditions - What conditions? Conditions were not tailor made for unidimensional cricket and so obviously the wicket was not doctored just for the pacers. There was just enough pace, just enough turn - bowlers have to be skillful to succeed. Not much bounce - Batsmen have to be extremely skillful to succeed when the ball doesn't bounce as much or doesn't come on to the bat. You can hardly term these as bowler unfriendly. They are batsmen unfriendly too. That's a level playing field, to be precise. Go ask your batsmen. They will tell you if these are batsmen friendly batting paradises. When commentators and authors have no clue about what they are talking/writing, they will mislead their team and it happened with India also when we were winning. Please publish. (TBC)

  • abdulrazzaqfc on January 19, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    I disagree with ARDjango atleast regarding Auzzies.. England yes a gud test team in England & Australia, but not so gud in subcontinent.. Australia is Awesome in Australia, and still v.gud in subcontinent. Australia is true No.1 test team, no offense to Africa, u had ur chances but u wasted both times. Yes Africa is No.2 Test team, and they can play all around the world.. India V.gud in subcontinent, but poor overseas... Pakistan getting better, hope we see aamir soon to help pak get even stronger...

  • JG2704 on January 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @SunnyD on (January 18 2012, 20:08 PM GMT) - The conditions meaning batting friendly conditions which Pakistan are much more used to than England. England's innings was also on a batting friendly pitch although our batsmen performed woefully and Ajmal in particular bowled very well. The difference is that Englands batsmen were poor. If Broad and co bowled at the England batsmen on day 1 they too would have got the team all out for less than 200. The difference is that Pakistan batsmen have batted very well , as you would expect of a team on the up.

  • JG2704 on January 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @wiiCricket on (January 18 2012, 19:00 PM GMT) - Well according to many on these boards Englands number 1 ranking is due to luck and is undeserved so surely cricket writers also have the right to interpret things how they want to. And@wc1992 on (January 18 2012, 20:28 PM GMT) If we're talking biased interpretations , why did Younis not review the decision if he was not out?

  • g.narsimha on January 21, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    JG2704-It appears that ur are not following the india -aus theads regularly other wise u would not have opinioned in this manner ,u people have not spared indian team even in aus, lot of demeaning coments , our friend 5wombots memory just struck on the grand victiries of ur team over india in ur place , i never gave any excuses on our teams dismal performance in eng &aus where baring these present disaster tours ours is the only team fron subcontinent which performed better than ur team in india during the last decade , u people pretends as if we had never won a test in ur plce & our greats never scored in seaming conditions that pains most as all our top 4 having 50+ave in eng , sachin has averaged better than his carrier ave @59, in eng , see how u people comenting on him , the reason for most indians appearing on this page is mainly now it proved that every team is pathetic once it comes out from its cofort zone, only ind is not exception ,as branded by majority of ur people ,

  • JG2704 on January 20, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (January 19 2012, 04:02 AM GMT) Why not - Monty for Morgan? On this tour's performances you could leave out KP or Bell but it's not so drastic dropping Morgan who is the only Eng batsman who's averaging (significantly) less than 40

  • JG2704 on January 20, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    @g.narsimha on (January 19 2012, 04:44 AM GMT) - These are English related threads and we have a load of Indians coming on here and the majority here just to gloat and snipe etc. If you came on these boards to add anything constructive to the threads then I myself would tell 5Wombats to give it a rest , but when you or your fellow countrymen come on England threads purely to say stuff like , undeserving number 1 , can't play spin , lucky India was injured , will get thrashed lol , he he , ha ha etc then do you expect us to just say nothing back? We're getting more jibes etc from your fans than the Pakistan fans who actually won the test. At least our fans aren't going on to the Aus/Ind or SA/SL boards to support another team just because we're in bad form. How sad is that? I actually wish India would win a test against Aus to restore a bit of pride etc but I start to doubt my feelings when we are constantly bombarded with these petulant jibes etc

  • wiiCricket on January 19, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    News: Pakistani bowlers took an offence from the article by George Dobell and cleaned up English players again in second innings.

    Next time write a fair article so we can view an even contest. ;-) :-)

  • g.narsimha on January 19, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    BRAVO BRAVO URteam is doing well so enjoy why u bring indias performance in ENG, AUS. now it proved beyond doubt that every team struggles once it comes out of its comfort zone only india is not bad out side, in that metter what was ur performance in AUS last time with full strenghted pak team it was white wash , so forget india, enjoy your cricket as we all also enjoying this match ,the poms are proving they are still bad travelers specially to this part of world ,

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 19, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Part 2: The sooner England realise that they should prepare sportier tracks in their country, the better for their batsmen and bowlers. The unidimensional monotonous grassbowls they have at home are the reason why England has been a poor team historically providing their players (both batsmen and bowlers) a false sense of comfort. May be ECB should send their batsmen to our domestic tournaments to develop the skills needed to play against good bowling in challenging batting conditions on our sportier tracks. I thought most of the England's players looked like fish out of water on a track that challenged every player's skills. I hope David Lloyd will now tweet -"England will probably have one of those "reviews". These are their best players but they can't play pace and spin in challenging conditions on sportier tracks, even after 150 years of playing cricket. Solution: pitches at home." Well done my Pakistani Brothers. Thanks for this happiness in 2012 - an Indian here. Please publish.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 19, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Part 1: As I said yesterday, most of this article was utter drivel. How in the world the final unknown lead, when the known lead is already 96, will be just a little more than useful? And also as I said yesterday about Conditions - What conditions? Conditions were not tailor made for unidimensional cricket and so obviously the wicket was not doctored just for the pacers. There was just enough pace, just enough turn - bowlers have to be skillful to succeed. Not much bounce - Batsmen have to be extremely skillful to succeed when the ball doesn't bounce as much or doesn't come on to the bat. You can hardly term these as bowler unfriendly. They are batsmen unfriendly too. That's a level playing field, to be precise. Go ask your batsmen. They will tell you if these are batsmen friendly batting paradises. When commentators and authors have no clue about what they are talking/writing, they will mislead their team and it happened with India also when we were winning. Please publish. (TBC)

