Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day

Ajmal leads Pakistan's late rally

The Report by David Hopps

January 26, 2012

Comments: 186 | Text size: A | A

England 207 for 5 (Cook 94, Trott 74, Ajmal 3-67) trail Pakistan 257 (Misbah 84, Shafiq 58, Broad 4-47) by 50 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Saeed Ajmal races off in celebration of his third wicket, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day, January 26, 2012
It was Saeed Ajmal once again that prevented England's progress with three late wickets on day two © Getty Images
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Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, like few other Test batsmen, are masters of passive aggression. On the surface they might appear perfectly polite but beneath their calm exterior there is all manner of mental disintegration going on. Pakistan were so worn down by their impassive resistance that for a while they came close to madness. The moment they banished them from their presence, joy abounded once more.

Pakistan made life hard for themselves. They frittered away both their umpiring reviews in a matter of minutes as Trott's resistance drove them to desperation in the desert air of Abu Dhabi. They fondly imagined they had dismissed him twice because they were desperate to get rid of him. Then when he really did depart, Abdur Rehman finding unexpectedly big turn to bowl him for 74, their feelgood factor immediately returned.

England lost 3 for 9 in the last 10 overs of the day, all of them to Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan's 10-wicket destroyer in the first Test in Dubai. Few who saw Ajmal begin to run amok again, and the old ball suddenly turning sharply, would state with confidence that England will level this series. The Sheikh Zayed stadium had played host to an attritional but absorbing day and it possessed a devilish twist.

Cook fell six runs short of what would have been the most watchful of Test hundreds, lbw to Ajmal's doosra; Kevin Pietersen was caught at first slip by Mohammad Hafeez off pad and inside edge; Eoin Morgan followed via the same dismissal in the final over. For England it was all a blur. Cook and Trott might conclude that they can handle Ajmal from now on but nobody else can. On the England balcony Graeme Swann tried to read a David Downing novel but it was unlikely the words were going in.

Cook had initially been as stilted against Pakistan's spinners as a Jane Austen suitor asking for a first dance but he relaxed as his innings progressed. Trott also needed the fortune of several thick edges - so much so that when his bat rubber disintegrated he changed the rubber rather than change the bat.

But while Trott and Cook put up methodical resistance, in a stand of 139 in 50.4 overs, England prospered. At 166 for 1 they had edged to within 91 runs of Pakistan's first-innings total and just as importantly had eased the challenge for those still to come - theoretically at least - as Pakistan allowed their frustration to get the better of them and frittered away their DRS reviews with abandon.

Pakistan should have opted for DRS when Trott, on 22, was trapped on the back foot by Ajmal. But the bowler was ambivalent and the decision of Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford went unchallenged. Replays on the big screen showed the ball hitting leg stump, causing the captain Misbah-ul-Haq to engage Ajmal in a lengthy debriefing.

Oxenford has had an impressive series - eight decisions upheld and only one overturned at that stage - so experience had suggested he should not be readily challenged. But as Trott and Cook bedded in, Pakistan's logic departed.

Trott was on 49 when Ajmal struck him on the front pad; Pakistan opted for a review only for replays to show that the ball had hit his pad outside the line. Three overs later, Mohammad Hafeez turned one to strike his pad. Again, Misbah agreed to resort to DRS with a somewhat weary air and again replays showed the ball hitting him outside the line. Pakistan had exhausted their options.

Pakistan have rightly been praised for their orderly approach under Misbah's leadership but they falter when it comes to DRS. Adnan Akmal knows how to screech an appeal in the best family tradition - and he is the best wicketkeeper of the Akmal trio, too - but he is too inexperienced to be trusted with shrewd analysis of a bowler's line. Trott had escaped in the first Test in Dubai when Ajmal waved aside the chance to refer what would have been a stone-dead lbw decision. And, in the same Test, Umar Gul risibly demanded a review for a delivery that pitched miles outside leg stump.

It was the 100th occasion that Cook and Andrew Strauss had opened together for England. They were only the fourth Test pair to reach the landmark, and the first from England. But they had rarely experienced anything like this - a trial by spin in the desert. Here was a different challenge, an arid land of half-finished building projects and idle cranes where England must recover from 1-0 down in the series.

It was all too much for Strauss. He made 11 and was then stuck on the crease, propping half forward suspiciously, when Mohammad Hafeez had him caught off bat and pad at short leg. Strauss, whose poor run of form goes on, was intent on playing Pakistan's spinners off the back foot as much as possible but he departed shaking his head at an indeterminate shot.

England began the day with vigour, needing 16 balls to wrap up Pakistan's last three wickets. Pakistan added a single from Misbah to their overnight 256 for 7 before Stuart Broad had him lbw to end his obdurate innings on 84. Broad finished with 4 for 47 after one of his most consistent and mature bowling displays for England.

England were delighted by their rapid dismantling of the Pakistan tail, the only disappointment resting with the statisticians. Not since 1948 had an innings completed its course without intervention from the fielders but the last man, Junaid Khan, put paid to that as he edged his third ball, from James Anderson, to Swann at second slip.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 27, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (January 27 2012, 04:29 AM GMT) - agreed. india fans having a crack at us and us biting back is one thing - but I haven't seen any sign of that from excellent and worthy Pakistan fans. This is developing into a cracker, lets not spoil it with any big talk. Lets just settle down and enjoy a great contest! :-)

Posted by Purple-Patch on (January 27, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

Been impressed by Broad, top player and he could be the reason why England win this match. Pakistan as we have got to know are making it hard for themselves. If England get a 75-100 run lead then the game is Englands all day long even if they have to bat last. Will the Pakistani batsmen again prove that they are the weakest link or will they buck the trend? Great Game, Loving It!

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (January 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

@Haroon Ali

Still sure?

Posted by JG2704 on (January 27, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

@richardror on (January 26 2012, 19:36 PM GMT) Isn't it a bit too much of a luxury having a specialised batsman who doesn't bowl at all in at 7? What about swapping Morgan for Finn?

Posted by jimmi73 on (January 27, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Pakistan always lucky in bowling dept, and always in trouble in Bating, Pakistan produced only 2 reliable batsmen since 1996, Younis & Yusuf. As per my memory from 1996 to date we always win due to quality bowling, credit of last win against England is also goes to bowlers, fact is this Pakistanis batsman didn't play well, but it's England who played poorly specially in bating. As concerned to current match I believe England will play as per their capacity, as now they are settle in new condition and perform well , specially they need to deliver in batting department , and try to get the lead of 100 run , Misbah ul haq and company is not capable to score more than 250 against any quality bowler.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

I wish it will be a very very good morning for PAKS if Sayeed Ajmal can the turn what he did have yesterday afternoon. Best of luck and keep it going till BPL for Dhaka Glatiators.............We are waiting............28..29.....february..matches......keep rocking man..........BPL FAN

Posted by WildAmigo on (January 27, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

Well Played Cook and Trott. Pakistan always have the versatility in their bowling is the batting is which is concerned for us. In My opinion Misbah should have used other part time bowlers as we know that Azhar Ali enter in domestic as a leg break bowler.. so Misbah should have used him as well. and Younis, Shafiq and Taufeeq also bowl slow spin.We have seen Younis bowl medium pace as well ...Pitch behave very good for test cricket. Fast Bowlers got wickets so as spinners. So its testing times ahead for Batsmen.

Posted by Hafeez_Malik on (January 27, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

As the akmals are so vocal, badi hi khap dalti hogi, when they would play in there street.

Posted by Nigah on (January 27, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

David Hopps, May I know why you so praising England and always try to show that Pakistani player were frustrated? because they ask for DRS, remember England players are human not the angles ok. and you was not on ground that you can feel about frustration.

Posted by inzi_fan on (January 27, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

well done ajmal..... best of luck

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 27, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

There's been some big talk on here by some England fans that resembles some of the rubbish from Indian fans before the England tour. All that does is turn reasonable Pakistan supporters against all of us. To count England out as #1 simply for one poor match is silly, but no more silly than assuming that England have mastered these conditions after just one good partnership. Insulting the Pakistan bowlers doesn't do anyone any good either. I don't think that they are quite as good as some of the England batting has made them look but nor do I think that they are anything like third rate, especially in dry conditions. If you can't comment objectively then you shouldn't comment at all because you just look a fool.

