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

England beaten, but not in ruins

England were beaten by the better team in Abu Dhabi but the mark of champions is how they respond to setbacks. The challenge starts now.

George Dobell in Abu Dhabi

January 28, 2012

Comments: 263 | Text size: A | A

Eoin Morgan loses his off stump to Abdur Rehman, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day, January 28, 2012
Eoin Morgan is now fighting for his Test career © AFP

It would be easy to be critical. It would be easy to call for heads and demand explanations. It would easy, too, to state that England were always overrated and that it is all downhill for them now.

But it would not be true. Not entirely true, anyway. Yes, England were poor in Dubai - simply not up to speed for this level of competition - but they were beaten by the better side in Abu Dhabi. A side with two superb spinners on a pitch that turned. England did not surrender. They were beaten. There is a difference.

Anyone glancing at the scorecard in years to come will probably conclude this game was either played on a dust bowl or that England were wretched. Neither conclusion would be correct.

The pitch was true. The ball did not spit or roll. There was no uneven bounce. It turned. And, because England's batsmen were often deceived in the flight, the effects of the turn were magnified.

Let's be clear: a total of 72 can never be acceptable. It was their lowest score since the debacle of Jamaica in 2009 and the first time they had lost two Tests in a row since 2008. It was also only the second time in a century that they have failed to chase a target under 150 in the fourth innings. The other occasion was when Geoff Boycott's side were beaten by a Richard Hadlee-inspired New Zealand in Wellington in 1978.

Some of England's batting against spin bowling was close to hapless - four batsmen were punished for going back to deliveries to which they should have played forward - and there is clearly vast room for improvement in their approach.

But it would be doing Pakistan a disservice to suggest that all these wickets were due to batsmen error. The mastery of Saeed Ajmal - his variations and subtly - and the excellence of Abdur Rehman meant the target of 145 was always going to be testing. Any team would have struggled. Batting was desperately difficult.

The truth is that England came up against a couple of fine bowlers on a turning pitch and were found wanting. Pakistan have now won four Tests in a row (and seven out of their last nine) as well as four series in a row. They are very good. Don't just write off England; praise Pakistan.

Perhaps we should not be so surprised at Pakistan's excellence? They have, for decades, produced players of outrageous talent. It is just that, in the last few years, they have been hindered by off-field events. Thankfully, under the calm guidance of Misbah-ul-Haq, those days would seem to be in the past. It is just a shame that they are scheduled to play so little Test cricket in the near future. A series against India would be mouth watering.

It is not the first time Pakistan have burst England's bubble, either. In 2005 England arrived in Pakistan on the crest of a wave having just won the Ashes and Pakistan defeated them. And in 1992, England looked as if they were going to win the World Cup only for Imran Khan's cornered tigers to rediscover their roar. This series might be remembered equally ruefully.

England had attained the No. 1 Test ranking quite legitimately. But to answer all the critics, to prove to themselves that they really were the best side in the world, they had to win in Asia. That has proved beyond them. For now, anyway.

So, what do they do? Change the captain? The coach? The men who have planned and plotted their remarkable success? Bring in a host of new players forgetting that most of these have enjoyed a suburb time over the last year or two? Of course not. This England XI is, by and large, the best XI available to them and it is only through more exposure to such bowlers and such conditions that they will improve. The Lions side are, right now, playing in Sri Lanka and England's schedule this year will allow them every opportunity to adapt to Asian conditions. Tours to Sri Lanka and India loom.

That does not mean this defeat should be accepted with phlegmatic shrug. Far from it. England have to acknowledge their weakness against spin bowling and improve.

They also have to reflect on their tactics. In the fourth innings, their understandable desperation to occupy the crease crossed over into strokelessness. Alastair Cook's innings of 7 occupied 15 overs, Strauss' 32 took 29. It allowed Pakistan to pile on the pressure and gave England no release. They struggled to even rotate the strike.

It is somewhat facile to suggest they should have simply "got on with it". Just think of how the media would have chastised batsmen that were caught at mid off or square leg. Besides, any aggressive approach against this spin attack - an attack which bowls at unusual pace, with a bowler who can turn the ball both ways - involves risk.

But England would do well to examine how other Asian teams play spin bowling. Kumar Sangakkara, for example, either went right back in his crease or came a long way forward to disrupt the length of these bowlers when Sri Lanka played Pakistan. Meanwhile the likes of VVS Laxman have come down the pitch to combat bowlers as skilled as Shane Warne. It can be done. It is not easy, but it can be done.

There are questions too, over a few members of this side. Kevin Pietersen is averaging 4.25 in this series and his missed run-out of Asad Shafiq on the third day was a crucial moment. Eoin Morgan appears hapless against spin and Ian Bell has faced 29 balls from Saeed Ajmal and been dismissed by him three times. They are meant to form the spine of the team. All of them are now potentially fighting for their Test careers. Morgan, in particular.

Perhaps there are questions to be asked, too, about the continuing absence of England players on IPL duty. Had the likes of Pietersen and Morgan played more county cricket last year, they may well have come up against Monty Panesar, Saeed Ajmal and even Graeme Swann. If England really want their next generation of players to enjoy the best possible preparation, they have to ensure their domestic cricket is as strong as it can be. They are not doing that at present and the acceptance of the Morgan Review will inflict further damage.

But remember, England fought well throughout this Test. Stuart Broad, Monty Panesar, Cook and Jonathan Trott all produced performances that deserved better. Had Shafiq and Azhar Ali not led a Pakistan fightback, England might well have won. It was, hard though it may be to see now, a step in the right direction from Dubai.

England were beaten. But so was Muhammad Ali. The true measure of champions is how they respond to such setbacks. The challenge starts now for England.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 31, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

@csowmi7 on (January 30 2012, 17:42 PM GMT) And what relevance do series/tests from yesteryear have on today's game ? Absolutely zero. But if quoting stats from the past (and you've never beaten Australia away) make you feel better about the 2 recent away series whitewashes then all the best to you.

Posted by A_Yorkshire_Lad on (January 31, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

@Divinetouch You really ought to read peoples' postings before commenting on them - you claim that we England fans are somehow in denial ? Er , look again , my friend , nobody is saying that we haven't been beaten ! Neither are we trying to ' change the result ' (sic) nor are we scurrying around looking for excuses ; we got beat , fair and square ! Oh , and congratulations to the Pakistan team on their victory , where are my manners ! You do not expect English supporters ever again to ' gloat and crow ' about how good their team is ?? Well , the silence from you Indian fans should be totally deafening then !!! As if.

Posted by MN-USA on (January 30, 2012, 20:52 GMT)

NOT in RUINS?, rather in tatters. Sevent two all out chasing a target of 145 not in Ruins. They were bragging to chase about 250 yet bowled out for 72. Oh yea in RUINS. Keep it up England!!!!!! you blame game isn't going to work again.

Posted by csowmi7 on (January 30, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

@5Wombats. There's no point in England winning series in Australia in conditions like home. It is just like India winning in Sri Lanka. The English batsman clearly lack the skills and application as they have hardly ever done anything of note in the sub continent. This not being the case for India. We have won a series in England and won tests in australia- perth, adelaide and in south africa- durban and Johannesburg , in west indies and in new zealand. The England side has never in the past produced world class bowlers in the same league as mcgrath, steyn, akram, nor have they produced batsman in the same class as tendulkar, ponting,lara, kallis. Unless they do so they will continue to be mediocre.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

A very balanced assessment of the match and the teams. Yes, England lost the series but both teams produced one of the best cricket one can wish for. The current England squad is the finest there has been for a long time. They are well honed, professional, and eager to play good cricket and win if possible. Winning and losing is important but not so important. Both teams performed outstandingly and ought to be commended.

Posted by SasiGladi on (January 30, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

England players are green track bullies (time for tit for tat), you ruled your den with top class fast bowlers and class batting line up who can face swing and bounce..Now its an aliens place, all these Asian teams have done well in England even won the series in all the formats......It never ever happened for you Guys and it will not happen also....

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (January 30, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

The proposal to have internationals play county cricket in order to improve against spin has merit, but simply telling players to skip IPL and other T20 league cricket in order to do so goes beyond glib into the realm of fantasy. Even young Australians do not follow the lead of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke on that score! (Notice how Ponting snuck in a few Big Bash League matches for his Hobart side.) Also, there is no gainsaying the fact that English county wickets are rarely akin to Asian dust bowls. Maybe >more< IPL experience on dusty wickets, even when not in anything like Test conditions, could bear at least some fruit. The real solution, though, is probably more structural in nature. End the Balkanisation of cricket wickets! Have ICC set unified global standards and make them stick with all local ground staffs. This would be the only way forward toward a Test Championship where the result would be fair and provide meaningful context.

Posted by WildAmigo on (January 30, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

I don't know what happened to World Cricket today.. The ICC and Teams should be get more emphasis on Quality of Cricket.. Not on Ranking. I didn't understand why Ranking should be in cricket at the first place. Only 10 International teams are playing a test arena. Its looks like a movies and billboards numbers who is at the top.. Just simply Pathetic.