  • abdulrazzaqfc on January 19, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    I disagree with ARDjango atleast regarding Auzzies.. England yes a gud test team in England & Australia, but not so gud in subcontinent.. Australia is Awesome in Australia, and still v.gud in subcontinent. Australia is true No.1 test team, no offense to Africa, u had ur chances but u wasted both times. Yes Africa is No.2 Test team, and they can play all around the world.. India V.gud in subcontinent, but poor overseas... Pakistan getting better, hope we see aamir soon to help pak get even stronger...

  • JG2704 on January 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @SunnyD on (January 18 2012, 20:08 PM GMT) - The conditions meaning batting friendly conditions which Pakistan are much more used to than England. England's innings was also on a batting friendly pitch although our batsmen performed woefully and Ajmal in particular bowled very well. The difference is that Englands batsmen were poor. If Broad and co bowled at the England batsmen on day 1 they too would have got the team all out for less than 200. The difference is that Pakistan batsmen have batted very well , as you would expect of a team on the up.

  • JG2704 on January 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @wiiCricket on (January 18 2012, 19:00 PM GMT) - Well according to many on these boards Englands number 1 ranking is due to luck and is undeserved so surely cricket writers also have the right to interpret things how they want to. And@wc1992 on (January 18 2012, 20:28 PM GMT) If we're talking biased interpretations , why did Younis not review the decision if he was not out?

  • on January 19, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    This match could me over by lunch tomorrow!!! The lead is more than enough to get england out!!

  • on January 19, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    reading these Article made me think that England is winning the match so much so that i checked the scores again.......... Man what ever ur trying to say up there please try to revisit what happened in those 10 balls when england lost 3 of their top batsmen against Ajmal... does it look like anything of their doing.... this was out of their reach... england should acknowledge the fact that even beating india in england didnt prove that they had played a good bowling side and neither beating australia prove the same thing .... although pakistan drew a serie against the australians when England had to ask their MEdia to beat pakistan off the pitch ...... If for Pakistan beating England is a Challenge .... For england to prove that they are the Number 1 side they need to overcome this attack which is now being considered as the best in the world

  • on January 19, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    Pakistan are right on top at this stage of Game and English batsman are looking forward how to play Saeed Ajmal in the Second inning to compete Further this Pakistan Attack is such variety that they cant depend on 1 specific bowler to do the job.they still get plenty of other option too

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 19, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    come on pak fans how about some killer instinct you are over 100 in front, smash em i thought you have the worlds greatest spinner ??? best batting conditions 192 come on give it to em

  • jmcilhinney on January 19, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    @wc1992, you sound like many Indian fans during their last tour of England. First up, you say that England took 3 legitimate wickets and 4 by pure luck. How can that be when 2 batsmen were bowled and 2 caught behind? Secondly, you say that you love DRS and yet you insist that 2 batsmen weren't out when DRS says they were. That's complete hypocrisy. There were 3 marginal LBW decisions with 2 being given out and 1 not out. According to DRS it was the one that was the most out that the umpire called in Pakistan's favour. That sounds fairly even to me. DRS said all struck the batsmen in line and would have hit. Basically, they were all close enough that noone really would have a right to complain whatever way the umpire called. You might say England were lucky but they would have been equally unlucky if the umpire had called the other way. Of course, if the batsman was good enough to hit the ball then this argument wouldn't even be needed.

  • Ali-Sial on January 19, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    @ author.. i think you havenot done your research on recent pak team before wrting this article. for the last 3-4 series pak team has been playing in similar fashion..they go in their shell and stop playing their shots. thts why they had the lowest run rate among all test playing nations last year. you should have done more research on their"slow defensive 2.5 rpo batting" during recent matches particularly against Srilanka and bangladesh before writing this article and praising english bowlers.

  • on January 19, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    really unfair. reading this article someone is inclined to feel that this Eng side is a great team. And what a desperate attempt to place them on a pedestal they cnt occupy...Swann doesnt hv a doosra, Ajmal was bowling to players who do not play spin well..with so many if's and but's I think I could have avergaed better than Bradman given a chance to play for India...comeon man, wake up and smell the coffee..Eng are getting slaughtered

  • on January 19, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    If Pakistan can stretch this lead to 150 then I think England will be in trouble. Come on Team Pakistan Just a few more runs....................

  • SyedArbabAhmed on January 19, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    What "Indeed, it is just possible that Pakistan have surrendered their best opportunity of winning the series", that is toooo..... early England.

  • UsmanAkbar on January 19, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    A nice article with only the England Teams "Heroics" in the limelight. Very biased.

  • Naveed on January 19, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    One note: can anybody know what's the special requirement for comemting in live commentary. I am commenting for about ten years but not a single of my comments have been published. On the current match England deserve all the credit for applying pressure on Pakistan getting wickets and staying in the match which at one point looking out of the grasp of English team. Of course Pakistan's over cautious approach also contribute to their own downfall.

  • itisme on January 19, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    this is the only realistic chance for pakistan to win a test in this series. if they mess this up then the series will be gone altogether.