Posted by 83zeeshan on (January 27, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

This is a passions game and i think so england batsman goes to the field without a home work.Now they will face a challenge from young team Pakistan.They are not acting a number 1 team.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 27, 2012, 4:07 GMT)

@cricket_fan_1980, I fear that you are over-estimating the Pakistan batsmen. This team is a bit similar to Imran's late 80's team, in which Miandad and Malik were class batsman and the rest were mediocre journeymen. Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azhar and Shafiq are honest workers but wouldn't get into any other Top 6 Test team, and they are an accident waiting to happen, and worse still they are followed by the worst tail in Test cricket. I'm braced for a "Hamilton'93" third innings: Pakistan to trail on First Innings by 50, then lose half their wickets before clearing the deficit. Problem is, this time there is no Waqar and Wasim to defend a very low total, and England's batsmen are better than Rod Latham and Blair Hartland. Pakistan are going to need both Younis and Misbah to score hundreds if they are to avoid defeat in this match.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

I think Pakistan will bowl out England as quickly as they did yesterday and i'm damn sure that England will be unable to get 257.........

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

This was an awesome performance overall by both teams! I was amazed by the entertainment. THIS MATCH IS STILL ALIVE.

Posted by SaracensBob on (January 26, 2012, 23:57 GMT)

Great to see that eveyone's enjoying this contest. 2 days in and all results are possible (tho draw's unlikely). It is all ifs and buts - if Eng lower order do what they did in last then a 100/120/ even 150 lead could be on but if Ajmal and Rehman get on a roll could be more like parity. Then how will Eng bowl? Broad & Anderson have looked good, can they keep it up? Will Swanny and Monty prove to be the dream spinning pair? Will we see another captain's innings from the Pak skipper? Sorry if this is reading like a trailer for a B movie but I'm excited. This is what test crickets all about. Great to see a genuinely competitive match and great to see Pakistan involved in it.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 26, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

I would probably award the honours for the day to England, but only by the slimmest of margins, and the momentum is definitely with Pakistan. When Cook & Trott were together I'm sure England would have been thinking 400+. Now they'll be thinking 300+ would be good. To get there they will need Bell to perform which is far from a given. I guess that survival was the main aim but I really think that Cook & Trott should have pushed the scoring rate a bit especially in the second session. The commentators were saying that the pitch wasn't doing much for spinners or seamers yet the batsmen plodded along at 2.5 an over. Another 30+ runs in that period could have made a big difference. Also Bell & Morgan shouldn't have just played for stumps. They didn't even try to score and that made it easy for the captain and the spinners, who really did bowl well. The batsmen looked like getting out every ball. A couple of attacking strokes and Misbah who is defensive by nature may have removed catchers.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

@cricket_fan_1980; been reading all your astute comments. SO nice to be part of such good spirited conversations. It's clear that both sets of fans, no matter how passionate - are nervous about their team! We England fans had a shocking flash-back to the "bad old days" in Dubai, so to say we are jumpy would be putting it mildly! But reading here Pakistan fans seem to be quite pessimistic, when really their team holds many aces. It's heartening when the fans of both sides acknowledge their teams vulnerabilities.

Posted by me54321 on (January 26, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Felt pretty down watching that last half an hour. However, I was thankful the wickets didn't start falling earlier, as there seemed no stopping the collapse last night. Hopefully players will be able to calm down a bit now, and it won't look so impossible for the England batsmen today. I have to believe that with the players we have left, we can get at least one reasonable partnership that will give us at least a 50 run lead. As for Morgan, this has got to be his last chance. As some others mentioned I would rather see Finn in the team, but at the very least swap Morgan with Bopara.

Posted by Aura123 on (January 26, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

I will working from home tomorrow :P

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

@David Hopps I am ok if this comment is not allowed, but If pakistan made mistakes with their DRS, can't you just mention that Umpires had their mistakes too for not giving out those which were definite.?

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 26, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

Some really thoughtful comments here. My worst fear is Haq33's analysis haha. It is true though, if Pakistan are behind, will their batting be strong enough to generate a difficult target for England? Many past performances do point towards our bowlers being the heroic ones and our batsmen often letting us down. 5wombats has an analysis that is matching my thoughts about this game, so I agree with him overall. However, I feel England may be strong enough to dominate and really make a belter out of this game. A lot lies in the hands of Matt Prior tomorrow morning, and ofcourse from past experience, Bell does have the class to deliver. Much renewed love for Test Cricket! All hail the mightiest of formats! I say scrap T20's and increase tests from next year.

Posted by Ozzbozz on (January 26, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Well pretty dissapointing batting effort from the Pakistani tail but not entirely unexpected, a return to form if you want. Also cut out the comparisons between Ajmal and Swann not even had an innings each yet in this game, I'm still a bit baffled by the selection of our second spinner(Rehman) he's average at best and only there because they won't pick Kaneria due to politics though he does annoy for the amount of crappy appeals he makes, almost as bad as Broad, he's always bemused when he dosen't get a wicket every ball. Evens game just now but depending on how rabbit(Bell) and master batsman(Prior) do and England get a lead of around 100 then its theres, but only 20 or 30 then it will be tatsy. Awsome test match nicely poised can't wait!

Posted by zaf100 on (January 26, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Absorbing cricket England still 50 runs short of Pakistan total but only five wickets left and Pakistan spinners in full flow, what a mouth watering day ahead of us. Yesterday I wrote second day will decide which team will win but I guess we are still not sure third or fourth day will decide the outcome of this match. Saeed Ajmal late triple strike slightly tilt the match in favour of Pakistan because England have to bat last. I still believe Pakistan can Win this match and series if they hold their nerves. Tomorrow is Friday and hopefully more support for Pakistan will lift the team. Misbah's captaincy will play a crucial part tomorrow because if he stays positive and have attacking field placing Pakistan will do well. Make life difficult for English batsmen by bowling wicket to wicket that should be the strategy of Pakistan bowlers. Seamers needs to lift their effort as well because asking spinners to take twenty wickets is a big ask. Good luck team Pakistan make nation proud. :-)

Posted by Coastaltown on (January 26, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

Shabbasus, Nutcutlet, 5wombats talking sense here. Speaking as an england fan I find some of the england comments downthread embarrassing, show some respect. Pakistan are an excellent side, and this is a belting match.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 26, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

no problems with ajmals action this week, he has only got 3 wickets not 7, that's probably the difference

Posted by haq33 on (January 26, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

Sorry to my Pak friends, as much as I delight in seeing the Pak bowlers fight 1990's style with such bloody minded determination and self-belief as they have done today, I think deep down we all must surely know that our batsmen will let them down in the second innings. It is obvious to me that if England get even just a 30 run lead, we will be bundled out for 150-160 and England will just do enough to knock off the 120-130 for a deserved victory. Our batsmen are just not good enough at high level test cricket....yet; which is a shame because our bowlers are and always will be. I predict an England win but our bowlers will fight them to the wire desperately defending 120-odd - will make for agonising viewing.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

@chrisu on (January 26 2012, 20:11 PM GMT) - nicely put. We thought Morgan was a bit sus against pace/ok Vs spin. But maybe he's a bit sus all round. Sure - there was pressure - but we've seen him cool as a cucumber in short formats. His technique isn't great. Mind you, Bell has great technique, but Ajmal was tying him in knots as well. We were very pessimistic last night - but, as @JG2704 points out, at least England have now shown they can at least be competitive. Here I have Pakistan still ahead. With England batting last on this surface - anything over 150 in 4th Innings might be impossible. Expect Pakistan to score 250 in their 2nd dig - so England need to score 350+ in their 1st dig to give themselves an edge. That's another 150 runs. Very difficult against this quality bowling. Still, another 100 runs gives England a lead of 50 and the bowlers a chance to exert pressure. Be interesting to see how Pakistan might handle the pressure of being behind. But still a long way to go.