Posted by ihaq1 on (January 30, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

well it does seem that the time shafiq and azhar batted when the england spin attack seemingly failed late on teh third day and early on the fourth...strauss was a bit desperate while cook seemed frightened...many think they should call up kieswetter who is at least a real aggressive opener or try out stephen davies in place of strauss who should play at number four...with three top batsmen failing they did not bring reliable replacements...their spinners will have tobe more aggressive in the third test too even though panesar bowled well...the pakistani spinners had different bowls for each player...and teh england were left trying defend against the last ball that troubled their batsmen...i think flower might have a problem being a coach against a spin attack that becomes unplayable at times...playing spin is usually on teh front foot and the speed has tobe noticed especially against ajmal

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 30, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

So many people posting here are just looking for something to whine about. I think that the point is that if Muhammad Ali can be as great as people obviously think he was and still get beaten then it's not a shame for this England team, which does not claim any such greatness, to be beaten. I may be proven wrong but I really think that England have psyched themselves out of this series. No doubt that Pakistan are bowling well but it's still possible to score runs against good bowling if you bat well, which England haven't. They seem to have decided as a group to play defensively against the spinners and it hasn't worked. I believe that if they try to be more attacking then they can disrupt the bowler's line and length and the captain's field placings, thus creating more scoring opportunities. How many batsmen need to be out LBW on the back foot before they realise that they need to get forward more often than not, using their feet to get down the wicket if needs be?

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 30, 2012, 2:51 GMT)

I commented before the start of this series that this was the 1st time England had come up against a good bowling attack since their 1 all draw against SA (2009-2010) - the same that Oz recently managed to do in SA... Now SA & Pak have much better teams the results are changing against Eng... Oz are still rebuilding since 2007 & bad selectors but getting there slowly - will be challenging most teams in 1-2 years... Eng has had 2 years in fairyland, now they have to face Pak, WI, SA, SL & Ind this year & win convincingly to hold onto the top Test ranking - they will have to win 3 of the 5 series at a minimum... I just don't see it...

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (January 30, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Good article by George! England don't need to change the captain or team. A team which only recently thrashed Australia (not just beat them) in their own back yard can't be bad. What England need to do is for the batsmen to correct their tactics. Batsmen have to move their feet and go right to the pitch of the ball. It doesn't matter whether the ball spins or not or whether it is a doosra or a teesra or normal. Risky, yes; but it is even more risky not to do so. Pakistani bowlers were in a comfort zone knowing the English batsmen wouldn't move forward (except for Peiterson, amongst the top 6) or seriously try to score runs. Having said this, Pak spin attack is of the highest quality and relentless. Pace attack is pretty impressive too.For these reasons, I expect and wish Pakistan to win the third test too Inshallah.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

@aglassofwater: "It's called home advantage". Umm it was more like "Neutral Venue Advantage" that Pakistan had. Pakistan have to win all matches abroad, and they never have home advantage. Of all the teams in the world, England always have the biggest home advantage because it is the only country where the ball moves in the air like a frisby. Under Wasim Bari, Pakistan lost pathetically because the young batsmen did not know how to deal with the ball that swung in the air. Whereas under Miandad in 1992, Pakistan beat England in England because many players had played there before.

Posted by vertical on (January 29, 2012, 23:19 GMT)

@aglassofwater they drew with west indies

Posted by popcorn on (January 29, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

I cannot figure out what this writer is wanting to say. England have been badly beaten, but he does not want to admit it?

Posted by JG2704 on (January 29, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

re number 1 position being gifted to England because of home matches etc. Sure , we have played many more matches at home than away since we were last beaten in a test series.Since we last lost a test series in WI we played 20 tests at home and 11 away.If you take the Bangladesh tests out 18 at home and 9 away. Annalyse it carefully + 4 of those away tests were in SA who have been consistently tough to beat over the last decade or so and 5 were in Aus.Yes Aus weren't too great but the last time we'd won there in 22 years and the last time we played there we lost 5-0.If we were avoiding playing in the SC where we have won series vs Pak and SL early in the 00s and drew one and lost 2 by 1 test vs India - then surely we'd not even contemplate touring Australia.Just to finally add that if we include the 2 away series before we went on the unbeaten run and the current series's vs Pak and SL we'd have played more tests away than at home. Funny how it all works. Please publish ESPN

Posted by JG2704 on (January 29, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

@Shan_Karthic on (January 28 2012, 17:22 PM GMT) - They also attained number 1 ranking by 3 x beating Australia , drawing with that really mediocre side (joke) SA in SA and beating the former number 1 side at home. Oh yeah in that time we've also managed to avoid playing a series vs 8th ranked side New Zealand either home or away. Must be nice to live in your rose tinted world @Posted by on (January 28 2012, 17:38 PM GMT) please check out you maths skills before you post your comms

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 29, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

@JB77 my point was that the win in australia is all they have to hang on to

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Lots of debate for the number one Test Ranking, lets Evaluate the recent top five teams according to ICC List. #1 England. England reached to number one by beating BAN 2-0(in Eng) PAK 3-1(in Eng) AUS 3-1 (in AUS) SL 1-0 (in Eng) & IND 4-0(in Eng). # 2 South Africa By beating WI 2-0(in WI) drawing Pakistan 0-0 (in UAE), India 1-1(in SA), and AUS 1-1 (in SA) and Finally beating SL 2-1(in SA). # 3 India drawing SL 1-1 (in SL) beating NZ 1-0 (in IND) drawing SA 1-1 (in SA) beating WI 1-0(in WI) loosing ENG 4-0 (in ENG) beating WI 2-0 (in IND) finally loosing AUS 4-0 (in AUS). # 4 Australia Drawing PAK 1-1(in ENG) loosing IND 2-0 (in IND) loosing ENG 3-1 (in AUS) beating SL 1-0 (in SL) Drawing SA & NZ 1-1 (in SA & AUS) finally beating IND 4-0. #5 Pakistan Drawing AUS 1-1 (in ENG) loosing ENG 3-1 (in ENG) drawing SA 0-0 (in UAE),beating NZ 1-0 (in NZ) drawing WI 1-1 (in WI) beating ZMB 1-0 (in ZMB) beating SL 1-0 (in UAE)BAN 2-0 (in BAN). Results are From 2010-Till to date.Decide your top 5

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (January 29, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

IPL cant be blamed for anything. There were only 2 players in the entire Country of England playing in the IPL (KP and Morgan), and if anything, it should have *helped* them having actually played some cricket in subcontinental conditions. Centrally contracted players not playing enough county cricket is a totally different (and VERY real) problem than needs to be addressed urgently.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

Before the series I was worried not only because Pakistan were having an average batting lineup but because India, Australia, South Africa were also looking up to this series apart from Pakistani fans. So thats why I over the moon. I was expecting 1-1 draw at the most but well done Pakistani team. Ajmal is really talented spinner but A. Rehman, Azhar and Asad are really giving their 100% performance and effort. M Hafeez is instrumental and influential as usual and hats off to Misbah's captaincy.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 29, 2012, 17:21 GMT)


He talked about Eng's issues in the subcontinent and you give the Ashes as proof? Has this series loss affected you so much that you can't see the difference between subcontinent and Oz conditions? But I know it well that logic has never been your strength and you are habitual of taking things in pieces and providing stupid explanations.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

@aglassofwater - man please stop being so arrogant - u should encourages the efforts of Pakistan - well Pakistan won a test in England in 2010 and England didnt even managed to compete Pakistan here - so please stop being arrogant

Posted by KKNIAZI on (January 29, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

"But remember, England fought well throughout this Test. Stuart Broad, Monty Panesar, Cook and Jonathan Trott all produced performances that deserved better"

Is cricinfo all for praising the winners or mourning the losers. I have gotta say, all through the series, its been how England batted, fielded, bowled or behaved. Just go through the series posts, is George Doball covering England or the series from neutral perspective, or is it Mr. Winter commentating for England or from the neutral perspective.

Come on Cricinfo, you can do better then that.


Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

I see many indians finding excuse in Eng Defeat by Pakistan for their disgusting and shameful losses to Aus (4-0) and Eng (4-0)................ lolzzz ... India's defeat was shameful ...

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

This defeat has been brewing for years!

I blame county cricket where sides are docked points for 'pitches that take excessive turn'. It is about time the ECB woke up and smelled to coffee; you don't get players who can play spin bowling unless you give spinners and chance and prepare the odd rank turner.

Congrats to Pakistan; but don't get carried away! You don't have either the batsmen or seam bowlers to play well in 'English' conditions. If you still had Amir and Asif, this really would be a brilliant side; although the batting still looks weak to me.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

some great line as i was expecting from you :) Pakistan now point to prove in alien conditions like Aus and england and SA hopefully they will do better and will make it to number 3 (atleast) soon let me check when we are scheduled Eng or SA next

Posted by Haleos on (January 29, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

@5wombats - Since when did Australia become part of subcontinent? Vaibhav talked about Subcontinent. And unless the poms beat Asian teams in Asia like Aussies at their prime they can not be termed No 1. Congrats to Pakistan. Their spin attack is second to none. Poms were found wanting on flat tracks. They can not play spin. Period.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

the point is that ICC ranking system should be corrected on the basis of home and away test.., it will clearly differentiate between the best sides in the world! india got #1 position playing on their soil england beat australia in australia but bulk of their matches were at home. so please come out with some reliable ranking system! i know its not possible bcoz in future tour programme bulk of matches are given to india, australia and england only to get more money!

Posted by Nick_W_123 on (January 29, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

It was a great Test Match, well done Pakistan. But honestly have some perspective. This doesn't make England a bad team overnight, yes they struggled in spin friendly conditions, same as Asian teams generally struggle in seam friendly conditions not just in Eng but SA, Aus and NZ too. But most of all, relaxm it was a great game, have some perspective and stop sounding so aggressive, it's cricket not war.

