Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abud Dhabi, 3rd day

Azhar and Shafiq bloom in the desert

The fifth-wicket stand between Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq has not only revived Pakistan's chances in the second Test, but provided a glimpse of the future

George Dobell in Abu Dhabi

January 27, 2012

Comments: 80 | Text size: A | A

Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali shared a battling unbeaten stand of 71, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 3rd Day, January 27, 2012
Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq resurrected Pakistan's hopes with an unbroken stand of 71 © AFP

Whatever happens over the final chapters of this wonderfully absorbing Test, Pakistan can surely take comfort in the emergence of two fine young batsmen.

It was not just that Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq played some attractive strokes - dozens of talented players can do that - it was that they demonstrated composure, discipline and the precious ability to withstand pressure. With just a little luck, the pair should serve their country well for much of the next decade.

When they came together, Pakistan were still 16 behind and all four of their senior batsmen had gone. England sensed blood and the possibility of a three-day finish.

Instead the pendulum has swung once again. It is too early to suggest Pakistan have seized the initiative - their lead is only 55, after all - but, thanks to a fifth-wicket partnership of 71, the hosts remain in contention. Chasing anything over 150 will not be easy for England.

Azhar and Shafiq have actually been around a little while. Between them, they have 32 Test caps and some track record. Azhar, for example, played a key role in Pakistan's win over England at The Oval in 2010 and has enjoyed decent innings against South Africa and Sri Lanka. Shafiq played very well here in the first innings.

But, in these circumstances, against this attack and on this pitch, this was, arguably, the most impressive contribution of their careers to date. They showed all the attributes of fine Test players, leaving well, defending solidly and still putting away the bad ball with some panache. They have some work to do before Pakistan will be in a match-winning position, but they have given their side hope.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the careers of these two young men is that neither of them has had the opportunity to play a Test in their own country. Instead they are having to forge careers in foreign lands, in alien conditions and without the support network players could expect at home. It is a substantial, if unquantifiable, disadvantage.

It was also only the third time they had batted together in Test cricket and their previous two partnerships had were worth only four runs in total. So far this series, Pakistan have looked heavily reliant on their sold opening partnership and the stubborn defiance of their captain. Now we know there is more to this team.

"Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the careers of these two young men is that neither of them has had the opportunity to play a Test in their own country. Instead they are having to forge careers in foreign lands and alien conditions"

Neither is the finished article. Shafiq's first innings dismissal, a wild sweep that undid much of his earlier good work, might yet prove to be a crucial, self-inflicted blow. But, if they can stretch their partnership until lunch on day four, they will have taken huge strides towards winning their side the match. You cannot ask for too much more than that.

Their contribution was just another enthralling episode in this Test. While run-scoring has been relatively slow - by modern standards, anyway - the game has twisted and turned as beguilingly as the finest thriller. All the fears that pitches in the UAE would produce stultifying cricket have been allayed. The pitches have been fair; the cricket highly enjoyable.

It would, then, be a shame if the result of this game is interpreted as all-important. History, so often, is black and white. All the shades of grey that constitute the full person, place or situation are overlooked.

Consider this: if England go on to win, Pakistan's fightback will be forgotten and England's continuing frailties against spin might be overlooked. People will forget to ask what would might have happened if Chris Tremlett - or Tim Bresnan, for that matter - had been fit. And people will forget what might have happened if Pakistan had called for a review of the Jonathan Trott lbw decision when he had scored just 22. All those edges that dropped just out of reach of Pakistan fielders will be forgotten and it will be as if Kevin Pietersen's failed run-out and self-destructive batting did not happen. England, we will be told, have mastered Asia. It will be nonsense.

But if Pakistan win, England will be condemned. All their progress since Dubai - and they have looked a much better team here - will be forgotten and their reputation as home-track bullies will be sustained. That, too, would be nonsense.

The answer, as ever, falls in between. England and Pakistan are fine, if flawed, teams with many admirable strengths and a few potential weaknesses. It is no disgrace to lose for either of them.

Whatever the result here, it would be a shame if all that was forgotten.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chicagocric on (January 30, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

"Chasing anything over 150 will not be easy for England". You were the first to make the correct call. Also, this is a well balanced article - thanks.

Posted by Morfi on (January 28, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Of all your articles in the recent past, for the first time I have seen a balanced, unbiased and actually well-written piece. Well done and regardless of what happens now, as Shafiq n Azher have left the scene, I hope people keep reading this and are reminded what a great performance it has been.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

day 4, Lunch. Pak has done well to survive thus far. The only disappointment in the situation could be that one would have expected the overnight pair of Shafiq & Azhar to add some substantial runs before the new ball. However, that was not to be, as shafiq went early in the day. I guess certain things will improve with experience. Adnan Played like a fighting Pathan, though a short but gutsy attempt. Had he lasted a little more, things would have been different. I guess Sarfaraz Ahmed should be given a decent apportunity at the test level coz he has a good average at the domestic level, he is young and can improve. However, the Ajmal-A.Rehman fight back is good. They have seen off the new ball. They have done the hard work.