Posted by explorer76 on (January 26, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

We can argue about how much advantage england has or doesn't have at this stage. However it is quite clear that this is turning out to be a hard fought match. Not team can claim to have dominated the other, unlike some rather one-sided matches that we have seen in other parts of the world recently.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 26, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

@richardror, my comment was specifically in response to an earlier comment made by somebody on this thread, who suggested that the top 4 Pakistani batsman, other than Misbah and Younis, are mediocre. I was just pointing out that by that analysis and definition, it would only be fair to call the top 4 of Eng (other than Cook and Trott) "highschoolers" purely because in this series the top 4 "mediocre" Pakistani batsmen have overwhelmingly outperformed their 4 counterparts. Therefore, I think you caught my post out of context. Sure, Bell is a quality batsman and he has performed well in 2011, but in 2 innings here he has not only failed, but looked extremely bewildered. It is best to measure players in the context of a current series, otherwise we would always be praising players for past laurels and miss the significance of their performances in the games at hand. I hope you see my point.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

What a lovely piece of fast bowling by Broad. He has indeed come a long way (can't forget 6 sixes in the WC match). He has really matured as a player and seems very focused. However, what I don't understand is that why aren't the Pakistani batsman reacting to this wonderful art that Broad is producing. If anyone in the Pakistan team has noticed, most of the deliveries that Broad is troubling them with, are FULL & SWINGING. In order to negate the swing, first of all they need to be told to stand at least one step out of their crease. That will force Broad to change his length and thus, most likely take the LBW out of the equation (considering the height from which he delivers the balls). They should learn from Trott & Cook, who played the bowling of Ajmal, rather than his reputation from the previous match. If England takes a lead of 75 runs, that'll be very handy. On the contrary, if Pakistan gives England 275 - 300 to chase, English batsman will have their hands full. :)

Posted by Dannov747 on (January 26, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

Well bowled Broad. Future of the English attack. That said, the batting has been disappointing. Strangely, our batsmen piled up 500 + totals against Pak in swinging wickets but can't get past 300 here. Strauss, Morgan and KP have all been quite disappointing..

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

after losing those 3 quick wickets i think england will settle for just 100-120 lead ... i guess its plan be for them now since their first plan of an innings win took a hit

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (January 26, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

Wombats - you;re only just starting to have your doubts about Morgan? After his 'honymoon' period where he scroed a test century and was full of confidence from his ODI/T20 form he;s gone downhill pretty much. He doesn;t have the temperament of a test player for me I;m afraid. There's plenty of young up and comers that should be given a fair crack now. Morgan;s had 18 months to prove himself and come up short massively at crucial times. Anyway, what an intriguing contest this is! Absolutely perfectly poised. We're going to get a result unless the groundsmen concretes over the track tomorrow and Pak could easily win or England could easily win. GAME ON!

Posted by AcrossTheSeam01 on (January 26, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

@HumanhHoneyBadger Are you seriously dumb? 207-5 isn't a good score at the end of days play. When pakistan were 256-7 everyone said England have bowled extremely well and Pakistan collapsed once again. Yeah this ''3rd rate spin attack'' managed to turn your 166-1 to 207-5 in 7 overs. Pakistan is the best team in the subcontinent at the moment with india losing 3-0 and 4-0 and srilanka losing 3-1 etc. Pakistan drawed south africa, won new zealand and won sri lanka, BESIDES the other minor teams they played. Besides, if Englands great bowling attack can restrict Pakistan to 257, Pakistans ''3rd rate'' one should let england get to 500 with ease, no?

Posted by chrisu on (January 26, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

All this talk about who should bat at six for England. I think Morgan should get his confidence back in the counties but no need to panic. England have the 18 th best test batsman ( currently above Ponting and Sehwag ) batting at number 7! Give Prior the credit he deserves and pick another pace bowler.

Posted by richardror on (January 26, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

Cricket_fan1980, saying that is ridiculous. Bell averaged over 100 in 2011 and you compare him to a high schooler? To be honest I think Prior, Broad and Swann will get more than Ali, Shafiq and the two openers.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

today is friday and we are expecting a very good croud ,3rd day will be one the most exciting and one of the most crucial day of the series and will decide where this series is aheading ,if pakistan had 5,6 overs yesterday thn its all over england batsman,it seems now test cricket is on the peak in Desert...

Posted by landl47 on (January 26, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

England had 11/12ths of a really good day! Scuttling Pakistan's last 3 wickets for 1 run was a dream, then Cook and Trott put on 139 and even after Trott was out Cook and KP took the score to 198-2. Then Bam! Bam! Bam! England lose three wickets in the last half-hour and suddenly the match is dead even again. Losing Morgan just before stumps was a particular blow; at 207-4 England were still in a better position, but 5 wickets down and 50 behind is another story. I think anything over 150 will be very hard to get on this wicket batting last. Still, it's a great game and congratulations to whoever prepared the wicket; there's something in it for everybody and there will definitely be a result.

Posted by richardror on (January 26, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

@glance_to_leg. I agree, I think it would be best for Morgan and Prior to switch places to ease the pressure on Morgan until he finds form and it would be a test for Prior. England are still have the upper hand with batsmen still left to build a strong lead, and it is possibly for Pakistan to collapse in their next innings.

Posted by SirEngland on (January 26, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

I don't expect cricinfo to post this. Is umpire Bruce Oxenford incompetent or what? How come marginal decisions against Pakistan are given out and obvious ones against England not?

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 26, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

With umpires like SImon Taufal, Aleem Dar and Raoof, you do not need many review options but with others as soon as you have misused the two, then u have to do some extra job to get opposition out. Pakistan have used both of their reviews where should not have and they didn't ask for a review when it was needed. Match is in the balance now and a lead of 50 wouldn't be a big problem when England have to bat last. A target of 250 will not be easy for England with Ajmal and Rehman operating on both ends. For Pakistan it will heavily depend upon Hafizs innings.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

This match become evenly poised now..........both tems have a great chance 2 win.....my wishes are with pakistan......Go pak Army.....we are with u......

Posted by doctornikki on (January 26, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

Test cricket at its best...Morgan and KP failed again and Bell didnt look at all to average 100 last yr the way he was bamboozled against ajmal..For me Cook was the best today...Hafeez has matured and his allround skills are impressive...Great to see Pakistan continuing its recovery as one of the top cricketing nations...no other team doesnt get to play in its home or had to go such off the ground saga..

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

@andrew watson - james taylor does look a decent player of spin but he had a bad time in bangladesh on the A tour so has hardly advanced his case. and jonny bairstow could barely lay a bat on the spinners in india ODIs. but i share your doubts about morgan against the spinners in test matches. we will see.

Posted by Team12 on (January 26, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

3rd Day will be very important. Pitch should ease out and Eng will probably get around 400. (Bell and Prior should rule). Pak need to be aggressive in 2nd Innings. Other wise they might fall by the way side and who know Eng can come out on tops. Either ways, this is shaping out to be an excellent Test Match..

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

@criclket_fan_1980 .. I fear you may be somewhat blinded by partisanship in defending Pakistan's use of DRS in this game. Any calm conclusion is surely that they made matters hard for themselves with bad choices, and have done so all series. Stats show that Pakistan have a poor record on DRS - perhaps the poorest of all test nations, although I have not double hecked this. Stats also show that the umpires have had a splendid game (that's if you accept the accuracy of Hawk Eye).

Incidentally, it's Hopps not Hobbs - no relation to Sir Jack.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

@5wombats on (January 26 2012, 13:30 PM GMT)Ctd from the previous thread. I actually feel better now in that - whatever happens from now on - at least we have improved with the bat and managed to reduce Paks total by 80 runs comp to the 1st test. I know I sound like a broken record but they've got to bring in a 5th bowler for the next test as surely Finn would do more damage with the ball than Morgan with the bat. By having 6 in form batsmen,it would/should mean that we have a longer batting line up and score higher totals but when your numbers 4-6 are out of nick all it means to me is that the 6th batsmen is taking up the space of an in form bowler who could be doing some damage. I obviously hope we win from here,but if we don't I hope that Geoff Miller opens his eyes although it wouldn't surprise me if he just brought in Bopara for Morgan which I'd say is avoiding the issue. Miller intimate that he would play a 5 man bowling attack if the sit warranted it. What better time than now?

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

tomorrow's first session will be crucial for both teams AS NEW BALL IS AVAILABLE AND NOT YET TAKEN and last two days morning session's belonged to bowler's.

Posted by PlaySafeus on (January 26, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

Some odd comments in here, usually we don't see match result predictions under Match bulletins especially when at least half match is still there to play.

I am loving this contest, England batsmen really grind hard and played to their strength and lovely bowling by Pakistan. Much depend on Matt Prior, the way he played in first test, his wicket will be most critical and may become major factor in outcome of this game.