Posted by rahulkmc on (January 29, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

@Tiger-Khan : India vs Pakistan is a good prospect mate, really would love it. Ye no pacers to boast of but dont get carried away with Ajmals performance against England. There was a so called Saqlain who was the best in the world. He played against India and then no one has heard of him since. Not saying India would win against Pak easily or anything just saying it would be really interesting as it always been.But seriously want silly BCCI to get over its idiotic views and invite Pak for tests/ODIs in India atleast. We are all being denied a great pleasure for quite some time now.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

George dobell comments make me laugh. The Guy won't accept that England so called greatness lies only on english pitches. Instead of defying the english failure and look for solutions, he still wants to talk about the glorious past of england (like most brits who still thinks that they still live under british raj and their colonies are not good enough to challenge their supremacy)

England needs to get rid of their "Stars" who play an inning or two in a year or two and then ride on that success until this kind of disaster happens. Being the nursery of county cricket, why can't they just chose cricketers who can performs regularly and groom new talent rather than sitting on glorious past.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 29, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

re number 1 position being gifted to England because of home matches etc. Sure , we have played many more matches at home than away since we were last beaten in a test series.Since we last lost a test series in WI we played 20 tests at home and 11 away.If you take the Bangladesh tests out 18 at home and 9 away. Annalyse it carefully + 4 of those away tests were in SA who have been consistently tough to beat over the last decade or so and 5 were in Aus.Yes Aus weren't too great but the last time we'd won there in 22 years and the last time we played there we lost 5-0.If we were avoiding playing in the SC where we have won series vs Pak and SL early in the 00s and drew one and lost 2 by 1 test vs India - then surely we'd not even contemplate touring Australia.Just to finally add that if we include the 2 away series before we went on the unbeaten run and the current series's vs Pak and SL we'd have played more tests away than at home. Funny how it all works. Please publish ESPN

Posted by reality_check on (January 29, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

A very good article. Here is a suggesstion for England. Since Pak players are not invited to IPL so most of them play in English counties including Ajmal and Rehman, maybe England should let their players opt out from big money at IPL and play next to Pak players in the counties. They will get experience against quality spin and Pak players will get experience against quality seam attack on Eng pitches. Win/Win for both sides.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

England should not panic and make rash changes. The bowling is in good shape. But Davies for Morgan is an idea, as is Bopara for Pietersen... Bell has been a bit unlucky with his dismissals, especially the second innings one, when the ball bounced back onto the stumps, so I would retain him for now. The Lions are doing okay in Sri Lanka, so some of them may come into contention for places on that test tour. We should acknowledge the performances of Ajmal and Abdur and, especially, the calmness of Misbah's leadership which has bought out the best in them and others. Pakistan is a team and a united one, not comments that could be applied in recent years...

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

its nots England players mistake its juzt timg coz Pakistanis are in revenge mode and they all are united in this circumstance its very hard to beat thm

Posted by thekobra on (January 29, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Brilliant comment @Dravid_Gravitas! At let this one be posted George/ any of the mods.

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 29, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

england dont have the bowlers and their batsmen can be found out

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Pakistan have soundly beaten England twice and quite possibly will do a third time. Mainly because of Englands inability to play decent spin bowling on a receptive pitch. But Pakistani supporters should not get carried away. You have two good spinners, a seemingly level headed captain but hardly any world class batsmen. That will stop them progressing away from the desert grounds. I would still back England to win at home against them.

Posted by aglassofwater on (January 29, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

" - but they were beaten by the better side in Abu Dhabi", so that clearly implies that Pakistan should be ranked above England for playing such incredible cricket"

No it doesn't. The number one ranking is gained over time. Prior to this, Pakistan had beaten Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. Still a long way to go.

Btw, the last three subcontinental sides to visit England have all been trounced. It's called home advantage. Come back when one of these sides manage to win in England.

Posted by badmaash on (January 29, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

Pretty unfair criticism of the writer - and the English team. They had Pakistan on the ropes for most part of the this test, it was only the last two sessions that Pakistan dominated. I still consider England to be the number 1 team in world. But Australia and South Africa are not far behind.

Posted by IshaqMalik on (January 29, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

As usual, a balanced/realistic article. thumbs up George!

Posted by sirvivfan on (January 29, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

My previous comment not published so much for freedom of speech! I will try again. I sat next to Barmy Army supporters. These guys are disgusting, arrogant full of themselves! Bad language was heart, not respectful of opponents constantly suggesting they were cheating etc. Truthfully they ate sn embarrassment to England, in world which they are loosing power, this kind of intolerant behaviour is not affordable. Please publish

Posted by reeja on (January 29, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

a gift ahead of 20th anniversary of world cup victory ....thank you pakistani team

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

superb rather than suburb my friend

Posted by myawan on (January 29, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

When India lost to England/Australia, all English/Ausi writers went after Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS etc to step down or at least wished to be dropped. Now what should we say about Strauss and co., their pathetic form??? English/Aussies can't see dominance of Asians in ICC. India should learn, Pakistan & India must have one voice now.

Posted by aglassofwater on (January 29, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

" - but they were beaten by the better side in Abu Dhabi", so that clearly implies that Pakistan should be ranked above England for playing such incredible cricket"

No it doesn't. The number one ranking is gained over time. Prior to this, Pakistan had beaten Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. Still a long way to go.

Btw, the last three subcontinental sides to visit England have all been trounced. It's called home advantage. Come back when one of these sides manage to win in England.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

comparing this UN side to mohammed ali .... u must be out of ur mind. Even the arrogant aussies in their peak did not make such an arrogant statement.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

@Gautam Vibhute, I nearly fell off my chair laughing at that!

Posted by StaalBurgher on (January 29, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

So... will England still "whitewash" SA in June? Where are all those chest beaters now? I said it 2 years ago and I say it still; No one is undisputed no.1 and no one will be until one of the teams combine the holy-trinityd; 1 world beating spinner (like Warne/Murali),1 world beating quick (backed by 2 VERY good other bowlers), 6 batsmen that perform everywhere (backed by a very short tail). Ultimately you need a team with no apparent weakness.

None of Aus, Eng, India, Pakistan or SA have that. We all have frailties somewhere and a good team can exploit that when you are having an off day.

So, we had India that became no.1 (thanks to a bazillion home series for 2.5 years straight) and then England (lucky to be present to exploit India's implosion) who alternatively thumped their chests victoriously in anticipation of the impending New World Order... and both have been brought down to Earth.

Which country's media/commentators will make a fool of themselves next I wonder?

Posted by AnilKumble1983 on (January 29, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Whilst we give credit to Pakistan for ultimately outplaying England, credit must be given to the umpires for their near perfect decision making. Bruce Oxenford has come up leaps and bounds in this series as well as Steve Davis. Too often we criticise umpires for poor performances but in this case credit must be given for a excellent performance.

Posted by SarunSahadevan on (January 29, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

As the much heralded Number 1 in test cricket, England should play much better rather than look hapless against spin bowling. The article seems very biased even though the author tries to praise Pakistan. The author, then makes a comparison between the great Mohammed Ali and England. Has he ever watched Ali in a fight?? Champions win and lose the same way.

Posted by Devapriya on (January 29, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Why do you have to mention that two good spinners in a helpful pitch exposed England? When South Asian teams come to England they will not use - we were beaten by two good swing bowlers on a seaming pitch on a cloudy day. It is the conditions my dear, Watson. If you are the no 1 team in the world you have to behave like one too!

Posted by shery2floyd on (January 29, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

Hope Pakistan has motivation to wipe out in england in next test. Probably then denial will stop. English players(not so english) cant play spin. Indians lacks interest. Swann is arrogant most overrated spinner. Luving Panesar's return. Hope Swann gets kicked out. Ajmal is best spinner(current players) in world, miles ahead of swann. Looks like Test matches is going to be onesided, till Australia finds good spinner or Pakistan finds few more good batsman who can bat outside subcontinent. So far as India is concerned, has to go back to rebuilding mode.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 29, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

@Gautam Vibhute on (January 29 2012, 02:21 AM GMT) SOUR GRAPES; you state - "ENGLAND is worse in subcontinent than India overseas. India did not have the application and drive to win. ENGLAND does not have the talent or skill to win". Rubbish. If what you say is true - how can you explain England defeating Australia in Australia with 3 Innings defeats and then india getting whacked 4-0 by same Australia team? If you don't know what you are talking about - best to go back to india V Australia funeral forums. You show yourself up here.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (January 29, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Are you kidding me Dobell?.......what a spirited but flimsy defence. If that is anything to go by then asian teams should never bother about losing in Eng,Aus and SA.

Posted by ahq2 on (January 29, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

BTW, for the record, Pakistan didnt win this one from any jaw of defeat or anything. Such an excellent match, you could at the end of no session really say 'XXX is on top'. It was in balance right till the end. The end, where it just EXPLODED! Even 150 was always going to be tricky. Nobody could say 'England have this one in the bag' at any point in the game. An even contest, won by the better team. There, I said it.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

i think the current ranking system is can england be no1

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

@ anuradha_d - Well Said but correct urself pak is the 5th ranked team before the start of tis series...

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Right now in world cricket there is no team that can play well in conditions foreign to it. Maybe, just maybe South Africa is an exception.

Posted by The_Wog on (January 29, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

Question: Does anyone know whether the ENG team spent the match sledging PAK about what their averages would look like on a foggy Headingley greentop? Or petulantly going on about past home wins during their press conferences?

