Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day January 28, 2012

Rehman stuns England to give Pakistan series


Pakistan 257 (Misbah 84, Shafiq 58, Broad 4-47) and 214 (Azhar 68, Shafiq 43, Panesar 6-62) beat England 327 (Cook 94, Broad 58*, Ajmal 4-108) and 72 (Rehman 6-25, Ajmal 3-22) by 72 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England suffered one of their most disastrous batting collapses in Test history as they disintegrated against Pakistan's spinners to lose the second Test in Abu Dhabi and with it the series. Pakistan went 2-0 up with one to play as Abdur Rehman, their left-arm spinner, took most of the plaudits with a Test-best 6 for 25.

England had only lost on four occasions in Test history when presented with a victory target of 145 or fewer, evoking memories of when they were run ragged by Richard Hadlee and made 64 against New Zealand in Wellington.

They did not even get halfway, dismissed for 72 in only 36.1 overs, their lowest total since the debacle against West Indies in Kingston three years ago which became the catalyst for their transformation under the stewardship of the coach, Andy Flower, and captain, Andrew Strauss.

England were never in the hunt at the Sheikh Zayed stadium after Monty Panesar's triumphant return to Test cricket - 6 for 62, the second best figures of his Test career -- left them chasing only 145 for victory. The pitch offered prodigious turn at times but it was England's inability to read the length of Pakistan's spinners that cost them just as dearly.

Rehman fell to his knees and kissed the turf after taking five wickets in a Test innings for the first time. England had come to Dubai fearing Saeed Ajmal's devilish mix of offspinners and doosras and they had fallen instead to one of the most unsung spinners in the international game.

Not that Ajmal could be entirely excluded. He became the quickest Pakistan player to reach 100 Test wickets when Matt Prior became the ninth England batsman to fall, and his serene presence was a counterpoint to the excitability all around him.

For a Pakistan side that was so recently embroiled in controversy after three players were jailed for their part in the spot-fixing scandal, this was a striking restatement of their talent. The captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, has brought stability where too often there has been near anarchy and more and more people will look upon Mohsin Khan's position as interim coach and wonder why the word "interim" still remains.

England's horrors in Asia go on, their status as the No. 1 team in the Test rankings already under threat. Another calamitous top-order collapse saw them lose four wickets for 16 runs in 37 balls as what little confidence they had was shaken by a debilitating stomach bug for Jonathan Trott, the bedrock of their batting, who came in at No. 7.

England, as if shaken by Trott's illness, crawled to 21 in nearly 15 overs before Alastair Cook tried to work Mohammad Hafeez into the legside against the spin and chipped a gentle return catch off a leading edge. It was the least that Pakistan deserved because he should have been out leg before three balls earlier. Only Adnan Akmal, the wicketkeeper, was convinced that it was out and by then his incessant appealing had started to wash over everybody, his team-mates included.

Ian Bell's woes against Ajmal's doosra have wrecked his series. This time he got out to a trick shot, trying to dead bat a doosra but contriving to pop it through his own legs onto the stumps. He left looking to the heavens, an accomplished batsman suddenly Little Boy Lost again.

Aficionados of Kevin Pietersen's supposed fallibility against left-arm spin of any quality will find fresh evidence in the way he played outside Rehman's arm ball. Pietersen's recourse to DRS was overturned, the ball shown to be clipping the top of middle, and he trudged off with the air of a man about to fashion an excuse first and a technique later.

That left Eoin Morgan, reputedly one of England's best players of spin, a reputation that owes everything to adventurous innings in one-day cricket. The pressure of Test cricket demanded a reassessment as he edged onto the back foot as Rehman turned one back slightly and was bowled past a horribly angled blade.

England's plight could have been worse if Strauss had been given out caught off bat and pad at short leg by Azhar Ali off Rehman. Strauss, on 16, was blessed as the umpires turned to the third umpire, Billy Bowden, to check if the ball had carried and Bowden, in a pernickety decision that defied common sense, responded that he could not be certain. It was impossible to see where his doubt had arisen.

But Strauss was unable to organise prolonged resistance. He made 32, more than half England's runs, produced virtually England's only moment of authority when he swept Rehman for four and then fell to the next ball as he was lbw, caught on the back foot. England challenged the decision and lost their second review.

If Trott had produced heroics, the Test would have forever been dubbed Trott's Trots. Perhaps it was just as well he did not. He might have been run out on nought when he angled Rehman to backward point and was late setting off for a run and soon fell to one from Rehman that straightened, another England batsman pinned on the back foot.