Watching this series is a real joy, and hope this joy continues with competitive cricket. May better team succeed.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26 2012, 12:23 PM GMT) -Sorry bud but I think Ajmal has been better than Swann in the series so far.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

@khurramsch on (January 26 2012, 13:19 PM GMT) - But then there is the quality of opposition that you also have to take into account. Ajmal is probably bowling better than Swann at the moment - as is Monty - but to say he is way better is stretching it. PS , You are right in that our (meaning the fan in general's) tendency is to praise our bowlers when we take wickets and criticise our batsmen (rather than praise the opposition bowlers) when they take wickets

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

@peshawarwazir on (January 26 2012, 14:19 PM GMT) - Hang on a minute, Wasn't Gul your main man in the 2nd inns of the 1st test? Also did a bit with the bat in that match too. A bit fickle there

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

@Phil Sutcliffe on (January 26 2012, 15:45 PM GMT) I have been making the same point re 5 bowlers for quite some time

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

@richardror on (January 26 2012, 16:15 PM GMT) and yorkshirematt on (January 26 2012, 15:11 PM GMT) I'm sure folk do live in their own little comfort bubble sometimes. To me Australia are probably being flattered by how bad India have been. Before that they were superb to come back to draw the SA series but poor when they drew vs NZ.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

Once again the main Destroyer, Saeed Ajmal, does it again today. He is falling into this habit of clinching quick wickets after his first. Way to go Pakistan!... We are with U !

Posted by JG2704 on (January 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

Well this is a great game of cricket as most point out and by and large all good , constructive comments. To bowl Pak out so quick after the tail wagged for them in the 1st test was a real boost.Then Cook and Trott's partnership seemed to be taking it firmly in Engs direction , then the cluster of wickets towards the end and who knows whose day it is? The first worry is that it would not be a result pitch but it looks like we'll either be squaring the series of going 2-0 down. 2 positives for England have been the way we polished off the Pak tail and that our top order batsmen - well 2 of them - have showed a marked improvement. Still a way to go and this test has had so many twists and turns so far. Regardless of anything , I hope Eng have proved to at least be competitive now.

Posted by hhillbumper on (January 26, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Morgan can't play test cricket lets face it. Don't tell the selectors though we might end up with another Saffer in the test team

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

if buts and maybes... this is test cricket....

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

I think pak fast bowlers were only specatators on the field .They must have to fire if PAK wants to lift the trophy .Saeed again was splended and I think if they had taken early DRS on Trott lbw pakistan will be on pilot seat.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Wow !!.. what an end of a day when pak was totally out on context they came hard in last moment and makes this match more intense - super fight back by pakistan.. test cricket at its best

Posted by KashifMuneer on (January 26, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Fascinating match but England are still ahead currently and will be looking for a 50 run lead but the first seesion could change everything (I hope) and scores will be almost level in the 1st innings. We can definitely expect a result from this game. Pakistan could "rest" Azhar Ali and play Asad Shafiq at 3 and bring Umar Akmal in but I would persist with the current batting line-up that has done so well for Pak for the last 18 months. Also I think its safe to say that its not a placid pitch and a run-fest. I just hope Pak set England at least 250 in the final innings to chase.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

@shabbasus & @Nutcutlet - friends - dead right. This is Test Match cricket as it was meant to be played; my fathers game and his father's before him. And like all the great games - this one will come down to character, will power and the determination to win. Love it.

Posted by bplusa on (January 26, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Test Cricket at its very best. 3rd day of the match is very important. If Pakistan manage to get England out inside 300 , it 'll set up a real nail bitter. Don't forget England has to bat last in this match. Good luck to Pakistan.

Posted by glance_to_leg on (January 26, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

A splendid hard fought day. What wonderful cricket. BUT question marks must really be hanging over Morgan. He looks completely out of his depth at the moment; it is a shame, because he clearly has a lot of talent, but he looks very fidgety and nervous at the crease. KP is not much better. While my sympathies lie with attritional batsmen in test cricket, I do wonder whether both these two should not be encouraged to play a more aggressive and attacking game. However, I feel really sorry for Bopara. Absolutely beautiful bowling by Broad, and exciting spin attack from Pakistan. Congratulations to both sides.

Posted by pigeotto99 on (January 26, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

why do people insist on australia as top in the world? there beating a terrible india team, drew at HOME to nz, got hammered at HOME to england a year ago, on form but thats it. England might not be playing there best, but our attack has proved to be the best pace attack taking wickets on unhelpful surfaces, broad has proved his new maturity with superb seam bowling, anderson is a class act home and away now. Ajmal is the best spinner in the world, but as an attack englands is superior. The batting has been the dissapointment.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

I think if there would be another 1/2 hour play left today than Pakistan would be batting 2morrow morning. Saeed Ajmal & Abdul Rehman were all over England Batsmen.The first session of 3rd day is very crucial for both teams.Pakistan has got an edge as England will bat last.

Posted by Guernica on (January 26, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Yep Morgan, for all his one day excellence is starting to look out of depth in test cricket. He is supposed to be one of the best players of spin in the side. I hope he proves me wrong, but at this rate he may not get many more chances. Perhaps time to look at Bopara (again), Shah (if he hasn't burned his bridges), Taylor or even Samit Patel in this position.

Posted by cric_fan__ on (January 26, 2012, 17:02 GMT)

BOTH TEAMS FIGHTING HARD. THIS IS GREAT TO TEST CRICKET AND EXCELLENT FOR CRICKET LOVERS TO WATCH. BOTH TEAMS HAVE THEIR + AND - . A VERY TENSE, EXCITING FINISH ON THE FIFTH DAY IS EXPECETED....

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 26, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

Also, kind of hilarious how LillianThompson is saying Pakistan has 4 mediocre batsmen other than Younis and Misbah when it is absolutely clear to anyone following this series that Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azher and Asad have actually completely and comprehensively outperformed Morgan, KP, Bell and Strauss in this series. And when I say comprehensively, I mean REALLY comprehensively. Just follow the stats, see how much they scored, actually watch their innings and see which batsmen seemed more troubled. So, then by your definition, Bell, KP and Morgan should actually not be fit to play test cricket to be totally honest. Asad made a sparkling 50, Bell and Morgan look like highschoolers for the 1 or 2 they made in 3 innings now facing 10 - 15 balls they had no clue about. Really, I think you need to reconsider when and where to use the term mediocre. lol. :)

Posted by Tlotoxl on (January 26, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

I'm reading "England will lose because they have to bat last " a lot - you are of course assuming that England will need a significant total - It is far from impossible for England to bat another couple of sessions, get a 150 lead and Pakistan folding the same way England did last test, after all Bell is a great bastsman averaging over 100 last year, Prior did well in the last test with 70, and Broad and Swann are both capable batsmen that could quickly put on 30 or 40. (If not more Broad did get 170odd against Pakistan in the home series)

Posted by MohammedAliM on (January 26, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Ok im gonna wake up at 6am to watch this.... I dont believe england will get past 250 and to those who think pakistan have a weak batting line up have not been watching pakistan for the last year and they beat england by nearly a whole innings last match.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 26, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Before we make a big deal about Pakistan using the DRS incorrectly, it is worth pointing out that every team does that time and again, and in all honesty, there were some clear decisions not given by the umpire. I think at times like that, if you have the gall to criticize the player for mis-reading a DRS then you should equally catch out the umpire, what do you think Mr Hobbs? Well, a nicely poised game. England have come back strongly since their overnight position. The key is Matt Prior. If he clicks, Eng could pile on another 100 or so runs, but I don't think a 50 lead is enough for them. I still think without a lead of at least 100, they may struggle in their own second innings. I doubt Eng can chase over 180 or 200 in the 4th innings with the quality of spin bowling that Pakistan has on offer. As well as Trott and Cook played, they looked like they would get out at least once every 15 balls they faced. Beefy, Ramiz and Athers repeatedly accepted that Ajmal was exceptional...

Posted by reality_check on (January 26, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

@HumanhHoneyBadger. It ain't over until it's over so don't celebrate yet. I said after the first match that Pak should not get over excited as England will bounce back. Same in reverse is also true. Don't count Pakistan out yet or you will surely eat the humble pie at the end. BTW... if it was 3rd rate spin attack England would not have lost the 1st match and would have been 207/1 by now in the 2nd match.