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Had the middle order played their normal games and even got out for twenty or thirty instead of scratching around for nothing we would probably have won. Bopara for Morgan!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

I have one question from the BRITZ now. What about Rehman Bowling Action. :p

Posted by Jezinho on (January 29, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

I love how a couple of defeats for England have made some Indian supporters feel better. Whilst England's batting in the second innings in AUH was brittle, at least the England team has some fight. They are able to get 20 wickets a game on a regular basis and when the opposition are doing well they don't give up like the prima donnas that infest the Indian side. Eight catastrophic defeats by huge margins against England and Australia do not even begin to compare with hiccups that England has encountered in the UAE. And remember, it is the ICC ratings system that ranks England the no. 1 test team based on their performances over the qualifying period. You don't hear the English players bragging about this status, rather that they are seeking to improve and become as good as the Windies side of the 70s or Steve Waugh's Australians. Having said all of that , well done Pakistan. They have some real talent and it is great to see them playing so well.

Posted by giridhar1988 on (January 29, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Ha. Ha. spot on jamal. I dont know which game the author was following! May be he was talking about whitewash! When India played poorly against England, all were screaming India dont play moving ball. England outplanned India. Then, what is that pakistan have done to England. Atleast India had some injury problems in the series whereas a fully fit england have been demolished by pakistan just like a boxer giving knockout punches to a fellow boxer whose hands are tied back!! The contest looked like even because pakistan still not have batted to their potential. The likes of younis khan has not yet fired. They dont have a clue against ajmal and rehman. Unless england prove themselves in the sub-continent (which seams highly unlikely), they are not worthy number 1 akin to india who dint get to number 1 by winning in aus & eng.

Every team is winning in their backyard now. But all struggle when they go overseas. Atleast there is a good thing that no team has dominated every team everywhere

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

lol.... I just wanna say that Pakistan has proven himself the best team out of both teams in these two tests.. just appreciate them for giving that sort of performance continually in last 15months or so against the top sides.. Remember they r playing home series at neutral venue .. they ve been involved in lots of controversies for wrong reason and then they are always fighting like corner tigers.. writer should not make lame excuses for defeat.. had he not be given out.. had he not be bowled .. this n that n bla bla bla... come of it yar .. Pakistan never said about Aamir and Asif the two world class bowlers ( had they been there )... WTF .. keep it up Pakistan welldone boys..

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

i think icc have got this ranking system should give far more points for an overseas win and points should be deducted when the teams loose at home

Posted by Chona on (January 29, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

When Pak won 1st test in this series, Eng media and commentators came with lame excuses like Saeed Ajmal wears full sleaves while bowling ( though Panesar was seen in this test doing the same), then they said that Ajaml's action is suspect and that it is not coachable to children etc was all like sour the terminator has changed....may be Rehman will be criticized for some other lame excuse....may be for wearing an underwear which helped him to swivel his body while delivering the ball and hence it was helping him turn more.......:-) :-) learn to accept defeat.....If Eng was dishing out comprehensive defeats to others during past 18 months then their supporters and media should understand that this is only a game and reverse situation is also not treat Cricket as your "property" it is for all playing countries and hence any good team on the day can win.....lastly Eng is still a good is just the fact that Pak outplayed them....simple...

Posted by sabirshah on (January 29, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

Whatever the article is about , we don't care at the moment, Inzi's team was about to win when the 'ball tampered' scandal as thrown at Pakistani team, 2 years ago, when fast bowlers stroke like lightening , the spot fixing scandal was thrown, Ian botham's scandal, all series are just to drive NATIONAL PAKISTANI PLAYERS away from the game. This year, England thought that the best players of Pakistan are in JAIL! so no contraversies and scandals, they can easily win, but.....wooooooooooooosh! Congratulations to Pakistani Team and shame on English team to lose in this fashioN!This scar will remain on England forever i guess, worse than Newzealand defeat

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

Interesting Review From George Dobell

Posted by Hold_the_line on (January 29, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

"England were beaten by the better team in Abu Dhabi but the mark of champions is how they respond to setbacks. The challenge starts now."

True, except the challenge doesnt start now, it started after the 1st test loss of the series. England have had a poor start in responding to that challenge.

Posted by addicted_to_chaos on (January 29, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

Heyyyyyyy....... what indian fans are doing here bashing eng and author........ I wonder how bad their memory is? Or 4-0 shock by Aus is too much to tackle?...... Sehwag's crap of "Yeah we lost so what??" is truly representing typical indian fan mentality.......

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

Who ever the author, Mate first of all Poms were out beaten, you people just cant accept that you don't deserve to be No 1. Pakis played great cricket, I hope India can learn something from them. Pommies try to give credit to the rite team, your players did not perform as a No 1 team. I totally disagree with this article, England was outplayed in all departments. Please spare Mohammad Ali out of this, He was great or the greatest. England is not, England is pathetic, as they have always been. Australia is a team to be compared to the great Ali. U will be beaten again, like street dogs get beaten when they start barking for nothing. The best performance by Pakis after what they had to go through.


Posted by rhtdm302 on (January 29, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

green track bullies! England Take my advice stop playing in subcontinent if you want to remain no 1.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

England can only performe well where the ball seemed n swing and art of spin is a specialty of sub continent and England have to work hard to master in this area. Mr. Dobell!! England score England only scored 21 runs in first 15 over and u are not accepting there surrender ? The most of the player were got out only blocking the ball and they didnt even tried to take singles like Nasser Hussain were suggesting Pakistani batsmans. 72 ALL OUT indicates there complete surrender and mate its cricket not war were soldier have put his hands behind his head and lay down his weapons on ground.

Posted by dmqi on (January 29, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Clive Lyod's WI beat India in India and Pakistan in Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan had good spnners then. Australia also can play againts spin but England has a horrible records in the subcontinent. They are strong in their own backyard and their media and ex- cricketers are even better in making excuse or finding fishy smell. Now is the time when England starts playing against Monty in their own soil on spin pitch and use Mushtaq to train spinners. Otherwise, this type of results will give them pain in next 12 months, too bad,

Posted by stark-truth on (January 29, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

I find the mirth and the merrymaking of many in Indian camp a bit amusing. They have been absolutely walloped into submission 8-0 with massive defeats after defeats. At least the English put up a brave fight for vast majority of the Test actually having the upper hand till the last day wore on. Yes, they were abysmal in the second innings but they came up against two world-class performances from the mystical duo of Ajmal / Rehman. I doubt if Indian batting line-up would have fared any better judging by their streak of capitulation when put under pressure in helpful bowling conditions. England is a potent team which goes around their business in a professional manner, unlike the rag-a-tag ageing Indian team whose followers are far more focused on individual batting milestones.

Posted by sirvivfan on (January 29, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

The Barmy Army supporters were worse than the players. I happened to sit to these lot for much of 4 days.... These so called England supporters are a disgrace, arrogant, fat bellied rattled, actually dan right racist I would say in there attitude! Nobody task and writes about this. No other country has such unsupporting whinging set of supporters. I heard foul mouthed language every time Pakistan too a wicket or appealed for one. They ran out of the ground when England were 8 down! No respect to oppositions brilliant play. Please publish this as I want the truth to be told.

Posted by K.A.K on (January 29, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

The ICC's team ranking system needs to be reviewed and improved. Or other ranking index should come up that show ranking based on last 12 months performance only.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 29, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

This is a nothing article and the author also does the mandatory Blame-The-IPL/BCCI/India in the trailing part of the article. I like the way the author puts that the challenge begins now. After the 3rd test he would say the REAL challenge begins now. Usage of the No-Scotsman adage.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (January 29, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

Mr.George the first half of the article was outstanding with lot of valid points and observations. But comparing current England team who have been rolled out for under 100 chasing 145 under gentle conditions and modestly turning pitch to the GREATEST OF ALL CHAMPIONS Ali is farcical. I don't remember Ali loosing to smoking Joe by knock out in the first round. As an Englishmen you seemed to have got bit carried away.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

Test Ranking method need to be changed. The team has to succeed both at home and abroad against a different teams and at different locations

Posted by chapathishot on (January 29, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

@Priceless1 Getting all out for 72 is very respectable.last five wickets fell in 11 balls fastest in recorded test history very respectable.World no 1 team and greatest of all time after windies of 80s and Aussies of noughties as per vasline and co cant get 145 to wina decent pitch very respectable on LOL.The difference between chalk and cheese was also found out when monty outbowled the overrated greatest offspinner in favourable conditions.If India were laughing stock in England ,England are so in Asia .This is only the start of the worst Srilanka and India are calling with the crowds also Pommies will shiver.

Posted by Vindaliew on (January 29, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

England didn't really look like winning the 1992 World Cup final. They ran out of steam before the last three matches, losing to Zimbabwe, then edging South Africa in the semi-final thanks to some really horrible rain-rules, before going through the tired motions against Imran Khan's men at the end. Pakistan, on the other hand, played the match of their lives against the near-invincible New Zealanders in their semi-final.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 29, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

Can someone publish or share the formula used by the ICC to calculate the world rankings? Particularly, the test rankings?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (January 29, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

Truth be told. If this is how England will bat when they tour India, then they will get beaten easily, even if Indians play 50% of the game that they are capable of. There's still lot of time left to prepare for the future. But there is an urgent need for the English players to get some fair tracks to practice on in their country. I don't know how the English can prepare fair tracks within this short span of time. They can also try to set up practice camps in India, Srilanka, Bangladesh and of course Dubai. ECB needs to move forward and should not deprive proper practice pitches to this talented bunch. Seriously, I'm aghast at the way Bell, KP and Trott are not able to make an impact on these tracks. I have no doubt that the lifeless English pitches have contributed to these hapless performances over a period of more than three to four decades in Asia. There seems to be no intent to make the right moves.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

hope is a good thing, probably the best of things. For the past couple of years I had hoped to be able to watch my Pak-Boys perform in an outstanding manner. It has happened at last. Three cheers for the guys...they truly looked like a united outfit on the field. Way to go Misbah...LOVE U for what you have done with the team and for having raised the spirit of the nation. Pak-Boys, YOU MAKE ME PROUD.

