Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai, 3rd day January 19, 2012

Pakistan spin England into debacle


Pakistan 338 (Hafeez 88, Akmal 61, Swann 4-107) and 15 for 0 beat England 192 (Prior 70*, Ajmal 7-55) and 160 (Trott 49, Gul 4-63) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England began the third day imagining they had done the groundwork for a momentous recovery befitting the No. 1 Test side in the world. They finished it with a demoralising defeat more in tune with their Asian disasters of old, as they suffered a second batting debacle against a resurgent Pakistan.

The end was swift. Pakistan secured a first-innings lead of 146 by lunch before dismissing England for the second time in 57.5 overs, needing only 15 for victory. Umar Gul's new-ball incursions eventually brought him four wickets and Saeed Ajmal finished with 10 for 97 in the match.

Everywhere you looked there was English angst: the continuation of Andrew Strauss' desperate batting form, the abject folly of Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell's appointment as Ajmal's bunny as he succumbed to his doosra in no time for the second successive innings.

Only in the closing overs of their bowling triumph did Pakistan's players show the excitable tendencies more associated with their cricket and when they did, the seasoned captain who has restored discipline, Misbah-ul-Haq, restored order with the stony expression of a Russian president surveying the march past of the troops from a wintry Moscow balcony.

England's mediocre record in Asia is well documented and they face a formidable task to regroup for the final two Tests of the series. There was much talk of how conditions in Dubai were tipped too heavily in favour of the batsmen. England have certainly disproved that one. This proved itself to be an excellent Test surface and Pakistan outplayed England from the outset.

Andrew Strauss came as close as he has to dissent during his imperturbable reign as England captain at his dismissal shortly before lunch. He was given out caught down the legside against Gul, a decision by umpire Billy Bowden that was upheld by the DRS. He walked from the outfield with a regal shake of the head. Actually, he allowed himself several regal shakes of the head. For a conservative sort like Strauss that was akin to rebellion.

There was definitely a woody sound as the ball curled past Strauss' bat and there was a brief delay before he called for the third umpire, although that was probably not as much a clue to guilt as proof of Strauss' determination that England should gather their thoughts before using the review system. Hot Spot revealed nothing - but then Hot Spot is not infallible. The third umpire, Steve Davis, as the guidelines state, saw "no conclusive evidence" to allow him to overturn Bowden's decision and he had no option but to follow such a course.

Pietersen was suckered. He has always been a liability on nought, a batsman on heat, desperate for his first run. 'Here it is,' invited Gul, banging in a short ball. 'Here you are,' responded Pietersen, hooking it to Abdur Rehman at deep backward square. The eerie calm of an empty stadium might undermine Pietersen more than most, because he has an ego that feeds off big crowds. Somebody suggested on Twitter that they should tell him that all the spectators have come painted as empty seats.

Ajmal could not be kept out of the picture for long. He bowled Bell first ball in the first innings and he was soon bamboozled a second time, so disorientated by his failure that he wasted a review in confirming the inevitable.

Trott stood firm for nearly two hours for 49 but even his dismissal was disappointing as he carved at a wide one to give Gul his fourth wicket. All that remained was for Pakistan's spinners to terrorise the lower order. Abdur Rehman was on a hat-trick after Stuart Broad holed out in the deep and Chris Tremlett's golden duck, caught at slip to complete a poor game. Rehman almost got it too, as James Anderson allowed a ball to slip by, perilously close to off-stump

Fittingly, though, the final moment, in the field at least, rested with Ajmal, smiling broadly as he lured Swann into error. He left brandishing the match ball towards the smattering of spectators in what has felt like a made-for-TV Test. Dubai's newspapers had promised a bigger crowd on Saturday. There won't be one now.

England had conceded another 50 runs on the third morning in removing Pakistan's last three batsmen. Adnan Akmal, one of seven brothers, three of whom have played Test cricket, chanced his arm to carry the game out of reach, advancing his overnight 24 not out to 61 before he was last out, stumped by three yards against Graeme Swann as he sought a single to farm the strike. If Mrs Akmal had managed to provide a full team, the Akmals would have constituted the most unpredictable side in the world, half cricket team, half circus troupe.

Saeed Ajmal, even more than Strauss, had reason to rue his misfortune as Hot Spot, as it tends to do from time to time, seemed to be taking a day off. "Nobody claims the DRS is perfect," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, had reminded everybody in Dubai on the previous day. DRS, according to Lorgat, had improved decision making to 99% accuracy. Ajmal got the 1% as the third umpire Steve Davis this time put small print ahead of commonsense.