Posted by kennyusuf on (January 28, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

wonderful article Mr. Dobell, one of only few in which i didn't find any flaw.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Very nice artical May Allah bless Pakistan and cricket

Posted by ishrat1971 on (January 28, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Well said sir, the most outstanding quality of this Pakistani outfit is it's ability to fight and not to capitulate. As Ramiz Raja said yesterday while commentating that the current outfit is predictable, the unpredictable mercurial nature has perhaps been beaten into submission by the captain.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

fantastic 1 Dobell........enjoyed reading it, but still i think azhar ali should work on his tecnique though he's a very good batsmen but to become a world class 1 he need to work more hard...comming to asad shafiq he's a bit like Mohammud Yousuf, and i think after Younis Khan he's the only batsmen who can score big hundreds or may b of luck to pakistan and also to the young talent of pak.

Posted by TabsRazi on (January 28, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

I got registered to comment here. Just to tell you that I was very disappointed of the coverage given to the first test in the 'first world' (esp here in New Zealand which highlighted the one decision that the umpires got wrong for England). Mostly the theme was that England played bad, not that Pakistan had anything to do with it. Well, with our history, maybe it was expected, but you have written a well balanced article and for that I thank you.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

U r getting better Dobell - Keep on writing abt Pakistan ;)

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Excellent article Sir George Dobell! Great work dude, I'm impressed. ^_^

Posted by me54321 on (January 28, 2012, 1:53 GMT)

Blimey, all the badgering and accusations of being biassed towards England in your write ups have had the desired effect, and an article saying exactly what one set of fans wants has been written. Just write what you see. What I see is an England team adjusting to the conditions, and despite a very good partnership, only really two wickets from victory. New ball 20 overs away, and with the current rate of scoring I'm not getting too worried yet.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 28, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Good article. Surely there were so many ifs in this match which could change the course of this match and there are so many ifs which are on wish list for not to happen or happen. A good game of cricket and a very good starting point for England before move to Sirilanka and India.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 0:50 GMT)

Mr Dobell- spot on and good on you for a fair analysis great to see both sides fighting it out. Clearly advantage England, but it's not over till the fat lady sings. Test cricket at its best. Well done UAE for curating fighting pitches.

Posted by sabee66 on (January 27, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

Very well balanced article, Well done he has justified with his pen............Good on you mate

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Pakistan can win if both Azhar and Shafique end up scoring centuries... good article!!

Posted by dmqi on (January 27, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

I think George has been little more kind and biased towards Pakistan, the weaker team for sure. 55-60 runs lead with 6 wickets in hand is not safe against England. Here is my forecast. English bowler will come very hard on Pakistani batsmen today and we know what Broad can do. Pakistan can get a maximum lead of 130-150 and England will score that for 5/6 wickets. That will still be considered a very competitive test worth watching every minute. Uncertain cricket can bring any result but not with this Pakistani team. Bengal Tiger

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 27, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

Wonderful post by Yasir Faruqui. That is the spirit in which this series between two fine teams should be enjoyed! I have a feeling that in a year or so Pakistan and England will be #1 and #2 in the rankings. Not so sure though in which order.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

Excellent article! Mr. Dobell has a way with words. These two teams are compatible and any result will be justified.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

Totally agree. Pakistan have become a hugely impressive side with some quality players while England have stepped up to the plate in this Test and look a bit more like the No.1 team. Having said that, totally agree that if they're chasing more than 150 it'll be tricky and anything over 200 will be very difficult, but would make for great watching!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

I applaud you for this wonderful article Mr. Dobell! Fantastic and spot on, I have to admit I was frustrated at some earlier pieces you wrote particularly on the 2nd day of the 1st Test - but you have shown great unbiased analysis here

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

Wow. What an articles. The last few paragraphs are simply brilliant.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

When I was reading this Article, I wanted to comment "Well Done Dobell", but when I saw comments from hundreds of your fans praising you then I decided to keep quiet and just decided to keep my wordless (having not a good vocabulary) comments within myself. Your great work depicts the great work done by both teams. Hope these talented players keep you watching such kind of performances and you keep us reading these kind of beauties.