Posted by Nvalley on (January 29, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

Gee another self inflicted defeat by England, Dobell?? :P

Posted by tradetekbiz on (January 29, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Pakistan were great and that's all that we should get from this. It's not an excuse for Indian supporters to live vicariously through Pakistan. It's not something that justifies their struggles with Australia or England. I'm sure Australia and England would win in India too.

Posted by StopSmoking on (January 29, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

LOL you had to mention IPL some how, don't you? hahaha England has been pathetic on spinning condition before probably you were born let alone the birth of IPL. If anything IPL will probably help Indian players to play on slow tracks. Not all pitches are turning ones, but for late of the tournament, it turns in Rajasthan, Chennai and Kolkata. English media and English players = overrated and celebrate little things OTT for ages. Keep gloating.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Now only had this losing team been India, the entire analysis had been different. Now the shoe is on the other foot so soon, Cricinfo authors are groping in the dark for words.

Well done Pakistan. These two matches go on to show that almost every team today is only good on home turfs, and fall terribly short while traveling.

What now? English will start carrying their own pitches to the subcontinent? :P

Posted by GoldenAsif on (January 29, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

It took the world 2 years to expose India's #1 status and exploit their weaknesses on bouncy and seaming wickets in England and Australia. But it's taken the world only 3 months to do this to #1 England and exploit their weaknesses against high class spin bowling, all thanks to Pakistan!! I am as thrilled as any Pakistani by this victory but I am not getting carried away just yet. First Pak must find a way to beat Aus in Aus and SA in SA. We have beaten Eng in Eng in the past but Aus remains the hardest place for Pakistan to win in tests atleast. May this team continue to improve and put in the necessary hardwork to achieve that aim. We don't want to be a #1 team like India or England!! A number one team should be capable of winning (or atleast competing) anywhere in the world. England are good but they are not that good. Can't really compare this English team to the dominant great Windies and Aussie sides of the past. Anyone thinking that must be delusional. More disappointments lie i

Posted by inzisaloos on (January 29, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

Two points: 1] I don't think England will find the same problems facing spin in Sri Lanka or India later this year because with the retirement of Murali and the decline of Harbajhan neither of those sides possesses a 'mystery' spinner with the skill of Ajmal. Rehman has been fantastic but has benefitted from the confusion about techniques against spin that Ajmal has cast over the England batsmen. Who will do that for SL or India? 2] The real challenge for Pakistan will be how they play away from 'home.' They won a series in NZ - renowned for its seaming wickets - last year. They won a test in the ill-fated series in England in 2010, as well as drawing the series 1-1 with Australia in the same country. They also won a test against SA on their last tour there. This highlights their abilities on their travels. They have the bowlers to win anywhere so the onus will be on the batsmen delivering hundreds.

Posted by KP_84 on (January 29, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

"England were beaten. But so was Muhammad Ali." Hahahaha. Nope. No sign of an inflated ego here.

"Anyone glancing at the scorecard in years to come will probably conclude this game was either played on a dust bowl or that England were wretched. Neither conclusion would be correct." Well, actually, the latter would be close enough to the truth. "Wretched" might be a little harsh, but (as the author himself concedes later on in the article) England's batsmen were highly inadequate against spin bowling. The fact that they nearly won despite this is evidence that Pakistan (contrary to what the author claims) is not a very good side. They are a far cry from the great Pakistan sides of the 1980s and '90s and have some batting issues of their own.

Posted by VIVz_forearm on (January 29, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

@ Posted by Gautam Vibhute on (January 29 2012, 02:21 AM GMT)

really? india loosing 4-0 was not good enough for you yeah? surely india is the most overhyped test team

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

we won the game. great, a great victory indeed... now we need to tie up all the lose ends. starting with the batting. either we play defensive or aggressive we need more runs on the board. Pakistans' 1 2 3 4, at least one of them has to get his head down and score a big one. need to concentrate on partnerships. Pakistan played junaid khan and had no use for him. He, i believe will be great for pakistan one day but he wasn't needed. So as i see it pakistan has two options, either drop him and get another spinner from home and give england another problem to deal with or drop him and get umar akmal in. give him a chance to score a hundren and make his place in the team. last and definitely not the least, MONTY, how to play him. the coaching staff should sit down and come up with a formula to play him. We have to remember that we have england by the neck, dont let the grip lose.

Posted by Tiger-Khan on (January 29, 2012, 2:55 GMT)

it would be nice to see india play Pak in the near future...what will india do ? make a pace attack, clearly not from their own words... spinning track? ajmal and co will eat them like jalabi!!!!

india you have been dared!!

Posted by on (January 29, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

@Gautam Vibhute: That's the funniest logic I've heard in a long long time! England have managed to stay competitive in the 2nd match. how can you compare 0-2 to 0-8? Do you even know what you're saying? I'll only compare England to India if the get whitewashed in this series and vs. SL and India later this year. And that will not happen because Strauss, unlike Sehwag, does not live in denial.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 29, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

To be fair to England (reluctantly!) the rankings are nonsense. England, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia are evenly matched and far ahead of any other team, and are all hard to beat at home. England's tour of the UAE will be followed in 2012 by tours to Sri Lanka and India. But Pakistan have better spinners and tougher, more resilient batsmen than those two countries. Pakistan have really exposed the failings of Strauss, Bell, Pieterson and Morgan at this level against spin, but if the selectors and coaches adapt appropriately that experience should allow England to be better prepared for those later tours against weaker opposition. This was a great game which could have gone either way. But neither team requires radical changes, just a few small adjustments.

Posted by RoJayao on (January 29, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

Here Here @BlueyCollar! Talk the talk and you must walk the walk. England and India, birds of a feather. Squawking out loud, they'll die together!

Posted by SagirParkar on (January 29, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

@Freddie Flintoff >> are you kidding mate... what astonishing levels of arrogance do you possess my friend !!! I am willing to bet 10 bucks that Australia get the Ashes out of your slippery grasp the next time they face you.. dont be fooled by Lyon. Aussies have a potent pace attack and i dont see England's batsmen handling the heat very well.. you might have won the last one in Oz.. but the next one is ours !

Posted by Chris_P on (January 29, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

@Full-Blooded-Wallop. Might I remind you that this English bowling team has done an outstanding job with the ball. Their batting has been awful, something I have have always thought, despite their recent success. I have seen Strauss Cook & Pieterson struggle against Warne in Adelaide, quality spin is their biggest jinx. But the bowling, old boy, has been top drawer stuff. And your mob, from their batting efforts recently would struggle more than the Pakis. And might i add, your bowling attack is still in pop gun phase, & your spinners not a patch on the Pakis. So where does that leave India in the food chain if England are that bad in your opinion? Good article btw, spot on.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

ENGLAND is worse in subcontinent than India overseas. India did not have the application and drive to win. ENGLAND does not have the talent or skill to win.

Posted by JB77 on (January 29, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

@ rickyvoncanterbury: plus they can scare the same grandchildren with the tale of the '16-year Drought' of the 'Whitewash of Tears'....or do only post 2006/07 Ashes series count nowadays?

Posted by on (January 29, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

As an Indian, I'm sick at how some of the Indian fans literally "spam" the comments with their meaningless posts. Guys, we got THRASHED 8-0 in two overseas tests, each one of them being huge defeats. England have managed to stay competitive, even though they did lose 2-0. So stop coming here and crowing away. England might not be good in the sub-continent, but they're quite clearly far far better than India at the moment. And at least Strauss isn't offering excuses like Sehwag is.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

the team is lyin down on the floor , knocked out by few heavy punches with a bleeding nose.. and yet the only guy who wants to come up with lame reason to defend his " GONE DOWN HEROES" Mr Writer is still saying ,,,'England is not in ruins ' .... lolz i feel pity for u Mr Writer up ur eyes and be real

Posted by wc1992 on (January 29, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

Let me tell all who think the auther is on the mark ,, we he is not. Like all english who still think (living in the past )like bob wills that we have no right to win and there is always execuses they receive hammring from pakistan. Most of the english analysis if you read or listen saying wrong shot or poor shot not many saying great bowling (good bowling) ie Nassier hussain and Ian Bottom . Well let me pinch you with reality , If it was not for UMPIRES england would have lost this even worst then 1st test and they would never have lead and also there was no way they were getting any where near 74... i chanllenge all the English writer and fan to take cool glass of water and review the match find the real answer

Posted by Ross_Co on (January 29, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

Winning in Asia would hardly "answer all the critics". Winning anywhere with an actual English team rather than a collection of mercenary ring-ins would rate higher for a start.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

cricinfo always praises ENG ..They are thoroughly undeserved no 1..They have to win in Asian conditions to prove themselves..but they cant...None of the teams are good in overseas...

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

There is still hope. Thats what i think Dobell is trying to say. & its true. England have not suddenly become a horrible side. They put up more fight in this 1 test than India did in their entire series down under. In fact they improved from the last test where they should have played Panesar ahead of Tremlett who didnt do much or played 5 bowlers including Swann & Monty especially since Bresnan got injured. They were over confident & tried a bowling attack that worked in English/ Australian conditions vs making adaptations to change in conditions. Yet as i said before there is still hope. Neither India's nor Sri Lanka's bowling attack is as good as Pakistan's at the moment even though they've lost Asif & Amir. England just need to sharpen up the batting technique & try to be more positive vs the spinners in the next test & when they go to the sub continent.