Billy Bowden, on the field, adjudged Swann had dismissed Ajmal at short leg, the batsman called for a review, and TV replays showed no flick of the glove as the ball deflected off the pad to Alastair Cook at short leg. According to Sky TV, Davis then told Bowden that because Hot Spot was obscured he had "no conclusive evidence" to overrule his decision.

Long before the end, Pakistan had forgotten that. They had destroyed an England side, which has had few peers over the past couple of years. The series is alight.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    @ gerard periera! Pakistan have beaten england in a test in england and drawn with australia there. So only india can go down 7-0 in eng and aus. Even bangladesh can do better. And pakistan are clearly the best test team in subcontinent at the moment. I know that it is difficult for u to digest but it is the undisputable fact! Cheers!! Cricinfo plz publish !!

  • Martin on January 22, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    @CandidIndian on (January 22 2012, 09:50 AM GMT) - hallelujah! Thank God for sensible posters like you!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    @ gerard perera ! U must be very frustrated at india's 7/0 loss away but for ur information pakistan drew with australia in england and did beat england in one test in their backyard unlike ur over hyped team who suffered consecutive whitewashes(second one is about to be inflicted). So don't be ridiculous and accept that pakistan are easily the best test side from subcontinent at present!Cheers!

  • Gaurav on January 22, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    JG2704- Completely agree with you,this brotherhood logic is pseudo.India has not beaten Eng in a test match, Pak did,if we do beat Eng in coming future then celebration is justified(not the trash talking)Indian team has been quite competitive against Eng(even Aus) since 2001,but reality of today is we got thrashed badly,many fans failed to digest it, hence this reaction which is ludicrous.About this series,we might see a different approach from Eng, a more attacking one that is.Pietersen has to lift his game ,he is the best man if Eng takes that attacking approach.Cook and Trott can hold up one end.

  • Abdullah on January 22, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @ Posted by Gerard Pereira on (January 20 2012, 20:16 PM GMT)

    Please, do not compare the current Indian team and Pakistan team. Misbah may be on the wrong side of 30, but he is in the team due to his cricketing brain, not because he has 99 centuries. He has restored pride to Pakistan cricket. Ajmal may be over 30 too, but when it comes to spinners, that's nothing unusual. The difference between the current Ind/Pak teams is, that we have backup batsmen to replace the old ones, like Azhar Ali. Your youngsters may have done well against Eng in ODIs, but they flopped in foreign conditions. Azhar has made countless 50s in foreign conditions, and is definitely one for the future, Umar Akmal made a 100 against OZ where everyone failed. Pak keeps producing more fast bowlers and I'm sure we will see some good young spinners too after Ajmal has excited all cricket fans in Pak. The younger Indian batsmen should practice more on green-ish pitches so that they can cope with foreign conditions....

  • Muhammad on January 22, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    allright!!! Ive Had enough!!! INdians...cut the 'we congratulate our Brothers' blah blah !!! you are only saying this to spite 5wombats rightly says We would beat you hands down if we play with you InshALLAH.....England is a great team and im expecting a comeback from them BUT not one from INDIA against Aus........they are gonna get trashed 4-0 and then maybe come to India and make 300 in an ODI or something like that and show off.....@5wombats beginning to like you :D

  • Gaurav on January 22, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    g.narsimha-Well if trash talking is the yardstick, i think whether India lose or win there are lot more virulent comments from Pak as compared to Eng. Best example is the issue of DRS, first of all they rubbish stand of BCCI on DRS, and on other side they claim that BCCI misused DRS during WC semis when Sachin was given not out ,so if BCCI is capable of misusing DRS in their favor, why are they reluctant to use it?point is either way we are in firing line so why should we be happy just becoz victory comes against Eng,we will just get insults in return .In case of Eng, same guys which u mentioned that is Boycott , Nasir had appreciated India in the past, and if we do well they will do it in future too, same applies on Eng fans,while in case of Pak we will see hate comments on every article even if the topic has nothing to do with India,hope you are getting the drift.Only thing which should matter to us should be our victory and not Eng loss,this was not Europe vs Asia match.

  • karthik on January 22, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    @5wombats.. If it doesn't make sense for u 5, it doesn't mean that it don't hv sense at all.. There is every possibility that, "u r the five talking without sense.."

  • karthik on January 22, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    @5wombats.. Will u ask the same question if Indians r supporting England now..??

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2012, 2:14 GMT


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