Posted by rivernile on (January 26, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

How can Pakistan go from 256 / 7 to 257 ALL OUT?!!! Who writes this script?? I believe that many of us were expecting them to go past 300! I hope that Ajmal, Gul and company will be able to keep the English batsmen in check. Best wishes green.

Posted by Aura123 on (January 26, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Its like 11 round boxing game , attack vs counter attack , so exciting and gripping , real treat to watch this game. Come on Pak

Posted by subbass on (January 26, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Great Test match, very hard to pick a winner. England maybe slight favs but a lot depends on Prior and/or Bell. And Bell is not picking Ajmal one bit. But yes a 50 run lead for England would be very useful, it would only take one good partnership of 100 runs to take the game away from Pakistan.

Posted by cric_monster on (January 26, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

I think England would need to post a first innings lead of atleast 75 runs to neutralize the impact of batting fourth...the wicket is getting abrasive and the ball might start turning square on day 5. For Pakistan, 1st session tomorrow might well decide the outcome...if they bowl England out for less than 300, they will be in the driving seat. Overall you have to say though, after 2-3 rather boring months...a great test match is finally on offer!

Posted by X.2. on (January 26, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

will pakistan take the new ball tomorrow morning ?

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

@ cricket0007 I agree that whoever suggested that the Pakistan bowling is third rate is talking nonsense, England's top order just didn't throw their wickets away like they did in the last test. Unfortunately, this game has shown that Eoin Morgan still isn't up to playing test cricket, I feel that James Taylor or Jonny Bairstow, who have better records in first class games, should be given a chance. As for Australia being the world's best team, the fact that they're easily beating a hopeless Indian team on home soil is no proof of that. Until they go back to England, or to the subcontinent, we can't tell how much progress they have made.

Posted by JGKid on (January 26, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

@ Cricket0007, not sure how you think Australia are better than England, especially given the last two Ashes series, their 47 all out innings in SA and their recent loss to NZ!!!! On recent form England are still the number 1 test side (no one comes close to their record over the last 9 series) but they are being tested to the limit by this Pakistan side who are definitly on the up. This Abu Dhabi test is turning into a great advert for Test cricket.

Posted by richardror on (January 26, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

@cricket0007 If Australia were better than England then they would not have lost to England 3-1 in the Ashes (each victory by an innings). England are still definitely ahead in this game because of their bowlers ability to bat and Prior of course is a complete batsmen which should gain them a respectable lead keeping Pakistan on the backfoot.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

It needs guts to face Pakistani spinners in full flow.The Englishmen lack this element.Match may look to be evenly poised but remember England have to bat forth.

Posted by ilyas on (January 26, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Phew - a tough days cricket for both sides and my prediction of England not batting again looks to have gone out of the window! If England get 350 we are in trouble as Pakistan's batting is the weak point. Our seamers have to perform like the England seamers did as we cannot rely on our spinners all the time. Gul seems to be hit or miss (mostly miss these days!!). I still maintain Rehman is an average bowler even though he bowled a beauty to get rid of Trott. Ajmal is the main card for Pakistan but he cannot do it himself. Come on you quickies show some skill and fire tomorrow morning!!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

now hopefully they should not take much lead ................................

Posted by keptalittlelow on (January 26, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

If Pakistan show discipline tomorrow morning the English innings could be wrapped up quickly, English batsmen will be anxios to gain a big lead and that will make them tense. Pity Gul and Junaid are not playing their part.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

@ saleem sabir. i don't do the headlines, but yes i certainly did have another story in mind half-an-hour before the close. it was a great pakistan fightback, but none of us like to have to rewrite at the last minute - whichever side forces us to do it! having another story in mind is nothing to do with me being english though, even if you think it is, it has simply been a wonderfully absorbing and shifting match. as for pietersen he averaged 70 in tests in 2011, and has played only 3 innings since.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

I dont know why people here think that if England scores 100 more runs then they will be the clear favorites, why? Lets suppose if they score 100 more runs, they will get to 310 lets say! what would happen then? a lead of over 50? And if Pakistan plays well enough and get to a score of around 280, that will give them a target of around 230, or even 200 would be enought for england on a pitch like this in the 4th innings against the likes of Ajmal, Rehman and Hafeez! Game is on guys and its even steven right now!

Posted by Fazal123 on (January 26, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Any ideas when Pakistan should take the 2nd new ball? I think only when into the tail or when Prior gets out. Should be an interesting days cricket 2mrw..

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

Hard to pick the winners out of this match. Its 50/50. Well done to both teams to make Test cricket the true talent of all cricket, not cheap 20/20 cricket. Hear, hear!!

Posted by shabbasus on (January 26, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Forget T20, Champions league, IPL and all other forms of colored cricket, this is the exact type of cricket that makes it the best game... Batsmen in command, the bowling pressure mounting, wickets all of a sudden...match turns around.. absolutely no words to describe this fantastic game...well played , both England and Pakistan.. I can watch this type of cricket all day long, doesn't matter who wins but the beauty of cricket is beyond thinking...TEST CRICKET at it's best.!!!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 26, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

It's time to rub the hands together - the way people in some cultures do when they have just beeen told they've come into a spot of money. And what's to rub hands for? - a superb test match boiling up to a terrific climax! I have the sides dead even after Day 2, and I suppose they were after Day1 as well, now I think about it. Now for Day 3: in England's favour is a tail that can wag, especially if someone comes off & knocks the spinners about; in Pakistan's favour, canny spinners who have tasted blood and are hungry for more. What sort of lead would give an advantage to England? IMO, a hundred would be decisive; seventy an advantage, and forty is par. Then it will depend on England's attack keeping the lid on Pakistan's batting. If England has to chase 200 in the 4th innings, then that will mean that we are destined to witness a very close finish. This test may well be won & lost by captaincy and the character of the players who have the final parts to play in this drama. Gt. Stuff!

Posted by X.2. on (January 26, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

pakistan should get them out before 300!

Posted by andrewstrausssmassiveforearms on (January 26, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

what a shame england lost those quick wickets at the end, we really need to get a lead approaching 100 - lets see if the tail can wag tomorrow...

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

this test match turns to be excellent test match but i think if England leed is only 50 than Pakistan will have advantage as england have to bat 4th and 250 will not b easy to chase

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

A really Good and competitive test Match played compared to the one in Adelaide , Hope pakistan wins the match , but ENGLAND are a really good side who can compete in Subcontinental conditions might not be the undisputed NO 1 but they are the current best test Team in the world and well done pakistan, From an INDIAN

Posted by big_al_81 on (January 26, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

How refreshing it is to see so many people just enjoying a good test match between two well-matched teams. Hooray! I'm not sure I agree with SaleemSabir about English writers and commentators needing to find something to criticise in Pakistan - they were falling over themselves to attack England and praise Pakistan after the first Test. But I think Saleem's right to ask the question about why so few people are questioning KP. He really is a liability in the team in this series, he simply can't play spin right now and everyone knows it so at least consider dropping him and playing an extra bowler or different batsmen. That said, I have no more confidence in Morgan than KP right now and in other conditions I'd play KP. If we choose bowlers for particular conditions, why not batsmen, or at least the team balance? And please don't let anyone suggest he's worth keeping for his bowling! I know he turns it more than most but he misses the length more than most too!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Dear Cricinfo

My "money" still on Pakistan, but praise be to Cook and Trott. Got straight over the England terror at being Number 1 which afflicted the batting in the first test. Now, are the others still terrified or is it form? - Strauss long-term and maybe finished, Morgan long-term because he's probably not good enough, Pietersen and Bell just suddenly lost it? I'm probaby still arguing for five bowlers in Test 3 as a good bowler (Finn?) will be worth more than a batsman who's going to be out for 20 (Morgan first in the current overlong queue of contenders).