Posted by cloudmess on (January 29, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

Well done, Pakistan. Felt so sorry for the team at the end of 2010, and feared they'd nose-dive out of the game like Zimbabwe. But I'll never understood England. I still don't know how they were quite so good against Australia (in Australia remember) and India last year, and yet can be so inept now, with basically the same personnel. People talk about the unfamiliar "Asian" conditions as if it's still the 19th century - these far away and mysterious lands where, heaven forbid, the ball spins a bit more and seams a bit less. You'd think England were playing on Mars.

Posted by Belltower on (January 29, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

I cracked up when I logged on to cricinfo last night to check the score, expecting to see an england win. In all the time Australia were number 1 we were never humiliated in a series like this, in ruins they are. India are flat and spinning track bullies and England are the green track bullies. Australia were always able to remain competitive on all tracks even in our decline the only thrashing we have received was in the Ashes last year. All the poms have been commenting on the oz stories and saying beating india is nothing, at least we are still winning. Like India, England have been outstanding at home recently but there only away win of note has been in the ashes last year.Bring on the Ashes in 2013

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 1:13 GMT)

When in Asia aggressive cricket can be quite handy. England should have shown more intent when they were chasing 145. Yes it would not have been easy but it wood have been easier than the approach they took as their techniques vs quality spin is not top notch. they stood a better chance if they had tried to score more freely. look at the series West Indies had vs India? India had all their key players except Zaheer & Yet we took first innings points twice. Where we went wrong is where England went wrong. We Didnt show enough intent & blew our chance by batting poorly in the second innings. We didnt have a player like Gayle who would have attacked the bowling & forced the opposing captain to think twice & maybe get overly defensive. This is what players like Warner, Gayle, Sehwag Tamim & Dilshan are good at. They force the opposition to think twice. to start doubting themselves & get defensive. That is the advantage they will have over Cook & Strauss

Posted by StoneRose on (January 29, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

Good article. The 'won 1 in 19 in the subcontinent' stat is unfair because this goes back to 2001 and pre-dates this team. This team has played only twice in the Asia (excl BDesh) (admittedly they have now lost twice). I think the point of the article is to say judge them after the SL and even the India away series, they've only played two matches so far. "Beaten by the better side" means on the day / in these conditions. To get to No1 you have to win a lot of series, which England have done. That's not to take anything away from Pakistan who were magnificent and their resurgence is good for Test cricket.

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (January 29, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

One thing to note in the two tests is: England played the first test match with just one spinner: they made a better choice in the second one by playing Panesar: Panesar's performance made the second game much more competitive. If you take out his performance in the second game, England would have lost the second match like the first one. On a joking note: Perhaps playing a third spinner may make England win the 3rd test. I wonder if I am giving them the winning formula [Just kidding!]

Posted by yorkshirematt on (January 29, 2012, 0:49 GMT)

Dobell, this is not a time to be optimistic. You're clearly not a yorkshireman!

Posted by ShaikatRushdee on (January 29, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

England's margin of defeat to Pakistan is better than that of Zimbabwe to NZ and India to Aussies. The only difference was their ranking at no. 1. Geoff Boycott is the biggest loser in the defeat as he bet his 3 houses on a win. Though better than bringing in his Mama in the game as he did against Bangladesh. I don't know whether George Dobell is the other! England's 72 is better than Zimbabwe's 51, but Bangladeshi and Zimbabwe fans may still call for a self-inflicted hibernation of England from Test cricket, if not stripping off their Test status! What an irony! I'll not, however, support any such demand, because it'll deprive Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to practise win at home at least! Pakistan's series win against England should be a lesson for Bangladesh, WI and Zimbabwe about the importance of stability and leadership in their rebuilding process.

Posted by ZsZs on (January 29, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

and also "they were going to win the World Cup only for Imran Khan's cornered tigers to rediscover their roar." England would have won... what a feel good article... would have could have should have... move on

Posted by JWTragic on (January 29, 2012, 0:20 GMT)

I've seen only a little of this series - congratulations to Pakistan on a well-deserved victory - it makes me think that this era of cricket is going to mean that it is well-nigh impossible for teams to win away from home. I'm an Aussie, and I've watched the Indians go down 4-0 over the past few weeks. I am sensible enough to know that the Indians are not that bad, and the Aussies are not that good. The gulf between sides in these series is widened by poor preparation of sides on tour. It used to be that sides would take 30 players and play 4 or 5 three or four-day games in the lead up to the first test, allowing their batsmen and bowlers to adjust to local conditions. Now, in the desperate bid for money, tours are as short as possible, the public is deprived of seeing touring greats like Tendulkar and co playing against regional sides, and as a result, the visitors are always underprepared. The one recent exception? England in Oz in 2010-11. And what happened? The better side won.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

I have read a few articles from the author and unfortunately he himself does not know what is he talking about more often than not. The author admits that the wicket was not unplayable but just a spinning wicket. The bowling was good but nothing that No:1 team in the world should not be able to handle it. The fact is that the English team collapsed under pressure. They did in fact surrender. If the English batsmen are not capable of handling this type of spin bowling maybe they should retire from Test cricket. Other examples of contradictory statements from the article: (1) This England XI is, by and large, the best XI available to them and it is only through more exposure to such bowlers and such conditions that they will improve (2) All of them (Bell, Peterson and Morgan) are now potentially fighting for their Test careers. Morgan, in particular.

But the most ridiculous of them all is: Had Shafiq and Azhar Ali not led a Pakistan fightback, England might well have won.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

The challenge started when England lost the first test. England came back strong, fought hard and dominated the first three innings. But Mr. Dobell may I please remind you the essence of being a champion; at 54/4 on the third day, I predicted that now it could be all over for Pakistan. The best part of the match was that the relatively inexperienced youngsters stood up to the challenge and produced a crucial partnership that revived some hope for Pakistan. And then the spinners clinched what was to be an imminent victory for the english side. A champion is the one who's beaten once and then comes back strongly to knock the same opponent off the ground; and not the one who's beaten twice over the same mistakes he made the first time. Lets accept what Miandad said for a change.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

I am a Pakistani supporter but I support the author's analysis. The game could have gone either way and the praise should be for Pakistan rather than just being critical of the English team.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 29, 2012, 0:06 GMT)

of course they are not in ruins, they can still tell the grandchildren in 2025 they beat australia at home in 2010/11

Posted by forcricket on (January 28, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

Mr.Dobell, if you continue in similar fashion your job may be on the line also. Can't figure out what you are trying to say. Try and give credit where it is due, it seems like you are not able to digest what's happening with English team.

Posted by mensan on (January 28, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

The wicket was similar to Dubai wicket. Both were not dustbowls or rank-turners or spinners paradise. It was just that spinners from both teams bowled well.

Posted by sachinsjaihindustan on (January 28, 2012, 23:33 GMT)

What is happening to these test matches around the world?! Seriously, the way our batsmen handled pace bowling in Australia was an absolute joke. But England's ability to handle spin is just pathetic. They just picked up from where they left off from the One day series against India where they were hammered 5-0. To suggest that batsmen error is not to blame is absurd. Playing from the crease without decisive front foot or back foot movements with hard hands is not gonna get you very far. So much for their ranking!!

Posted by longlivewoodoo on (January 28, 2012, 23:17 GMT)

@Sir_Freddy_Flintoff Hav u sense ? England lost 2 out of 2. Swann no. 1 offspinner ? On subcontinent pitches where misbah can turn the ball, swann is just ok. Ur desire of 10 out of 10 will be completed soon. Such a sloppy in fielding by eng. They catch d ball lik they tryin to catch fish. If they r no. 1 then i am Muhammad Ali.

Posted by Chicagocric on (January 28, 2012, 23:17 GMT)

Just for clarification, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are part of United Arab Emirates and not part of Pakistan. For all those overly empathizing with England, Pakistani cricket team has also played these two matches on foreign soil. In terms of weather, I understand the temperature was similar to Manchester in autumn and in terms of the crowd support there were as many English supporters as Pakistani supporters on some of the days, albeit both segments of supporters was probably less than the number of players - haha! Let's give the young Pakistani cricketers the credit they deserve for their fighting spirit and for winning the two tests. Brave and honest admission by Andrew Strauss at loss of the second test. A word for commentators, let's have some high quality objective reporting for an international audience.

Posted by loudmouth on (January 28, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

Ah Sir Fred. So good to have you dial in your deluded thoughts yet again. Did I see you write 'incredible in the field'? Do you mean incredibly bad in the field? Four dropped catches + a missed run out doesn't really cut it I'm afraid. But I do like your diversion over to Nathan Lyon + the Aussies. Nice way to blur the fact that England looked absolutely woeful against the Pakistan spinners. I thought it was especially delicious to hear Nasser Hussain commentating the whole test as if it were a foregone that England would bounce back + win the Test. Great to have England back to their crumbly old self. By the way I had a chat with the real Freddie the other day + he filled me in his TV ad stuff he's got going - my God how the mighty have fallen........

Posted by prakash5455 on (January 28, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

@aalkool - On the money, good comments!

Posted by bohurupi on (January 28, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

Pakistan now need to concentrate more on batting. Their batting is still fragile. Maybe, Akmal can be included in the team and Junaid Khan excluded for The third test in Dubai. This will increase their bating depth but then Pakistan will be playing with only one genuine pacer. Pakistan at least need one more genuine all rounder in the team to make them perfectly balanced.