  • Nandha80 on January 19, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Man these former flawed and failed English players and some English journalists keep over-beating the drums around this decent English team... it makes many feel that even this talented team should fail terribly to shut these fellas up... This article is in poor attitude. Pakistan were a better team for the first two days and Englad are NOT the 'super good' team yet. That's it. To think they are one of the 'all time best' teams already and trying to justify their failures is in very poor taste. Sorry this article sounds desperate and made bad reading.

  • on January 19, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    This article is as biased as can be. Pakistan is 96 runs ahead and the article makes it look like they are just 1 wicket away from a heavy defeat. George please learn to have neutral views. These are the basic ethics of journalism!

  • on January 19, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Wow.... Am I reading a Daily Telegraph article or a Cricinfo one which is supposed to be fair.... Mate, I guess you are new in this forum.... Lets face it, if situation was exact reverse, you would be saying England are better than 80's WI because they didn't have spinner..... You said Swann pitched ball better than Ajmal. Mate, don't you have the simple knowledge that doosra is ineffective from wide outside off.... Oh yes, you know only about England and there aren't any spinner in England who can bowl doosra.

  • g.narsimha on January 19, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    5WOMBATS ,CANTu live without bringing india in each & every metter ,here the discussion is pak-eng match , u are refering one sided matches , as those matches are played in ur confort zone they were one sided , the moment u came out what happens, we all have seen on 1st day of this test ,spinless batting against quality bowling , now ur big mouthed baesed experts like botham, willis are out with old tactics , racking up the suspect action again to demean AJMALS magnificent bowling ,this match has gone , no way , u cant save this test , i am sure if pakistan were playing in pak , they might have ensured inning defeat , wait & see ur all weather teams performance in this series , one more thing it has to be seen , when ur team visits our place later this year , matches are not one sided as happened in eng or 5 odis in india during last year .

  • satish619chandar on January 19, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    @Long-Leg: Low slow is never a batting condition.. It is just because many green track bullies dont know how to bowl on those tracks.. England did show a lot of hearts to restrict runs and bowl consistently..

  • satish619chandar on January 19, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    When Pakistan were running away, England just managed to put their hands out of the hole they are in.. They are in the match with the whole lot of 3 days remaining.. If they can wipe off the tail asap and bat better than the first innings, they can be challenging.. Batting in fourth innings for any team is tricky.. Expect a low fourth innings and a thriller..

  • donda on January 19, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    You are really good supporter of english team, keep on writing like that. In this way may be your team wins on paper and in articles.

  • jmcilhinney on January 19, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    We're not quite halfway through this match yet so my opinions may change, but here are my thoughts on the England team for the second test. Tremlett hasn't bowled badly but he was obviously the least effective of the England bowlers. I think that he needs to be replaced either by Finn or Panesar. Which would be the better choice will be clearer by the end of the match. If they were to go with Panesar in place of Tremlett and Morgan doesn't do anything special in the second innings I'd consider using Bopara in place of Morgan to add him as a bowling option. I doubt that that would happen though, especially as Trott was able to fill that role effectively in this match. I wouldn't want to rely on Trott to take wickets regularly although he did get some pronounced movement at times. I'm not sure I'd want to rely on Bopara to take wickets regularly either though.

  • barrynick on January 19, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    I am a mild man with a somewhat old-fashioned outlook on life; I think that everyone is entitled to his opinion.

    I am a proud Englishman; however, I appreciate and applaud good cricket played by other nations whoever they may be (yes even Australians).

    Reading the comments posted on this site and listening to some of the commentators on Skye television today, it appears that national interest is the only criteria players and teams are judged by these days.

    Give credit where it is due England are the number one test side in the world at this time because they have produced the best results of late.

    Great teams like India and Australia held the top spot for exactly the same reasons they won more test matches than the rest of us.

    Be honest with your opinions do not let petty jealousies cloud your thinking enjoy the fantastic game of test match cricket and may the best teams win.

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    It's quite ironic that England has been praised so highly when no bowler has been able to take more than 2 wickets the entire day and the wicket of Younis was a big bonus. I'm taking nothing away from the fact that England were pretty good today and they bowled and fielded well to restrict the progress of Pakistan yet Pakistan is approaching 300 now which may not be a match winning score but certainly a very competitive one for the lowly ranked #5 against #1 not to mention it's still a lead of 100. It may very well happen that England take the last 3 wickets cheaply and go on and get a big score to even win the game but there is no doubt that Pakistan is ahead at the moment. So far this series promises to be an actual test match series where both teams are fighting and while on paper England are 4 places ahead of Pakistan in reality they are a lot closer, at lease from the evidence so far.

  • Sprit_of_Cricket on January 19, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    I have faith in misbah . He knows how to handle the situation. I think all Pakistani batsman spend enough time on the pitch which helps then in second innings I think if Pakistan plays positive and aggressive tomorrow and get lucky to add lead 125+ there is a chance they get target for about 230 which I think is in favour of Pakistan . Time to prove akmal to play vital role tomorrow.

  • jmcilhinney on January 19, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    This was a fairly even day's play but I'd probably award the honours to England by a short half head. The commentators kept talking about how the bowlers had to remain patient and they did just that. They stuck to their plans and the rewards came. If they can wrap the tail up quickly then England will have wrested back much of the advantage that Pakistan took on the first day. I've heard many criticise Pakistan's and Misbah's defensive attitude and I can see why. Even if the wicket column read the same, I really think that Pakistan could be 40 to 50 runs ahead of where they are and in a better position. As it stands, if England can bat how I believe they can, a la Matt Prior, then they can ensure that they won't lose because we know Pakistan won't play risky cricket in the fourth innings. As much as Pakistan and Ajmal bowled well, I don't think that any reasonable person would deny that the England batsmen, other than Bell and maybe Pietersen, contributed to their own downfall.