Posted by dapervez on (January 27, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

Excellent article Mr Dobell. I have to agree with all the other responses that it is by far one of the most unbiased and a feel good article i have read this series. That said kudos to both teams for finally playing test cricket the way its meant to be, test cricket is not about strike rates or boundaries but truly about testing the patience and skill of a player. Excellent cricket all round and played in very good spirit.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

Absolutely! Dobell your articles amaze me every time. You certainly have a wise look on the Game. This is the spirit just for the game. Criticism should be healthy not to demoralize any individual. Lets hope for a very good match! This is the beauty of test cricket which has been forgotten in the two decades. We have seen so far in this series so far the beauty is back. And it is fascinating to watch thrils in the game. By some fine performances, From Braod , Asad, Panessar and Ajmal! Who ever can absorb the pressure for longer time in this match will go for a win. Lets all hope for a better end to this game. And the spirit of the game should not be forgotten because its all about the beautiful game of Cricket!!!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 27, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

Wonderful match. Thanks Pakistan for giving us a proper Test of how much England have progressed. These have to be the best two sides in world cricket at this time.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

Fantastic article Dobell. It was really nice to see this analysis exactly at the middle of the series. I am a Pakistani Fan and I love many English players. Trott, Prior and Morgan in batting; Swann, Anderson and Finn in bowling. I believed Broad more as an allrounder before but his bowling in the series so far with such an attitude and energy is really impressive.

I hope that Pakistan is going give 250 as a target. This game will become more thrilled than with each of the three results possible; Pak Win, Eng Win or a thrilling draw (Which I will not mind if it is nail biting)

Posted by vampire.cLutch on (January 27, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

'A balancing act' ? or whatever the purpose of this article is.. u've learnt how NOT TO SOUND biased.. and u did it quickly.. keep doing this on a regular basis and you will do justice to your profession... that's the only thing we all need to do .. BE FAIR... DAY IN - DAY OUT !!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

Great unbiased article Mr. Dobell. true indeed that it is the weaknesses of both teams that has made this series such a good one to watch. great cricket by the 2 teams

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

WoW! That was very balanced article. However, both of these batsmen have to score centuries tomorrow otherwise there's no hope of Pakistani win.

Posted by awais1 on (January 27, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

@Dobell: I came across your writings during this series and I must say you have been a breath of fresh air. Your opinions have been objective and almost always right on the money. Good job!

Posted by ssshafqat on (January 27, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

A great article, George Dobell. You are so right that there are all manner of shades of grey that get forgotten by all but the most nuanced connoisseurs of the game. Nonetheless, this is a most interesting match and hopefully all who are following it will enjoy it regardless of who wins. As a Pakistani supporter, it was so heartening to see Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq play since Pakistan's batting has so often been its faltering spot. Game on! :)

Posted by 5wombats on (January 27, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

Good article. Agree with the conclusions. No-one ever said England were the finished article and even if they somehow do win this particular Test Match - they still won't be. One thing we can say - England bowling is pretty good, proven spectacularly in Australia and now on this tour. The problem area remains the batting. England used always to be flakey and unreliable with the bat. The Ashes 2010/11 seemed to put that to bed. But here, subjected to a rigorous examination of spin, the mental issues are still clearly there. Meanwhile, Azhar and Shafiq look to be fine talents. They could still pull this around for Pakistan and give their bowlers a chance. Some unfortunate team is going to lose this match, but the game is so closely contested - it'll be a shame when the end does finally come.

Posted by Desihungama on (January 27, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

Why do I get the feeling that you might be writing for a England/Pakistan series but your audience are elsewhere? lol. Great article by the way.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

The best piece of work from Dobell i have read so far.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

Very nice article by Mr. Dobell. I guess at the end of day winning or losing is part of the game but Pakistan has shown they wouldn't just roll over. It's a bit premature to have high hopes for a Pakistani win as England would still feel they just need to get one breakthrough and expose the tail but at least there is hope now. Of course you never know and that's what makes this game very enjoyable. Frankly speaking the difference between the two teams right now is the tail, Broad is way more than a handy batsman and that's one thing Pakistan doesn't have a bowling allrounder. It's been a great comeback by England after Dubai and even if they happen to loose this game we shouldn't forget their efforts as they have shown themselves to be worthy of being #1, well played to both teams...

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

Well Done! Now this is what objectivity and balance is all about. Mr. Dobell, I think this is the best analysis I have read from you. And believe me, every fan of the game will appreciate this view. No doubt that its about the teams and how well or badly they perform on any give day but in a larger context, its about the game of cricket. And when both teams play to the best of their abilities, mitigating their flaws, winner is the game of cricket. I don't care if my team loses when they have played to the best of their capability, what I care more about is a great game of cricket on all 5 days of a test. With due respect to fans of the short/shorter form, those will never equal the suspense and pleasure of watching a closely fought test match. Game is on!