Posted by mensan on (January 28, 2012, 22:28 GMT)

I really commend Misbah who has made this team united under his leadership. This is certainly a team of very average ability on paper, with not a single so-called superstar. At the same time, this is the OLDEST team to ever play for Pakistan with lots of players over 30 and none less than 25. But they have worked hard, supported each other, planned well and performed collectively as a team way above their abilities. Not once under Misbah's leadership, has this team surrendered meekly in tests. Hafeez, Younis, Saaed, Umar Gul, Abdur Rehman and the younger guys all have contributed in this magnificient rise for Pakistan test team. I also praise Mohsin Khan. Now there is a strong case not to displace him. He is not a coach with a laptop but I think he has made the team mentally strong which is the main thing to compete at top level.Well done Pakistan! No other team could probably have emerged from the dire straits of spot fixing scandal so quickly.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Let's be honest - Pakistan outplayed England in this series. England were mentally spooked about spinning wickets even before they started, and couple of excellent spinners ( and another very valuable one in Hafeez) just preyed on it. Any quality bowling, be it pace or spin, can't be countered with indecisive mind and footwork. It does not ( and should not) erode their stellar work over the last couple of seasons. However, outside the home comforts their patience, and skills will be tested, so good luck ENG, let's hope they bounce back. And well done PAK. They might lack the flourish of an 80s or 90s team which had some of the greatest bowlers of the game and some exciting stroke-players, but they never lack fight!

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (January 28, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

To all English fans praising Dobell and saying England is down but not out -- we admire your belief. But don't forget you are being "thrashed" by a Pakistan team that many will consider is not full strength. That makes these defeats even more hard to bear. England is #1, on paper, and in their backyard. In Asia they will always lose to Pakistan, India and SL.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 28, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

I loved the reference to Mohumad Ali .. it was so cute. ... already the feeling is out and about that you may be more of the Jim Courier type. You know, the sort of champion you have when you're in between proper ones. .... Gotta agree with the author on one thing though, the fight to retain your ranking has only just begun.

Posted by Desisd on (January 28, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

Mr. George Dobell Are you living in denial?? they were washed up 5-0 in ODI´s in India and now by Wonderful Pakistan team and you still think they can play spin bowling?? Wait for India tour and I doubt you will write same stuff about this English team.

Posted by HatsforBats on (January 28, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

I would think losing 5 wickets for 4 runs qualifies as surrendering. It was a fascinating test to follow, and no doubt England are good but they can be better. Drop Strauss and keep him on as a team motivator (that's all he does anyway); his best days (which weren't that good anyway) as a batsman are behind him and he is no tactical genius (entirely too defensive with such a good attack at his disposal, though I'm not sure Cook will be any better). Drop Morgan; seriously, why is he in the team? Is he the 6th best batsman in England? He wasn't even any good in the Ashes against an atrocious Aus attack. Drop KP and his ego and tell him to score some runs at county level. Let Trott open and put Bell at 3 (he can do it, he's too good not to). Pick some promising young ENGLISH Lions (Woakes? Hales? Whoever, I'm sure Eng fans would know) and let them cut their teeth at the highest level (it worked for Cook). No bowling changes required (except for Bresnan in).

Posted by mensan on (January 28, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

I reckon this was a very competitive match. Very tensely fought out by both teams. Both teams did well. In the end, it was the maturity shown by Azhar and Asad which won the match for Pakistan. But I don't think England is a bad team after these 2 defeats. Just that they can't always get pitches of their liking away from home. I think they will learn from this experience and use this to improve in their coming away series against Sri lanka and India. They did well by scheduling England Lions visit of DB and SL this year. It should help them in the long run. England needs to play more and more in sub-continent in order to improve their performance on these kind of pitches. I think they did well to change their bowling strategy by replacing 3rd pacer with a 2nd spinner. Panesar provided good balance to their team in these conditions. After the era of Zaheer and Miandad, Pakistan has not been too good a side against quality spinners. Warne, Murali and Panesar have proved this is past.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 28, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

Ruins are the remains of human-made architecture: structures that were once complete, as time went by, have fallen into a state of partial or complete disrepair, due to lack of maintenance......... the definition sounds like ruins to me

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

Pakistan won the game convincingly. They played better and deserved the victory. My dear George, be objective and try to be a bit honest too. 'The challenge starts now for England' your closing sentence.In your zeal to cover up the pathetic performance of the World No: 1 team you simply forgot that England have already lost theTest series. Congrat to Pakistan.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

"The challenge starts now"... you used the same wording when england lost 1st test match and now yet again. i think best job for you is to guide english players that how to play spin on indian/srilankan pitches, and remember one thing, UAE pitches are not ranked as spinning track, so if you cant perform on those pitches, then honestly speaking, england will lose every test match in just 3-4 days in sirlanka/indian track. please note that somewhere in your are wasting your time by praising your team, infact you should tell them how to play spin in match

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

Most over-rated bowler in the cricket history 'Graeme Swann'

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

" - but they were beaten by the better side in Abu Dhabi", so that clearly implies that Pakistan should be ranked above England for playing such incredible cricket.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

In the last 19 Test England only won 1 test match in the subcontinent. Says alot about england.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

i think we are heading backwards now like in 1999 where Pakistan, Australia and South Africa were ruling world cricket, i can assure you guys, that time is not very far and one more thing, with this victory, i can proudly call my Pakistani Cricket team once again after 4 to 5 years 'ASIAN GIANTS' are back and this time they mean business....Indian team can not compete with Pakistan in any condition's except for Asia and i said COMPETE!! in Australia, England, Newzeland or south Africa they will get thrashed with ease....Pakistan Zindabad

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

hello all

how about pak/ind in {ind,pak or uae} bcz i want to see battle b/w great spin bowling side (Gul,ajmal,rahman and hafeez) against great batsman avarage more then 50 in test(Gambhir,Sehwag,Dravid,Tendulkar,Laxman,Kohli and dhoni)

Posted by BlueyCollar on (January 28, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

I think the only similarity between Ali and the current English cricket side is their arrogance. At least Ali could back it up.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

This victory hurts me as an English cricket fan. England we're found seriously wanting, they had now answers to the spin attack. However, Pakistan played superbly, the spin attack was phenomenal, I don't say that because they blew England away, but because for those who have watched cricket for so long, the spin attack was relentless, most teams may have been spun into a quandary.

Well done Pakistan who have to be admired for the way they have pulled themselves out of the quagmire from the desperate depths a year ago.

Posted by KashifMuneer on (January 28, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

Fair assessment George - praise Pakistan for their belief and perseverance. England are a good team, Pakistan are just better. England should not panic and you will see that their performances with the same team in Sri Lanka and India will be much better and they might even draw or win both series.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

@Sir_Freddie_Flintoff, I have to say I'm pleased to read that England fans are deluding themselves to the point of saying Australia is currently the world's worst test side. It is true that the one you faced last Summer would probably have been a no 7 side at best due to ridiculous selections, but the current outfit just been your 'no 4' side 4-0, with two innings victories in the series. In fact, your list just seems to be ordered by how difficult the countries are for England to beat. Keep the number one spot warm for Australia next Ashes. Every English fan is determined to underrate EVERY Australian player and it will blow up in your faces..

Posted by remnant on (January 28, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

I feel that Pakistan's domestic turmoil has had an unintended positive benefit to its cricket.

While all teams play and blood youngsters on domestic wickets, it has been rebuilding its team on foreign soils due to issues back home. So I think that gives it an edge in toughening up its cricketers and making them more adaptable to foreign conditions. This could even make Pakistan the team to beat in years.

Perhaps India and England too should start playing their home matches in alien and non familair conditions, more often so that it will develop more versatile cricketers.

Posted by r1m2 on (January 28, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

Will you say England is in ruins if they lose the series 3-0? If not then what if they go on to lose every coming tests in India and Sri Lanka? What then? Probably somewhat in ruins, but they look like they are still quite capable of being world beaters at home...

I think no amount of losses is going to wipe out the fact that England is a capable team who can beat the best when they are in comfortable condition. I think there's only one team in this world that consistently challenges everyone regardless of their might and the environment they play in and that is Australia. India was doing that for a little while until their ageing stars got aged too much. Pakistan can do it too but no one's quite sure if it's fluke or real talent (they do it when no one expects, they fail when everyone accepts).

England on the other hand, has never done it. You can tell by the high number of English cricketers suffering from depression. They like, heck crave and require their home comfort to rise up.

Posted by oze13 on (January 28, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

Not in ruins? That was one of the most shambolic batting performances you'd see anywhere. Strauss and Cook looked like they were batting with sticks of rhubarb. Pietersen and Bell were awful. The first four took over 120 balls. Morgan's technique is in tatters. Bobbing head and gap between bat and pad that you could bowl a basketball through. It really was amateur hour and that's about how long it took to bowl England out. Simply shocking!

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

it was gr8 bowling frm pak even if pak wud hve batted in fourth innings dey wud hve found it difficult to bat

Posted by anuradha_d on (January 28, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

contrary to this writer's excuses Boycott believes English batsmen were just incomptent against bowling that was neitehr earth shattering on a pitch that was not spitting cobras either.

Jonathan Agnew, Vaughan and many others have echoed the same......fundamental problem with Eng batters playing spin

Posted by Divinetouch on (January 28, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

Why all the had they and if they had done this or that. What about if Pakistan had not done this or that as well.

The fact is the #1 team in test was humiliated and no amount of denial especially by 5Wombats will change the result.

Never again.I do not expect ever an english supporter to gloat or crow how good is their team. Take note 5wombats, Yorkshire lad JG2074 and Sir_Freddie_Flintoff .