  • Guduji71 on January 19, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Goerge Dobell I have to remind you that you atleast should try to appear unbiased.I have not read such a biased article before. I know you are an English fan but you should give some credit to Pakistan as well. It was such a patient effort from all Pakistani batsmen. For your kind information the lead of 150 is enough for English players who have no idea of playing quality spin. Remember five top English batter were out for 50 odd runs on the 'first day'. What will happen on "third day" wth top Pakistani spinners bowling at them? Don't get too excited England is still far behind. Good luck to Pakistan. England does not deserve to be No.1. I reckon Australia is still No.1 in real sense.

  • BravoBravo on January 19, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    I won't write off any team yet. It is going to be very interesting match. ENG is a tough nut to crack, wont be easy for PAK to win the match. However, PAK will not surrender meekly as MIGHTY IND batting line did against ENG and is doing in AUS now.

  • on January 19, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Very biased article, not giving the Pakistanis any credit whatsoever.

  • rienzied on January 19, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    If there ever was a batsmen I would want to bat for me when chips were down, Misbah would be the man. to think he has only been shining in his later years. It is tragic to see that, this has happened when he is pushing 38

  • criccritez on January 19, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    Another narrow minded post, There was nothing for bowlers on the first day and pakistan cleaned up engalnd (#1) for 191, If DRS was 50/50, score would not be more than 150. Pakistan is at 288/7, England is trailng 97 runs and still they need to take 3 more wickets but praise to Engalnd, Where is the justice Mr. Dobell!!!

  • on January 19, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    A more fitting heading would probably be about Pakistan's position of dominance, instead of singing the praises of the number one test side in the world struggling against a fifth ranked team - just saying.

    It's biased reporting like this that makes me love supporting the Australians everytime the Ashes rolls around - instead of getting on the English bandwagon like so many fellow New Zealanders.

    Go Pakistan!

  • on January 19, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    very biased article. getting a team out under 300 on this pitch is difficult even if it is the 4th innings. England have selected the wrong bowling unit and without 2 spinners getting a team out under 250 to 300 will be difficult. Pakistan bowling have achieved the feat of getting a team out under 200 and england bowlers failed to do so. they even failed to keep pak under 300, so eng are still staring at a near impossible situation. Pak team with 3 good spinners will not let Eng go beyond 300 in 2nd inning and chasing 150-170 will be easy on this pitch.

  • landl47 on January 19, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    @wc1992: I've heard some nonsense about the DRS in my time, but this takes the cake. You're suggesting a conspiracy between (wait for it) the on-field umpires and the DRS system! What planet do you live on?

  • landl47 on January 19, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    England bowled steadily, but I still have the uneasy feeling that they have got the selection of the side wrong. If Flower has a fault (and he hasn't many) it is that sometimes he isn't prepared to believe the evidence of his own eyes. Monty Panesar didn't take 8 wickets in the warm-up match by luck or accident. Two spinners would have been much better than 3 seamers on this pitch and Tremlett, although he has bowled tight, hasn't taken a wicket and was reduced to bowling holding overs until the new ball came along. Assuming England bat better in the second innings (and they can hardly bat worse), Pakistan will be set a target on a wearing wicket. Two spinners will really be needed then. England might yet win this test, but if they don't, the first innings batting debacle will only be half the story. The wrong bowling unit will be the other half. Go on, England- prove me wrong!i

  • Vishal_07 on January 19, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    It is about time that England make some turner wickets at home and not get clobbered every time they face a good quality spinner ;)

  • on January 19, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    Is it me or is the commentary, articles and views of cric info really getting biased towards England?

  • on January 19, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    Lol - what a ridiculously biased article. I am posting this comment to laugh at this article. Seriously man, show some neutrality!!

  • Harry_Kool on January 19, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    @Lord.emsworth & Omarrz. Um, do you read George's articles every day? He was full of praise for Pakistan after day 1, but he was commenting on day 2 & did a great job. Just relax & enjoy a competitive match and give it a rest with these conspiracy theories.

  • DocBindra on January 19, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    Wow, could you be just a little more objective Dobell? Did England just win the World Cup, Super Bowl or something along those lines? While the English media is busy breaking down Ajmal, Swann is made to look like one of the greatest bowler of all time? Really? According to Mr. Dobell, Swann's "performance" was just as praiseworthy as Ajmal's? Really? LOL, what a joke of an article. ...right, back to reality, yes, English United's bowling was disciplined but how Pakistan batted was ridiculous. They were disciplined in the first session and yet, Pakistan scored at over a 3.50 clip and as soon as they lost a couple of wickets, the scoring rate dropped way down. Pakistan let England exert pressure by being too defensive on a belter of a wicket. Someone of Younis's class getting out to Trott and the way Misbah got out was nothing short of criminal. Azhar and Asad got out to nothing shots. Having said that, Akmal needs to dominate the strike and add atleast 50 runs with the tail.

  • DrAtharAbbas on January 19, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    I cannot stop myself from writing more looking at the statements here. The writer says "With little pace, little turn, little bounce and little chance of any reverse-swing, England's bowlers had to dry up runs to take wickets, " Was Pakistan bowling on another pitch, when they got England out ???? It is a SECOND day pitch so must be spinning more than the FIRST day. .??????????