All the best

Phil

Posted by liaqathussain on (January 26, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

great test cricket, pak fought back well,, still england's noises just ahead with depth in batting,

any lead will be crutial so game on,,

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

tomorrow 1 more wicket in first 5 overs and we are back in the match come on Pakistan come on ajmal you are the man.. :D.. but seriously lemme tell u england is not going to get any lead.. they will be bowld out by our trio because the ball spins alot in the morning as we have seen on the first day and today as well

Posted by Capround on (January 26, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

@ HumanhHoneyBadger, Dude, it is the pleasure of Pak's 3rd rate spin attack to provide match practice to Eng before the subcontinental tour. Hope Eng enjoyed the friendly practice match in Dubai last week. England's last five will get a 100 because of a strong tail? Do you even know, that in the last 10 overs, England added 9 runs for the loss of 3 middle order batsmen? I say England do not get a first inning lead.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

once pakistan bat misbah ul haq will bat till the end of 5th day and it will be a draw lol

Posted by Elliott_Tree on (January 26, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

@Irfan Ahmed on (January 26 2012, 14:35 PM GMT), re. Swann & Ajmal - absolutely right, they'd both walk into any other team at the moment. It's a treat to be able to watch them in the same game. Can't wait for tomorrow's play to start - there are going to be three more 'crucial' sessions ;o)

Posted by yorkshirematt on (January 26, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

@cricket0007 Is that the same australian side that were bowled out for 47 or whatever it was in SA and lost at home to to NZ as recently as December? They do play spin well, but struggle against genuine swing bowling, as we saw in their recent deries and in the Ashes.

Posted by Yevghenny on (January 26, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

Good test match pitch this one - Batsmen have to work for every run, even if it might not look like that. If they lose concentration for a moment, they can easily lose their wicket.

Good fightback from Pakistan, England at one stage looking at 500? If they get to 400 they will be very happy

Posted by mgondal on (January 26, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

Result for sure. First session day 3 will decide which team will win. great contest.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Very Interesting to watch this test, but it is doubtful for pakistan winning to be continued, lack of batting performance from the pakistan batting order particularly Azhar Ali should have to batted well and younus khan too. Pakistan should bring good fast bowlers instead Umar gul, Junaid Khan they useless, it can be considered as garbage for pakistan cricket. so Pakistan should choose / select better line and length bowlers. In the one days series and in final test Pakistan should bring either Sadaf Hussain, Ali Imran, or any good bowler, Usman salaudin should be considered and Shahzaib Hasan must play in coming One day series. Overall Pakistan should not depend on Saeed Ajmal they should bring talented and trained bowlers.

Posted by r1zzy on (January 26, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

Now this is a cricket match!!...Credit where credit is due...good knock by Cook, well done to England for coming on after the first test and putting on a good batting performance, well done to Pak who were initially down with the partnership of Cook and trott and came back. Should be a great day tomorrow, the match is in the balance. I hope both teams carry on playing in this professional, enjoyable manner. Best of luck to both teams, Inshallah Pak can pull it out the bag.

Posted by cricket0007 on (January 26, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

hahaha some of the comments are funny lol.. one foolish person claims that pakistani attack is third rate.. if it is so bad then y r english batsmen struggling against them? or r they even worse than "third rate" hahaha it again proves that kids and retards should not have any access to internet ! great performance by both teams and i thoroughly enjoyed watching england batsmen fighting hard and pakistani bowlers really testing them all the time and in the last session pakistani bowlers were unplayable at times and got 4 quick wickets.. but i still believe aussies r better than this pakistan side and r the best at the moment.. if u ask me about the top 3 sides in the world at the moment.. 1 Australia 2 Pakistan and 3 England aussies play spin hell lot better than this english side and i dont see england making more than 150 in the 2nd innings

Posted by BowledYa on (January 26, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

3rd day will be pivotal, whoever wins the 3rd day will likely win the test. England has the advantage now but a lot depends on if and how much lead they can build. Remember, they bat last so Pak has that advantage. Knew this test will not be easy for either team and it is shaping up to be a good one, not a dull draw either. Need a ton from a Pak batsman in 2nd innings.

Posted by allblue on (January 26, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

A great day of tense, tough, battling Test cricket. England possibly a sliver in front, but I reckon they will need another 100 from the last five wickets to retain parity because batting fourth promises to be a real challenge. It's noticeable that the three batsmen who can play the attritional game who have prospered here, when stroke-players try to to poke and prod they soon come unstuck as we saw in the last half hour. Anyone's game at this stage.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

50 , 50 match for England and Pak. Well played both England and Pak. This will be very close match.

Posted by Elliott_Tree on (January 26, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Brilliant game, so very finely balanced, and great example of why 2.5rpo Test matches are a far more gripping than 10rpo T20's . Good bounce-back from Pak - exact opposite of India's defeatism when pressured. Sublime from Anderson & Broad; excellent from Cook & Trott; frustrating from KP; worrying from Morgan. The Sledgehammer of Eternal Justice looks in trouble, but I'm going to back Prior & the bowlers to 100+ tomorrow.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

As long as Matt prior is on on the crease i believe England is in the dictating position, Great effort by Pakistan .... a statement released to poms "we won't gift you this match" you have to earn it .... Pakistan's batting is its biggest concern Azhar Ali should be axed now scoring just one century after playing tests against bowling attacks like bangladesh,zimbabwe, newzealand, srilanka posts a big question mark on his inclusion Umer akmal can replace him .... This game truely is a treat to watch i would say it will initiate the revival of interest in test cricket ... Cheers to both England and Pakistan ... May the best team wins .... and for kids out there Ajmal and Swann both are world class bowlers and there is no comparision bw them so grow up and enjoy their variations ...!!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

The match is well equally open now, England bowled methodically and restrained the paksitani batsmen, Trott and the lengendary cook batted very very well with techinique. Swann and Ajmal are different style of off-spin bowlers, so you can really say one is better than the other. Ajmal definitely has more varieties and Swann has more turn. Both between no1 &2, simple.

Posted by addicted_to_chaos on (January 26, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

@ Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26 2012, 12:23 PM GMT): What do you say now????

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

it will be tough for pakistan to win this test match because of batting failure we need mohammad yousuf back in the side in place of azhar ali....

Posted by SaleemSabir on (January 26, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

i am sure the writer had different headlines in mind just before the england batting collapse in the last 10 -15 overs, the match is evenly balanced and its funny that how these english writers and commentators somehow find something to critise pakistan, if nothing else then the DRS reviews, every team in the world has made mistakes and no one is ever sure what the result would be and same mistakes have been made before by all captains and bowlers and its no such big deal that we make this such a big issue....... on the last note why are all the commentators and writers avoiding saying something about Kevin peterson's poor form and performance ?????

Posted by Abdurrazaaq on (January 26, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

England will at best achieve a lead of about 50 runs, however England is going to bat last on this pitch, so if they intend winning this test match, they have to have a 100+ lead. If Pakistan just put on a decent target on 180-200, they will win this match, considering their spin trio with Ajmal at the helm!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

today umpires help a lot to England to get this total both player who played big innings like trott and cook was not given out by umpires which help the England to get this total.anyhow BY THE GRACE OF GOD tomorrow will be Pakistan day INSHALLAH

Posted by dr_mani on (January 26, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

still an open game....pakistani bowlers have the ability to restrict end below 257 but at the same time eng tail can wag and give them a crucial lead...in either case pak will have to bat well to keep their chances alive in this match!

Posted by peshawarwazir on (January 26, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

UMER GUL IS WASTE OF BOWLERS...HE HAS NO MORE THAT POWER TO BALL AND HE IS MUCH LOOSENED BOWLER..LOST HIS QUICK YORKERS..THIS MATCH GONNA TO BE WON BY PAK

Posted by yorkshirematt on (January 26, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

Oh dear. It all started so well. Just when I thought the old England were back they hand Pakistan the initiative again. They will be lucky to get a lead now and I think they need to bowl Pakistan out for under 200, which isn't going to happen, to have any chance of chasing successfully on that pitch against the Pakistan bowlers.

Posted by o-bomb on (January 26, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

Agree with KarachiKid - once Pakistan got Trott out the game changed, and not just becuase KP and Bell are struggling against the spin. Pakistan visibly lifted themselves once we were 2 down. I think had Trott stayed there, Cook would have got 100. Morgan is way out of his depth against this sort of high quality spin bowling.