Posted by allblue on (January 27, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

A somewhat ingenuous plaintive at the end there George, I'm afraid the middle ground has disappeared in this increasingly bi-polar world. Being somewhat old school myself I think this has been a great Test match and not just because of the unremitting tension and and the continued uncertainty as to outcome. The game has been played as it should be, tough, competitive but in good spirit with compelling narratives developing on both sides. England, trying to build on a great run and mature into a genuinely great side, Pakistan having been through so much turmoil producing yet more top class cricketers playing excellent Test cricket under the canny leadership of Misbah. The next session is crucial of course, but then we've been saying that before every session so far, and that's exactly how Test matches should unfold. Irrespective of the result, kudos to both sides for illustrating why we say Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

Great unbiased Analysis Mr.George Dobell.With Umer Akmal around with all his attacking Talent,Asad Especially and Azhar to a lesser extent have been looked down a little bit.Finally a testing pitch proved that technique is as important as strokes are.Would love to see Umer Akmal perform on such pitches.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

Superb article, probably one of the best and unbiased written on this current series. it is the weakenesses of both teams that has made this series enthralling.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

fantastic article Mr. Dobell!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

The Best Article I've Ever Read On Cricinfo...! Good Job Mate. Hates Of To You.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

beautifuly written in true spirit of the great game

Posted by VIVz_forearm on (January 27, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

good article.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

superlike....! simply awsm man... !!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

Excellent, excellent piece of writing

Posted by Thontor on (January 27, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

A very good read, I've been very impressed by your articles during this series.

Posted by mix-grill-united on (January 27, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

A very well written article by Mr Dobell. This test match series so far has been great to watch and I hope tomorrow and the next test are just as good as what we have seen over the last couple of days. That is apart from Bob Willis's comments about Ajmals action...very irresponsible of you Bob!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

great article.... pakistan are still learning and this match wether they win or lose will help them improve further inshallah!

Posted by iMPARTIAL.PAK on (January 27, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

Last three lines ; beauty of this article and game of cricket....

Posted by hoodbu on (January 27, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

Very prematurely written. You can't base a decade's worth of potential on a mere 71 run partnership.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

Great article!! I enjoyed the last part of it the most....

Posted by SaeedKhanNiazi on (January 27, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

One more thing to add. Regarding the amount of runs necessary to put on board by the Pakistan team to win, if we looked closely, Pakistan need at least 200+ lead because they need a huge margin in leading runs to make their breakthroughs. Usually if they don't make their breakthroughs early in the game like the first inning, they tend to make it towards the middle or late in the game. That might be too late if England bat with losing any wickets. Again, consider England's first inning; They Trailed by 155 I believe and despite the saeed ajmal's late wickets they still took the lead. What I am trying to get at is that they need to choke the run rate and buy off time at the same time to get those wickets otherwise it will be deja vu all over again

Posted by SaeedKhanNiazi on (January 27, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

A well written article. "The answer, as ever, falls in between. England and Pakistan are fine, if flawed, teams with many admirable strengths and a few potential weaknesses. It is no disgrace to lose for either of them." those two sentences pretty much explained everything there is to truth about these two teams' performances. However what I sort of disagree with is when you mentioned that 150 to 170 well be difficult for England to chase. Even if England's top order collapses but puts at least 100 runs on the board, we should not forget England's tail contribution with the bat.Broad alone put 58 runs not out in the first inning and Swaan is a great tailender, not to mention at least two more will contribute with 20 or so odd runs.Having said that, I feel that Pakistan need to at least put up a defending total of approximately 225+ to ensure a win and even than a very tight contest. Looking for an exciting 4th and possibly 5th day of this test.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

A fantastic article Dobell. Totally agree with you ! England certainly have the control but u never knw what happends next in cricket .. :) hoping for the best ! But beautiful cricket is being played in UAE and every cricket fan wud b loving it !

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

George Dobell- the more I read your articles the more I start liking your style of writing. This match is very competitive and England has come back strongly in this game, which is a sign of a good team. You are so right, whoever wins, we should still appreciate the fight given by the other team and the winning team still needs to focus on the so called areas of improvement.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

High quality writing, good sir. The nuances will not be forgotten because you wrote about them.

Posted by sami1284 on (January 27, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

Congratulations George Dobell on an excellent article.

The first thought in my head at approximately 7:00am EST this morning at end of Day 3 was this has been a gripping and enthralling test match!!! At this point I'm indifferent to who wins as it has turned out to be great competition!