  • IAS2009 on January 19, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    on first day perfect batting wicket england score 192 no credit to pakistan bowlers on second day with almost 100 lead all credit to England, really am i missing something here. you got to be kidding me who is this writer?

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 18, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    The lead is already 96 runs and the author is acting out bravery to call the unknown final lead a little more than useful. Denial? A tomfool? Most of the article I thought was utter drivel.

  • Coastaltown on January 18, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    ech, don't see the bias tbh, it strikes me that pakistan are getting due praise for an excellent effort first drop, and now england are reaping the same for their efforts, this is shaping up as a belter.

    By the way, curious as to where all the Anderson-haters are, Jimmy was brilliant today, not one ball off target. Though I'm forgetting, of course! He can't bowl outside England!

  • DrAtharAbbas on January 18, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    One sidedness to the limit: " The largely self-inflicted damage England suffered on the first day. . . ." means Pakistan bowlers did nothing. England destroyed themselves. In contrast every English bowler is admired separately, one by one . Graeme Swan took two wickets to 7 from Ajmal, so it is said here "His [swan's] figures stand no comparison [to Ajmal], but Swann's performance was not much less impressive" ..... ..... ...... ...... ...... ..French philosopher VOLTAIRE says that All intelligence means is to know the reality exactly as it is:.................. This writer does not want to see the reality. He is trying to be as impartial as he can, but he simply cannot. the Bias is too overwhelming for him to control himself.

  • FaisaLKarim on January 18, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    Classic case of journalism with bias here. George let's be more objective. Maybe you should keep your piece ready if/when England fold again in the second innings and possibly go on to lose the match. It'd be interesting to see which angle you come from then.

  • on January 18, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Oh, please. Listen to yourselves. How is it biased? England did bowl well, at a batting lineup that wasn't anything like as feeble as England's. Nobody is saying the game is level - Pakistan are still favourites - but unlike India, England didn't wilt after a bad batting display and are trying furiously to haul themselves back into contention. Obviously, if they continue to cross-bat Ajmal, it doesn't matter how well they bowl, they'll still lose!

  • on January 18, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    I really hope Pakistan win this to stop this soapy romanticism of English cricket writers...

  • Long-Leg on January 18, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    Agree with 5wombats comment: It is "pleasing to see real good conversations between Eng and Pak fans." The advantage is clearly with Pakistan, but the match is nicely poised. A couple of England batsmen need to dig in and score big. Looking forward to day 3.

  • sk12 on January 18, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    (contd from before) From the ENg ODI series in India few motnhs back its quite obvious they were goign to struggle against spin. I know that was an ODI series and a different ball game - but it would still be foolish to brush off the fact that they were really woeful when the ball was turning. Most of their test batsman were playing in that series, there were men around the bat, they were looking to mainly survive not score quickly - things that happen in tests in the sub continent.

  • phoenixsteve on January 18, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    Intrigueing stage in this test match with Pakistan still on top. If England bat with the same clueless techniques shown in the first innings Pakistan could win this easily? However if England have finally shrugged off the 'slumbers' (or test lag) and can bat some where near their ability this test could still go their way. Thursday will be a crucial day and keeping the Pakistan lead to a minimum will be so important. Great test match cricket.... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • sk12 on January 18, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    No surprises here, Eng were always going to competetive with the ball. They are quite woeful while batting though, in slow low tracks. A lead of 125 is more than sufficient for Pak, cant see Eng batting for more than 3 sessions.

  • Aubm on January 18, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Not sure why people are saying this report is English biassed. He is saying Ajmal was helped because England are rubbish at playing decent spin, which is true. He is also saying that the English bowlers showed a lot of skill & determination to keep Pak to their current score, which is also true. IMO both English AND Pakistsan should have batted much better on this pitch.

  • Vista12 on January 18, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    I can see England winning this, their batting rarely fails twice in a test match. England to set Pakistan 300 odd to win, and unless they run out of time - they should still win this I am afraid. Lets hope I am wrong.

    Cook to get a 100 and Strauss a 50 to set up the innings...

  • on January 18, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    The unfortunate part about this article is that it is not only biased but also written from such high ground as if the writer were looking at that pathetic Pakistani team and saying " O.K. IT is our turn and we'll show you how to play cricket or even talk cricket", as his comments on Hafeez's press comments indicate. I have this piece as a unintentionally humorous, just read this "Graeme Swann, lacking the doosra that makes Saeed Ajaml such a dangerous bowler, instead gave the ball more flight and bowled a line wider of off stump than Ajmal. His figures stand no comparison, but Swann's performance was not much less impressive. Put simply, Ajmal had the substantial advantage of bowling to batsmen who appeared hapless against spin. " Wow. hahahahaha.

  • AjayLakshman on January 18, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    How the hell was Misbah out?! Anyone watching the Hawk-Eye reply could clearly see the majority of the ball struck him OUTSIDE the off stump. Bowden gave it not out because he felt he was hit outside off stump, so why wasn't it umpire's call?!

    Think about this. If an umpire says not out if the ball pitched outside leg stump, then the requirement for reversal is more than 50% of the ball has to be in the 'zone'. Similarly, if an umpire says not out on a lbw, the requirement is that > 50% of the ball has to be hitting the stumps for the decision to be reversed. Why wasn't the same rule applied in this case?

    Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous...

  • Rahulbose on January 18, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    Let me get this straight. When Eng gets 7 wicket for 280 odd on day 2 of a test match, it is showing great resolve and champion caliber fight. But when Pakistan bowls Eng out for a paltry 190 odd on day 1 of the same test, it is called self inflicted damage. Is this what goes for reporting on Cricinfo these days? Even Indian fans on cricket forums are less biased.