Posted by jonnybtestmatch on (January 26, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

So annoyed with this batting performance what a waste of a position. Although PAK have a good spinner in Ajmal, he is no better than good, and Rehman should be blasted out of the attack. I can see PAK have wrestled the initiative and can go through us tomorrow. Really hope that Bell will be positive with Prior and can get through to 350. I think 350 will be a good score, although not a match winning one. And BTW I like the two pitches we have played on here, spins and does a bit for seamers. Two good wickets. Well done to the groundsmen

Posted by likeintcricket on (January 26, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

@HumanhHoneyBadger, Game has just begun, Wait and see the fourth inning when England play this 3rd rate attack. Only worry thing for Pakistan is their tail which is not performing well enough otherwise another excellent performance by Pakistan with the leather. Trott and Cook survived early on but this collapse is always on the card. I am not worried about any lead England gets as long as Pakistan give them atleast 200 to chase in the fourth inning. As far as the " 3RD Rate" attack, this is the same attack which other teams including Srilanka finding it difficult to handle.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

EOIN MORGAN is a waste of position in test. Ravi Bopara is far more better player in test and a plus point, he can bowl well at times too

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 26, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

Pakistanis making silly mistakes and using DRS in worst possible manner - hmmm, I think thats what we expect of our country. However, the most impressive thing about Pakistan was that once they got an opening, there tails were up and they were back at it again. IMRESSIVE. This Pakistan team does not fail to impress me with each passing match !!! keep it up guys. You can still defeat the English team.

Posted by Iftikhar.Uddin.Khattak on (January 26, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

I think match is goin towards draw which is expected on Abu Dhabi Cricket Ground, Our bowlers did reasonable well but unable to maintain pressure on regular bases and England Run rate was also goin well . If We Want to win the match then we must come hard on them and play aggressive cricket at steam, As if we were able to bowled them out till tea then it will be again our batsmen responsibility to score more runs and we should first ask openers to go at everything if we lost too many wickets then we can afford defensive cricket. Aussies player D. Warner has proved that no matter if it is t20, ODI or Test match when some one is hitting it stays hits and that should be done and i guess Hafeez could play such knock . If we want to win on regular bases in test match cricket then we should must play aggressive cricket coz its run rate that gives you chance to win the match otherwise if on slow side then we had more chance of losing the match . Regards

Posted by Hamzaad on (January 26, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

Humanhoneyburger

You sure about getting a lead? :D Best bowler (Ajmal) to demolish the tail enders ;)

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Pak and Ajmal threw the last punch on england's face with 3 quick wickets... Wait till you see tommorrow...

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

The game now interesting, Pakistan come back in last session..

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

With the quality of England's fast bowlers and Cook not in question, the weakness of England's middle order against slow-wicket spin is pretty clear: Pieterson has taken apart attacks streets better than this Pak one, and Morgan too, but slow spin somehow leaves both of them liable to get out to lazy shots. Great innings by Cook and bowing by Jimmy and Broad.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

England batsmen won't be able to come out of this trauma for another three days.

good going Pakistan . =)

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

I have full consent with Saqskhan.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

@Front Foot Lounge I know India is doing bad doesn't mean to take out your frustration on Pakistan believe me it is just the beginning of the Fall of India.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 26, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

KUDOS TO BOTH ENGLAND & PAKISTAN TEAM AS THEY ARE KEEPING TEST CRICKET ALIVE BY PLAYING SOME ENTERTAINING CRICKET , AS OUR INDIAN TEAM HAS DONE ENOUGH IN PAST 1 YEAR TO KILL TEST CRICKET .

Posted by Aamir1234 on (January 26, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

@HumanhHoneyBadger @Front-Foot-Lunge @ilyas

Most funny people on this page.... lol :-D .... Hw r you feeling now?????

Posted by Mujji_28 on (January 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Wow lovely bowling by world class spin attack......hopefully they will turn things more towards Pakistan. As the ball is turning more now, it will be difficult for English batsman to chase target beyond 150. Specially Bell is not playing Ajmal with control. Ajmal and Rehman should bowl tight line tomorrow morning and should restrict them below 257. Its a great chance for Pakistan to get some lead as this is English last pair.

Posted by Mujji_28 on (January 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Wow lovely bowling by world class spin attack......hopefully they will turn things more towards Pakistan. As the ball is turning more now, it will be difficult for English batsman to chase target beyond 150. Specially Bell is not playing Ajmal with control. Ajmal and Rehman should bowl tight line tomorrow morning and should restrict them below 257. Its a great chance for Pakistan to get some lead as this is English last pair.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

really can't understand all the stupid comments here ........ this match is open as hell ........ and ppl should learn by now that you cant say anything about Pakistan ........ still English team is better side ...... they where on high before entering this series .......... first match put them to ground ........ which made rest of the series ever more lively and interesting ..... so dont make the foolish judgments and enjoy the next 9 session of this match as i guess these twist ll keep coming till the very end. Still i support my team, GO Team PAKISTAN!!!!!!!!

Posted by Azilur on (January 26, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

HumanhHoneyBadger.....Will reply u soon if its game over for PAK or not....!! But please do reply my next mail....!! Hopefully u will mate....!! One thing is for sure....its either a win or draw for PAK...!! Remember this.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 26, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

What a match! I don't think any of us can call a winner at this stage, although it certainly won't be a draw. England need to knuckle down and get a lead of as close to 100 as they can, because they will have to bat last on this track. We all know that Pakistan's problem will be its batting, which consists of only Younis and Misbah who can score big runs, four mediocre batsmen and a very, very poor tail. England's target will be to bat until lunch on Day 3, and then bowl Pakistan out by lunch on Day 4, which would leave a target of around 200, which would be do-able. Any target over 250 is probably impossible.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

shameless HumanhHoneyBadger will eat his words.. wait n watch.. its a game of cricket, not gymnastics

Posted by mhb1 on (January 26, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

a big big sucker punch to all degrading pak spin atack i thnk u 4got pak has the most unpredictible and gifted bowling atack for decades everyone in the world knows that

Posted by dmqi on (January 26, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

ENGLAND HAS BETTER BATSMAN AND FAST BOWLER. A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY MISSED BY PAK BOWLER AND CAPTAIN TO USE DRS TO GET A WICKET AND PUT PRESSURE. PAKISTAN TAIL ENDERS NEED BATTING AND BOWLING PRACTICE.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

That is really irritating from Morgan there right at the end. We're starting to have our doubts about this guy now. Still - this is a great contest. Slow, old fashioned, but a good match-up. Tough luck for Cook - but he knew. Trott also played well. This is a real real trial by spin. Great bowling by Pakistan. We think there will be a result. Critical Day 3. If England can get a lead it will be a good effort. Any lead over 50-60 could be very useful. On the other hand - Pakistan could roll England up and get a lead themselves. Batting last on this pitch Day 4/5 could be a horror show. A real closely fought and good game. Quality cricket from both sides.

Posted by Garp on (January 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

KP needs to get it straightened out, whenever he finally looks like he may be putting together a nice batting performance he always gifts his wicket away after any break. Then there is Morgan who just like Bopara came out of the gates roarring but has since looked more like a schoolboy in a mans world. Much better from most of the batsmen except the usual players ie: Strauss, and Morgan.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: Ajmal and Swann are different types of bolwer, ajmal because of his height and action isnt a big turner, he has variety.Swann is all drift and spin. Also, today was alot more dry that yesterday when the moisture in the air and off the pitch helped both monty and swann to get alot of spin out of this track. Not just ajmal, but all three spinners were unable to get any spin during englands innings.I think it will be better if they are gauged under similar conditions.Match is still very much on, lets see what happens.

Posted by Legster on (January 26, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

It certainly looks like the pitch has started to break up heavily. The ball really started to spin miles in the last hour, this should make for a very interesting, low-scoring match. Getting a lead of around a 100 would be great for Englandl.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

All the english fans, hang on, game is just started, just wait and watch, let the series finished, before saying anything to pak bowling attack, lets c, how this 3rd rated attack dismiss world no.1 side in the series, so hang on please

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Poor and desperate comments by a few ...I think it was one of the best day as far as cricket is concerned. Pakistani bowlers bowling really well and there were lot of shouts but at same time Trot and cook defending really well and taking chances only on lose deliveries and avoiding playing cross as most of the English men did in last match. Positive approach from both side after so much resistance Pakistani bowlers kept their consistency up to the mark and eventually getting reward for that. I think match is even now but still a bit on England side as their tail-enders are better batsmen then Pakistani side and a lead of 100 runs will really give them a good chance. But if Pakistan able to bold them out under lead of 50 that will be a 2nd innings match then.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

@few english fans: yes ajmals wickets were gifted by english batsman AS IF pakistan palyers were very master class & playing perfect shots & got out.