Rehman bowled Broad through the gate two balls later to quell thoughts that he might repeat his first-innings adventure and the mopping up of the England tail was a formality.

Panesar had promised so much more. He has watched Graeme Swann's reputation grow apace in his two-and-a-half year absence but England's decision to field both of them for the first time since they faced Australia in Cardiff in the 2009 Ashes series has brought his Test career out of hibernation in style.

He took three wickets on the fourth day as Pakistan, who resumed on 125 for 4, were dismissed 25 minutes into the afternoon session. Asad Shafiq, who had resisted so determinedly alongside Azhar on the previous day, was well caught low at first slip by James Anderson as Panesar found sharp turn. He completed the job after lunch, Ajmal edging another turning ball to slip and Junaid Khan slogging recklessly. Panesar's 6 for 62 was outdone only by his 6 for 37 against New Zealand at Old Trafford three years ago. Azhar fell to the second new ball, failing to withdraw from a lifting delivery from Anderson. His 68 had spanned four-and-a-quarter hours and had served Pakistan proud.

A cool and misty morning in Abu Dhabi was more akin to Manchester in October and, although such climatic conditions are not universally hailed as salubrious, they perked up England's bowlers. But for England's batsmen the demands of Asia were soon all too apparent.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 31, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    I wonder if this stat will also be recorded in cricinfo book. Over 1000 comments for a test match. Wow..

  • Rauf on January 31, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    An English fan HumanHoneyBadger (or similar), said after day 3 of Abu Dhabi test that "normal service has resumed" meaning that 1st test loss was just an unsual glitch in the well oiled English team and that "best spin attack in the world" made up of Swann and Panesar will spank Pakistan out in the 2nd test and then go onto win the 3rd test and the series. I wonder if he watched the 4th innings and what are his comments about England losing the series 2-x?

  • Farrukh on January 31, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    stunning performance of Rehman " was superb flighted delivery which draws Broad into the drive and it rips back between bat and pad and clatters the off stump".........ahaaaa!

  • Sharky on January 31, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Now it will be funny to see Andrew Strauss and the England team waiting for a Lauress Award after this circus. Remember when Australia played South Africa in South Africa, the Indians then played England. And most of the England and Indian fans reminded the Auzzies and Zaffers that the are only contesting in the 3rd vs 4th ICC rankings contest, and that they (England and India) are the number 1's and 2's.

  • Amjad on January 31, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Wow - i have never seen 1000+ comments for an article on cricinfo unlike this one !!

  • Dummy4 on January 31, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    OH Man 1000 comments Pls Make it 2000 !!!!!! Go Pakistan it feels so nice to celebrate after the world makes fun of our country

  • Andrew on January 31, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    Yay, 1002 comments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ridhwan on January 30, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    @ all those who say its pakistan's Backyard. i want to correct its. there has been no cricket in pakistan since 2009, its UAE, a neutral Venue. the backyard term suits Indians actually more than anyone else and Pakistan is playing there home series away too , GOT IT, to set the record straight we have beaten Australia and england in a test ,match each in ENGLAND.. which india could not do EVEN UAE we are playing for an yr or too. how come its our backyard ?????? we not playing here for 60 or 100 yrs ..... Pakistan is playing only away cricket since 2009.... cricinfo plz PUBLISH

  • A.S.Ahamed on January 30, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    Abdur Rehman was a rather underrated bowler who has been in and out of the PakistanTeam.He was waiting in the wings for an opportunity.It came his way in Dubai where he bowled excellently without commensurate reward ,although he made a reasonable contribution.In Abu Dhabi again he bowled very well in the first innings but got only three wickets.In the second innings in Abu Dhabi he performed marvellously .He not only kept the England's batsmen under tremendous pressure but also mesmerized them with his accuracy and turn to take 6 invaluable wickets and paved the way for the magnificent victory of Pakistan.An orthodox left arm spinner with guile and deception,he stunned the English batsmen.They had no allegations to make against Rehman,. in contrast to what the British media had to say against Ajmal after the thrashing England had to face in Dubai.

  • Abdul on January 30, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    I have read most of the time the writers (especially non-Muslims) use the words "kissing the turf" when any Pakistani players achieves any milestone or performs extraordinary. I just want to make it clear that this is not the kissing of turf but the act of supplication in order to thank the Almighty Allah.

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