  • finch88 on January 18, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    Yes, this was a good bowling performance. But I don't think we should get too carried away when Ajmal dismantled our line-up yesterday. I don't think it matters whether Pakistan have a lead of 110 runs or 160 runs. What matters is how Cook, Strauss, Trott and Pietersen deal with the spinners. If those four batsmen can erase the deficit, I would back us to go on and post a challenging total. It's a big 'if' though. Pakistan are still fairly strong favourites.

  • JG2704 on January 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @SunnyD on (January 18 2012, 20:08 PM GMT) - The conditions meaning batting friendly conditions which Pakistan are much more used to than England. England's innings was also on a batting friendly pitch although our batsmen performed woefully and Ajmal in particular bowled very well. The difference is that Englands batsmen were poor. If Broad and co bowled at the England batsmen on day 1 they too would have got the team all out for less than 200. The difference is that Pakistan batsmen have batted very well , as you would expect of a team on the up.

  • JG2704 on January 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @wiiCricket on (January 18 2012, 19:00 PM GMT) - Well according to many on these boards Englands number 1 ranking is due to luck and is undeserved so surely cricket writers also have the right to interpret things how they want to. And@wc1992 on (January 18 2012, 20:28 PM GMT) If we're talking biased interpretations , why did Younis not review the decision if he was not out?

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    What's wrong with the conditions? Not everywhere on this planet you have dodgy grassbowls assisting pace bowlers only. There are sportier tracks like this that assist spin; assist pace bowlers that have Spine like Steyn; and test the batsmen if they have the skill to play spin and pace with some good measure. Awful piece from the author.

  • JG2704 on January 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    England bowled really well today and at times with little luck. Was impressed with Broad who seems to be maturing as a bowler and Tremlett was unlucky to remain wicketless and his economy reflects how well he bowled. Obviously the woeful batting display/Ajmal's brilliance might have put the game in an irretrievable state and even a lead of slightly over 100 will make Pakistan big favourites. I'm still worried about the batsmen but guys like Trott and Cook have it in them to not worry about any scoreboard pressure and can hopefully help England plod their way to safety which from day one's showing would be an excellent result.

  • DingDong420 on January 18, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    How well will England play Ajmal in the second innings? - The ball may even spin in the second innings.

  • Joninnorwich on January 18, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    We need to look for knocking over the tail cheap and then spend the next day and a half making 400. 300 to win on a wearing pitch will be too much for Pakistan

  • dmqi on January 18, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    Pakistan will have 120 runs lead at least. England will be all out for 300 runs, plus/minus 20. Pakistan will win by 5 wickets. Then the writer will say," Pakistan has improved a lot from last year". Do not forget that England was on loosing side when Oval test was abandoned. Sarjiah pitch is much better than the oval pitch to Pak team.

  • SamAsh07 on January 18, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    Pakistan are pretty much ahead, and if time requires, Ajmal will deliver his Teesras, bowl Pakistan to victory, England raise questions on his actions, controversy begins, it's all written already lol.

  • Beertjie on January 18, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    Not the best writng as you point out, @Omarrz. But I've come to expect it from the English contingent. Pakistan Zindabad (fromm an Oz-supporter!)

  • AcrossTheSeam01 on January 18, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    The english are embarassed like they're getting toppled by zimbabwe, but about 60% of the fans ready to watch this with full anticipation were expecting Pak to defeat or atleast tie with england in any case. But unfortunately Pakistan aren't the minnows here. There is no minnows in this game. You really can't say that because the No.2s (former No.1s) India are getting rolled over and crushed by the No.4 team Australia. Pakistan have had a massive rise through the last year, and they have played with minnows; But that was sort of like a settling in year for pakistan (They also drew with RSA and destroyed srilanka) So they are not minnows. Now they are proving that there limit is far beyond defeating and the english are just trying to make (useless) excuses.Pakistans batting is slow now but it is better than it has been in the past 7-8 years (somewhat excluding 2005).They've been slower than they ever were, but they've been one of the better sides too- I mean its worked for them

  • the_wallster on January 18, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    @SunnyD I think what makes a good cricket pitch is that there is an even contest taking place between bat and ball, and that both disciplines have an opportunity to take advantage. What we see here is neither turn, pace or bounce, hence, it is difficult to take wckets, and it is difficult to score runs due to the slow nature. Simples. Go and watch a cricket match son.

  • on January 18, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    what this writer and most of the english fans dont realise is this is not a typical subcontinental wicket...the wicket doesnt offer a lot of turn...and it will most likely remain that way...saeed ajmal got most of his wickets by bowling within the stumps rather than beating the english batsmen with extravagant spin...it was more of a 'you miss i hit' strategy...anything less than 250 on this pitch and pakistan will chase it down comfortably

  • salman_0902 on January 18, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    "We're still in a good position," Hafeez said afterwards, sounding as if he were trying to convince himself as much as anyone else.... I had to check the score again. it felt like England has the lead not Pakistan. or Hafeez plays for England. author writes like England bowlers took all the wickets and English batsmen gave away all their wickets. mate its good to praise your team but please be a little neutral.

  • cricket_lover777 on January 18, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Also , kudos to PCB and ECB for using the DRS technology in this series. As a cricket lover we all want fair decisions.

    *Still banging my head why ICC is not making it mandatory* Come ON PPL ABOUT TIME THAT U WAKE UP!!!