Posted by RakarthIX on (January 26, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Why has there not been more talk about Morgan at 6? Only anderson, swann and broad have a lower career test average than him and since start of 2010 broad has had a higher average than him. Strauss has his problems without a doubt but at least he has years of success behind him whereas Morgan has consistently proved that he is not good enough for test level. It is time England explored other options - if need be move prior up to 6 as he is more than good enough and get one of the promising younger county batsmen in at 7 to take the pressure off them and allow them to adjust to the bigger stage.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 26, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

@stumps: match even now after ajmals last moment burst. still lot of work to do for pakistan to clear the mess they put themselves in. Had they reviewd that trott lbw it would not have been any diffrent for england than dubai. silly mistake cost pakistan 45 runs from trott & 97 in partnership should have been 69/2 but went to 166/2.

Posted by Purple-Patch on (January 26, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Swann outbowled Ajmal? So far, I dont think thats been the case but we will see come the end of the match and the series. Still all to play for.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 26, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

some are commenting too ahead? about swann vs ajmal this series, if you consider the no of matches played by english & pak career, no of 100s scored, no of runs scored in career, & averages of english players against spin & pakistan vs spin it is clear that ajmal is way more good than swann not only wickets but economy rates.

Posted by HumanhHoneyBadger on (January 26, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Awesome day for England winning 2 out of 3 sessions by a mile. 207/5 at the close is a fantastic result, best tail in the world should easily add 100+ runs tomorrow. Game over Pakistan!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge:::who the hell is swann in front of the legend named AJMAL??pakistanis gifted their wickets to swann like asad shafiq.but ajmal owned his wickets...pakistan gonna win the match as eng will surely bat last on this pitch....

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

@Front Foot Lounge, what you on about mate, where u have been watching cricket in last 2 years, come on, whole the world knows, who is better bowler, so wake up mate, good 4 u

Posted by saqskhan on (January 26, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

What a bowler Saeed Ajmal is....second last ball of the day and he takes a wicket, imagine how difficult it is to face Ajmal in last over..Match is still on..if Pak can restrict Eng below 275 and set a target of minimum 275, it will b difficult for Englishmen to chase 275 in last innings under world class spinners.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

HumanhHoneyBadger :::hahaha..your 3rd rate batsmen got succembed to our 3rd rate bowlers...hehe

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Morgan isn't good enough for this team by a long way. Rehman outbowled Ajmal, although Pietersen left his brain in the pavilion and gifted him his wicket, which is a shame seeing how he's taken apart attacks far better than this Pakistan one before. Well bowled Rehman.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

from what has happened in the last 8 odd overs..I think the comments from Ilyas and Humanhhoneybadger just seem plain stupid now!!! This is the best spin attack in the world, against the best batting order in the world. If you expect them to crumble in every innings, you should stick to playing cricket on the xbox.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: Hold you horses bro, match is still on.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

Oh dear! KP gone.. grrr.. such a frustrating player.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

Pakistani spinners fighting back. @ HumanhHoneyBadger : Poor you tsk tsk!

Posted by Long-Leg on (January 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

And now Pietersen is out. Pakistan are fighting back strongly with 7 overs to go today. England have bowled well and batted well, but this match is still in the balance. I reckon England need a lead of 100 runs as this pitch will deteriorate significantly for the team that bats last. A couple of fifties from the middle order would do it.

Posted by shahzebkhaan on (January 26, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

this game is not over yet pakistan will bounce back if they restrict england to 320around and then giving a substantial target of 400 ...

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Swann outbowled Ajmal. As the biggest turner of the ball in international cricket, and has been for a couple of years now, it's no surprise that Swann has proved to be the superior bowler.

Posted by ilyas on (January 26, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

Normal service has been resumed! The trouble is that although Ajmal is a decent bowler Rehman is just plain average and i would always play another seamer instead of him. Hafeez looks a better bowler than Rehman anyway. At least if we had Wahab Riaz playing we would have someone who can bat a bit and who has some swing and pace. England are a better side than Pakistan in both batting and bowling and it is being shown here. The Pakistan batting is really weak against decent bowling and if they cannot bowl the other side out cheaply they will always struggle. I can see England batting only once in this test match and winning easily as Pakistan will not even score 250 in the second innings. Need to bring in Umar Akmal for Azhar Ali in the next test.

Posted by RedRoseMan on (January 26, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

Great fightback from England against a very useful Pakistan side - currently I would think the strongest team from the Subcontinent. Long way to go as the fragility of the English batting against spin could easily throw away a strong position, but if they can dominate this test they will have begun the long process of proving that they can play on Subcontinent style pitches.

Even as I write, Trott is gone - bringing in Pietersen with plenty to prove....

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 26, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

The quality of the English fast bowlers, as any Australian or Indian fan will attest to, was starkly shown today. England gifted Ajmal a bag ful of wickets in the first test by playing for spin when there was none, it seems that they've realised how to play his straight 'ens and normal service has been resumed.

Posted by HumanhHoneyBadger on (January 26, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Normal Service Resumed. Seems the first test was a classic English "wake-up" loss. Better to lose once badly now and again rather than lose all the time closely! I'd like to thanks Pakistan, your 3rd rate spin attack is given great batting practice for the harder tests to come in SL & Ind later in the year.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 26, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

@tea: england looking good now. still a long way to go as they will surely want to bat once in this match. few sharp or half chances went down & pakistan were worst with the reviews.they reviewd which were outside off but didnt reviewd the one which was dead straight. everybody is talking about not reviewing it but no body is talking about the origional decision of giving him notout when its straight. by standard of this series where just marginal ones were given (like shafiq where it was just 1% of ball) this decision by umpire was surely a worst one.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 26, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

1/126. This is unexpectedly good from England. Great to roll Pakistan out like that this morning. But Pakistan bowlers are on the mark - bowling well. This is the tough fight those of us who love Test cricket wanted to see. Great stuff by both sides!

Posted by palfreyman on (January 26, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Superb stuff as always, Parson Hopps. We miss you!

"he was initially as stilted as a Jane Austen suitor asking for a first dance. "

Now that's telling 'em!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

Pakistan last 5 just added 7 runs. England has a very good chance to throw Pakistan out from this test match. Stupid ignorant Pakistani and Indian fans really overlooked England chances in the series, perfect come back response from them. I really hope Ajmal and company restricts England around 300 to give Pakistan a chance else on this pitch, I can't see England scoring anything lesser than 400. Anyway, best of luck to Pakistan.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

bring yousuf to strengthen the batting line, and to teach the youngster how to play big innings instead of playing 40's 50's . we need big hundred, which only younus is capable to play

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Pakistan failed to avail the opportunity of setting a high total for first innings! Wicket seems to be good for batting. Pakistan should attack English batsmen aggressively.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Poms r definitely in wd a big chance 2 square da series:

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

as usual pak atting. never know when goin to fall. england need to play for 2 days to grip the test. pakistan need to wrap england today n then bat well,

Posted by khurramsch on (January 26, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

@inings break. Misbah was out again cheaply in morning. he had this few times . i think he is not the guy who can carry next day. i rember vs NZ same happned that in morning he was out in 1st over. will 257 be enough is a big question & england have to bat very well. & need to get good 1st inings lead because if this match goes to 4th inings it will be england who will bat 4th & on 5th day on pitch like this anthing can hapen. for england best is to bat once or atleast get big lead.for pakistan it will again come to batting.

Posted by TikkaMasala on (January 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

So does Miandad still think England are home track bullies lol. Only arsenal in Pak team seems to be their spinners and misbah the consistent batsman. If England can see off their spinners, then they should get a decent score.

Posted by Navaid-Hussain on (January 26, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

Broad bowled intelligently with very good control and straight. Look very difficult that Gul do the same because Gul is rhythm bowler. He really find the rhythm and control when its badly required like WC semi final where expectations was too high and he failed miserably

Posted by Navaid-Hussain on (January 26, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

Pak gave the advantage to England, Younus and Azhar had to bat well but they didn't. Misbah did well but fail to continue the momentum. I think Eng will take a lead and Pak bating will feel the pressure and may failed again and series level.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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