Just the twist and turns this series has offered, first it was Ajmal, then it was Misbah, then it was Gul, then it was Cook, then it was Swann, then it was Ajmal again, then it was Monty, then it was Shafiq and Azhar, who will it be next?

I'm just so excited to be watching this test match even though I have work next day!

Well done England but it was expected!

But EXCELLENT job Pakistan - maybe just maybe you are making us proud once again!!!

Posted by khurramsch on (January 27, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

yes agree tht these two showed great character but england in very good position & unless anything special from pak tail its englands game.stuard broads inings with swan & andersn is the diffrence & pak lost 4 seniors without any contribution. & also poor decision making of pakistan on drs also proved very costly here.

Posted by iBilal on (January 27, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

wonderful wonderful article mr. Dobell. Loved your philosophical view on black and white shades of cricket. It is indeed a shame that great performances or worst weaknesses of both teams will be forgotten once this match is ended.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Very well written sir. The last part of the column is outstanding "It is no disgrace to lose for either of them."

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

I like the bit where you say if Pakistan win, England will be termed as home-track bullies and if England win, they'd be assumed to have mastered the Sub-Continent. We are too quick to jump to conclusions. Thank god there's a 3rd test this time :-)

Posted by Usman_Pak on (January 27, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

One of the best article on cricinfo, highly impartial and rational, especially, the last four paragraphs are superb.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

Brilliantly put down Mr. Dobbel. I have thoroughly enjoyed this match so far, and whatever the result may be, these 2 teams have put up a fine display of test cricket, wrestling the momentum back and forth. A fine partnership here and there, a burst of wicket here and there, a tactical howler here, some lazy fielding there, in between a couple of brilliant catches, how I love test cricket. Long live test cricket and may the best team win.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

The best piece of writing during this series so far ! It couldn't have been put any better and so is sad that only the final result will be remembered a few months from now, and the detailed narrative and subplots of this engrossing series totally forgotten...and not for the first time.

Posted by samweedi on (January 27, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

excellent article with great ending "Whatever the result here, it would be a shame if all that was forgotten"

Posted by passionate_fawad on (January 27, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

Very well written... I was at the ground and loved the cricket... Irrespective of the result, it was great to see English spinners conquering Pakistani batters and the fightback by Asad & Azhar. Test cricket at it's best.

Posted by dmqi on (January 27, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Man,you are writing wonderfully now. There are few characters in this match which has made test cricket worth watching for 5 days. Not only Azhar and Asad's innings here,Misbah's Innings, and now the vital spell of C. Board to finish Pak inngs and then his batting is truly the best cricket can bring. He will possibly become MOM if England wins, the most likely outcome at this stage. I have spent nights from 1:00am to 5:00 am watching this match.How can I forget that? Keep on writing and keep the story making media away.

Q.Islam from Washington DC

Posted by KashifMuneer on (January 27, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

Fine piece George. Your content is getting better and better. I agree with you and believe that Eng, Aus and Pak are the top 3 test teams currently. Its only a matter of time before the rankings display that.

Posted by Abdullah39 on (January 27, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

In other words George,you want a tie??

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Brilliantly Compiled, Beautifully Written . Especially the Ending ...... P.S Hope Pakistan WINS , Fingers Crossed !!!!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Cant agree more. Period!!!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Billy Bowden for surely gave England the upper hand in this test match.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

I think this is the best article I have read in a long time

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Cant agree more! Period.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Very well written George!!. Totally agree. There has been a culture that your mistakes are observerd only if you are on the losing side..and pinned down to couple of players only. Match is played between 22 players. 11 each side.. Small mistakes get the cover of bigger mistakes by players. ALthough if you think about it in relation to " pennies make a dollar" small fielding mistakes catches, back up, keepign mistakes, run outs, wrong calls, wides , no balls will dent the team worst than a batsman playing a rash shot in a match.. Just a thought..

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 27, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Beautiful article. Gearge Dobell never fails to impress me everytime he provides some insight. Great work dude !

Posted by mensan on (January 27, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Azhar and Asad deserve applause. They have shown that they are both now mature batsmen who can take pressure.

Posted by MalikAnasAhmad on (January 27, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

very well written.............

Posted by Wajahatt on (January 27, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

Excellent writeup George. Keep it up!

Posted by   on (January 27, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

I think it's very harsh to say England are a 'fine, but flawed' side. You could say their one flaw is that they don't play spin well. Yet Cook and Trott both demonstrated that England are more than capable of playing high quality spin. I think this England team are strong enough to be very disappointed at losing a series against this Pakistan side (not to say that Pakistan are a poor team, which they aren't)

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