  • cricket_lover777 on January 18, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    I believe Pakistan have lost a vital opportunity to gain a massive lead. A 130-150 runs lead is not alot on this flat track for English batsmen, as its just about one good partnership. The match is still open , in my opinion.

  • AdnanSiddiqui on January 18, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    WoW ... This is biasing at its best ... # 1 team in the world playing against # 5 with so much determination, persistence & class that they will not let the #5 team to take 150 runs lead in first innings !!

    I agree England played really well today to bring themselves back in the match .. but come on, its like Bangladesh or Ireland is playing with England and writer wants to praise and encourage the minnow so that they can fight harder and avoid one sided matches !!

  • Lord.emsworth on January 18, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    Agree with Omarzz... Come on George! Be equal with the praise.. You say England bowled on a pitch with little pace, little turn, little bounce and little chance of any reverse-swing, Yet Pakistan bowled on the same pitch and had England reeling at 92 for 7.

  • iBilal on January 18, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    seriously man... seems like they have won the worldcup after reading your article.. settle down mate, settle down

  • Qasimmahmood82 on January 18, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    I think Pakistan lost the advantage a wee bit but still in the good acendensy, if they can strech the lead to 125/130 it's still gona be a handy lead but by no means a safe lead, the writter should have given a bit more credit to Pakistan rather than going all en and, thanks.

  • wc1992 on January 18, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    think what you think england ...here is secret its only first game second , all pakistan was doing is wearing english fast bowler down which they did, scoring rate or total was not an issue ... its long summer in desert. Well england no1 and pak no5 and they could was take 3 wicket the other 4 was just luck ..1 hafeez was never out and younis ... this will be the trend.. WHEN PAK batting they 30/70 they be given out so Pak will challenge umpire and lose just they way they have roules arround DRS(i love DRS)... but when Pak bowling 70/30 not given out so agin Pak will challange and DRS it will go with umpire .............. remember you have heard this from me first wait till this series get to the end

  • khurramsch on January 18, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    i think in the end it will come to batting of teams. england batting so deep that thy managed 200 after 5 down for43. pakistan lost benifit upto some extent but only 2nd inings of england will show it. about drs decision i think its hard but ok for me no problem.but the match report & other article are all english biased. swan tok 2 wickts after giveng almost doubl runs than ajmal but in report writer wrote ajmals 5 wickets were gifted. ok but what about swan's 2? misbah & hafez?arent they gifted?biased articles. yes england bowled deciplined but still they are way behind pakistan bowling which by english writers was gifted.

  • ARDjango on January 18, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Eng will not make 300 in second innings. Now, whether Pakistan can chase down 200 is a totally different story. I hope Pakistan Win this one.

    We will see Eng, and Aus winning at home and loosing outside in the sub-continent.

  • SirViv1973 on January 18, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    I'm really pleased with the way the bowlers came back at Pak today after the nightmare first day. If we can grab the last 3 wickets we need within the first hour then the top order follow Prior's lead from the first Inns then the game could really be back in the balance by stumps tomorrow. It could be that Pak's opening stand could prove more or less to be the difference in the first Inns. Big day beckons for both teams tomorrow!

  • kasyapm on January 18, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    Appears a highly biased piece. The author goes on and on about how the damage on the first day was 'self-inflicted' more than hard-earned by Pakistan and how well England bowled today. Indeed, it was a good, disciplined performance by the English bowling unit, but I would save such praises till the test ends. Facing the Pakistan spinners in the second innings (and the rest of the series) would show how they fare.

  • on January 18, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    'Little more than useful lead.....? Under tougher batting conditions, it is going to be a decisive lead. And Pak bowlers are by far the better. '

  • Long-Leg on January 18, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Good blog. I thought the England bowlers bowled really well today and have shown that they can take wickets on subcontinental style, low and slow batting tracks. It is no accident that England are No 1 test team. They have won 8 of their last 9 test series home and away and have proved that they are a hard nut to crack. Pakistan still have the advantage, but it all depends on how English batsmen respond after the shambles of their first innings. They surely can't bat so badly again - can they?

  • Long-Leg on January 18, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Good blog. I thought the England bowlers bowled really well today and have shown that they can take wickets on subcontinental style, low and slow batting tracks. It is no accident that England are No 1 test team. They have won 8 of their last 9 test series home and away and have proved that they are a hard nut to crack. Pakistan still have the advantage, but it all depends on how English batsmen respond after the shambles of their first innings. They surely can't bat so badly again - can they?

  • SunnyD on January 18, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    "England's perseverance overcomes conditions" conditions?? What's wrong with conditions? So, if a pitch doesn't not have high bounce, it is bad? Shame on the writer.

  • SunnyD on January 18, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Prediction: Pakistan will end up getting 110 runs of lead. England will make 250 odd runs in their second innings. Pakistan will easily get the target of 150 runs in the second innings

  • on January 18, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    I think England survived multiple calls of review alike Misbah. Perhaps the 3rd umpire was not much of a thinker late in the day.

  • 5wombats on January 18, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    @Nutcutlet - absolutely. It's a good match up; much better than the terribly one-sided Ashes and india series. Pakistan are showing what a solid side they are. They are playing by far the more sensible cricket. England messed up big time on Day 1 and are bringing pressure to bear trying to claw their way back but it may be too late. This game has been all Pakistan so far. SO pleasing to see real good conversations between Eng & Pak fans. @gab.pk - Pakistan are dominant here - no need for pessimism!

  • Yevghenny on January 18, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    Great bowling performance. They know what they need to do to get batsmen out, and when they get one another seems to follow. They can maintain pressure then crank it up for the new man. David Saker has done a magnificent job, but they are producing it in the middle

  • on January 18, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    This is why I hate Misbah. He lacks the courage to take risks and he is the reason why we have under 100 runs lead instead of 150+. Why would you play so defensive when your in total command? We need Umar Akmal in the game and should drop either Asad or Azhar. Pakistan will need Umar Akmal to makes in the next two games.

  • Nutcutlet on January 18, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    This was a mighty performance by England, especially the bowlers, who kept it tighter and tighter as the day wore on. Pakistan's run-rate started quite briskly but was barely 2 an over by the close. So far this test is living up to its high expectations, and the third day will be crucial in deciding the outcome. Supposing that England can clean up the tail quickly and the lead is no more than 130, then England needs a score of 370 + to give them a realistic chance of victory - or so I think. Pakistan have to be favourites as the match stands. It's so good to see a really competitive test once again!

  • Optimistix on January 18, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    What on earth is dislodging a desert supposed to mean?

  • wiiCricket on January 18, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Why reading this article makes me think that author is being biased? Each wicket taken by England is praised like a milestone only achieved once in a million years and each wicket taken by Pakistan is just mere luck? What am I missing? The Pakistani team, not even in top 3, is playing against a #1 ranked team. This contest should be judged fairly.

  • Omarrz on January 18, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    OMG, what an article.. full of England's praise. "England earned wickets through persistence, intelligence and skill." I mean how funny it is when Saeed took 7 in the first innings it wasn't considered a skillful act, rather suspicious!

  • gab.pk on January 18, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    It is a folly to write off this English team just after one day. Their batsmen might still be lacking the art to tackle spin with more control but the bowlers have again shown why England are the number one team in the world. An English side may have given up after a disappointing 1st day and after a dominant first wicket partnership but this lineup has more courage, discipline and togetherness to fight and overcome difficult situations. I don't think Pakistan would be able to gain a lead of more than 120 runs given the pathetic performance of our tailenders in the last few years.

    For Pakistan, I agree with Dobell that they might have missed the chance of not only winning the match but also the series.Younis and Misbah are the chief culprits for me as after building a plateform they were not able to transform it into meaningful innings. Further, Misbah must reassess his strategy in these situations. The drop in runrate after fall of Hafeez is nothing less than criminal.

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  • gab.pk on January 18, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    It is a folly to write off this English team just after one day. Their batsmen might still be lacking the art to tackle spin with more control but the bowlers have again shown why England are the number one team in the world. An English side may have given up after a disappointing 1st day and after a dominant first wicket partnership but this lineup has more courage, discipline and togetherness to fight and overcome difficult situations. I don't think Pakistan would be able to gain a lead of more than 120 runs given the pathetic performance of our tailenders in the last few years.

    For Pakistan, I agree with Dobell that they might have missed the chance of not only winning the match but also the series.Younis and Misbah are the chief culprits for me as after building a plateform they were not able to transform it into meaningful innings. Further, Misbah must reassess his strategy in these situations. The drop in runrate after fall of Hafeez is nothing less than criminal.

  • Omarrz on January 18, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    OMG, what an article.. full of England's praise. "England earned wickets through persistence, intelligence and skill." I mean how funny it is when Saeed took 7 in the first innings it wasn't considered a skillful act, rather suspicious!

  • wiiCricket on January 18, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Why reading this article makes me think that author is being biased? Each wicket taken by England is praised like a milestone only achieved once in a million years and each wicket taken by Pakistan is just mere luck? What am I missing? The Pakistani team, not even in top 3, is playing against a #1 ranked team. This contest should be judged fairly.

  • Optimistix on January 18, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    What on earth is dislodging a desert supposed to mean?

  • Nutcutlet on January 18, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    This was a mighty performance by England, especially the bowlers, who kept it tighter and tighter as the day wore on. Pakistan's run-rate started quite briskly but was barely 2 an over by the close. So far this test is living up to its high expectations, and the third day will be crucial in deciding the outcome. Supposing that England can clean up the tail quickly and the lead is no more than 130, then England needs a score of 370 + to give them a realistic chance of victory - or so I think. Pakistan have to be favourites as the match stands. It's so good to see a really competitive test once again!

  • on January 18, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    This is why I hate Misbah. He lacks the courage to take risks and he is the reason why we have under 100 runs lead instead of 150+. Why would you play so defensive when your in total command? We need Umar Akmal in the game and should drop either Asad or Azhar. Pakistan will need Umar Akmal to makes in the next two games.

  • Yevghenny on January 18, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    Great bowling performance. They know what they need to do to get batsmen out, and when they get one another seems to follow. They can maintain pressure then crank it up for the new man. David Saker has done a magnificent job, but they are producing it in the middle

  • 5wombats on January 18, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    @Nutcutlet - absolutely. It's a good match up; much better than the terribly one-sided Ashes and india series. Pakistan are showing what a solid side they are. They are playing by far the more sensible cricket. England messed up big time on Day 1 and are bringing pressure to bear trying to claw their way back but it may be too late. This game has been all Pakistan so far. SO pleasing to see real good conversations between Eng & Pak fans. @gab.pk - Pakistan are dominant here - no need for pessimism!

  • on January 18, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    I think England survived multiple calls of review alike Misbah. Perhaps the 3rd umpire was not much of a thinker late in the day.

  • SunnyD on January 18, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Prediction: Pakistan will end up getting 110 runs of lead. England will make 250 odd runs in their second innings. Pakistan will easily get the target of 150 runs in the second innings