Posted by harishk19812007 on (January 28, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

how can england be world beaters if they cannot even manage 100 runs in one innings of a test match??? for goodness sake dont compare this hapless team to a legend like mohammed ali, its will be an insult to a legend like him

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

"England were beaten. But so was Muhammad Ali." What an outrageous comment!. Mohammad Ali was the greatest boxer, with the bravest heart and he has been justifiably recognised as the GREATEST ATHLETE of the Century! Let there be no disillusion regarding this English team - no sane person could possibly claim that it is "The Greatest" Test time ever or even close to being the greatest! Remember the Windies of old and the Aussies of just a few years ago? Ali was indeed the Greatest of Champions ever - this English team is not!

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

Dear Dobell, inspite of all these apologetics, please be honest and tell me, weren't England lucky with some of the umpiring decisions in their first innings ? Especially Trott when he was caught on the back foot and Pak did not revive it. If Trott would have been rightly given out he was around 25 then. Eng would not have got the 1st innings lead. And also in the second innings when Billy Bowden (3rd umpire) messed up with one umpires refferal regarding Strauss. If he would have been (rightly) given out then (at 15), then Eng would not have even reached 72. After all Strauss was the highes scorer with 31.

Posted by dmqi on (January 28, 2012, 20:17 GMT)


Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

Wonderfully written & I agree. England did not lose, but were beaten. There IS a difference, and they can certainly get back up & be ready for the future games. If anything, Strauss & Andy (Flower) should be able to sit down & come up with a thoughtful response to Sri Lanka & India.

Posted by drsankalp on (January 28, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

As I said before England is third rate team and become number one in test just by plain luck is proven beyond doubt. Even club team can bat batter than these English batsman against spinners. Most of English cricket expert like their cricketer are overrated .

Posted by MAC786 on (January 28, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

M-S-R, come out of your dreamland, please. By being thrashed by Pakistan who incidentally also play away, which nobody has mentioned, they earned their OWN respect.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

@ Tracks_Green_Flat_Blue : ... Sir, i perfectly agree with you on the point of foregn conditions and pitch. We share the same thoughts there. But that leaves us with one question. IS THERE REALLY A NO.1 TEAM IN THE WORLD TODAY. Or is it just going to be a game of musical chairs. All teams spend their entiire home series's to reach the top and when the travel abroad they just loose it. Perhaps we may not see the likes of WI domination during 70's and 80's and Aussie domination of the last decade. Perhaps it will take some time before a new No.1 Team really establishes itself. Till then we will witness a game of musical chairs.

Posted by PACERONE on (January 28, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

England might of obtained number one status legitimately but only because of the stupidity of WICB in having their players play in terrible conditions just after they had beaten England.England should of lost the one day series..only miscalculations by the WI coach of D/L gave them the win.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

@ Haxin : .. Sir, you are absolutely right about putting the 4-0 white wash to India by England into perspective by Australia. At the same time your pointing out of 51 in SA and lose to NZ (one test) was perfectly placed. I think we share the same thought that presently many teams are Tigers at home pussy cats abroad. The same hold good for India, SL, Australia, England. I have conciesly left out SA and Pak (for the time being). But when they get tested in foreign conditions i don't expect the results to be different. Anderson according to me is a very one dimensional bowler, when he does not gets swing, (as is available in Eng) he looses his strength. But i like Broad (though he needs to control his temper & behavior). Bresnan is another fine All-Rounder. So is Swann. But this batting may be serously tested in the Asian conditions, though SL and India may not have spinners as good as Pak.

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (January 28, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

Can anyone say its the same team whose two premium strike bowlers and their captain/opening batsman is banned.Only Pakistan can do that.Keep pushing them towards the wall and they will keep coming back...Thats why I think its cricket that needs Pakistan and not the other way round.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

England are not good enough simple as that. They gained number 1 status by being unbeatable at home. Bowlers like James Anderson are unplayable when the ball swings and seams. They got lucky with bowling first on tracks that did a bit then completely flattened out in Australia in the mcg and scg tests. Thats their only away win to speak of. It was only 3 years ago they lost in the West Indies (no team does that these days). The great Australian side were successful home and away. They beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in Sri Lanka, they challenged India in 2001 (should have really won the series barring poor captaincy from Steve Waugh), finally won in India in 2004. They also beat Pakistan in Colombo and Sharjah 3-0 in 2002. They have also won in Pakistan in 1998. England are no way near as good as any of those teams especially their batting. You cant compare Cook Trott Ian Bell pietersen to Hayden Slater Langer Martyn Ponting and the Waugh twins....

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

Dear Dobell . You are right that his Pak team has very spinners. Yet not two spinners but THREE Spiners. Hafeez is bein underutilized becouse the matches are getting over very fast. Secondly Pak are not playing exactly in home conditions. Misbah is right. They miss the crowd support. And these pitches are not the ones on which they have been brough up. So they don't fully know these conditions. For instance this particular pitch was radically different from the ones on which they played the earlier games and they were big draws. So playing on neutral venues brings its challenges to both teams. Had Misbah known this pitch properly he would not have batted on this pitch.

Posted by USA_XI on (January 28, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

So when India loses on a greentop against quality pace, They have surrendered abjectly. Yet, When Sublime spinners from Pakistan spin a web around England in favorable conditions, England are merely beaten??? Wow. talk about double standards. Pak is an amazing side right now. They would give this England side a run for their money in England. No doubt whatsoever.

Posted by Spelele on (January 28, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

Continued from my last comment.....In 2009, SA slipped up and lost at home to AUS 2-1 (their only series loss in the last five years), but drew 1-1 to India AWAY and ENG at home. In 2010, SA beat the West Indies 2-0 AWAY, and drew in the SUBCONTINENT against PAK in the UAE. They also drew 1-1 with India at home. In 2011, they drew 1-1 with AUS and won 2-1 against SRILANKA at home. They are the only team not to have lost away from home in the last 5 years. They have played 21 matches away from home in the last 5 years; winning 11, drawing 6 and losing only 4! In 8 away series, they have won 5 and drawn the other 3, losing a magnificent ZERO! Who has managed that away from home?? Their home record has also been good over the same period. They have played 10 series; winning 6, drawing 3 and only losing one to Australia! Surely their consistency home and away puts them ahead of the rest? If what they've done is not enough to be No.1, then what is? and who has done it?

Posted by Spelele on (January 28, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

Lol! England have been in ruins for some time, just that they've hidden it well playing in home conditions. This win proves that they are not the true number one! In the last five years (from 2007), SA are the only team to continuously pummel teams home and away. A glance at their track record reveals this. In 2007, they beat both India and Pakistan 2-1 in SA. They also beat New Zealand and the West Indies 2-0 and 2-1 respectively in SA. Amazingly, they also travelled to Pakistan and recorded an AWAY series win in the SUBCONTINENT, beating them 1-0. In 2008, they played 4 matches in the SUBCONTINENT and won 3 of them. They drew with India 1-1 AWAY from home, and then beat Bangladesh 2-0 AWAY. They then proceeded to England and beat them 2-1 AWAY from home. They then pummelled AUS AWAY 2-1 and Bangladesh at home 2-0. In my next post, I will continue from their 2009 record.....

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

looks like George Dobell had a recent chat with Vireder Sehwag!!!

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

Dear Dobell, if's and but's and hindsight are wonderful things but they dont work. Just think if Broad was not successful in his pinch hitting in the first innings, then the Target would have been about 215. If Trott would have been righfully given out in the first innngs while he was around 25, England's first innings score would have been less than 250. If the Pak fielders would have been as sharp in the first innnigs things would have been different. So you see these if's and but's don't work or they can work both ways, but they dont work oneway as you sujjest. Regarding Sweeeping changes i agree that is not the way for any team. you are also right about Morgan, he seems to be completely lost. Maybe we will see Ravi Bopara replacing Morgan in the 3rd Test. After all bringing Monty did help. Also in my opinion Anderson is never effective in Sub-continent conditions. You saw the world cup. Also Eng were wise not to play him in the ODI series in India.

Posted by BowledYa on (January 28, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Although I am delighted to see Pak win, I must admit England won all four days except the last session. I live in the US and went to sleep at lunch time thinking Pak had surely lost the match as England had control of this match each day. What a surprise to see the news this morning! A lot of credit goes to Misbah. His decision to bat first turned out to be pivotal even though he mostly prefers to bowl first, and I always thought England would have a lot of trouble batting last. 72 all out was not what I could have imaged! Well done Misbah and team.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Its a joke of an article . Articles don't come any more biased than these. Reaching the number 1 status was deserved but in the summer claiming India reached there playing in dustbowls at home, where as England themselves never played an won any major series in the subcontinent and now they get steamrolled over by a rebuilding pakistan side and still talk as if it was just a slip up. Its annihilation and your not fit to be number one. Even the presentation ceremony host Atherton had the cheek to say pakistan lead england when pakistan have won the series and no one mentioned that. HYPOCRITES = ENGLISH MEDIA and THE BIASED COMMENTATORS (Nasser hussain and David lloyd excluded. Hope pakistan beat them 3-0 for the good of the Test cricket fans worldwide. This coming from an Indian. Way to go boys, well played

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

England did not surrender. They were beaten

Don't just write off England; praise Pakistan

Excellent article. Love some of your phrases '' Don't just write off England; praise Pakistan'' and '' England did not surrender. They were beaten''. Also Pakistan should not carried away by this win. However they have proved the point. It was their test. They were unbeaten last year but no one took those wins in to context because apparently they won against weak sides. But England is an ultimate test. Beating no 1 team and without doubt one of the most physically fit and best players 11 England can have ever, Pakistan has every right to celebrate this win. Geoff Boycott is still reluctant to accept the taste defeat saying Pakistan's bowlers are not good enough, its English batting need to be sorted. I hope England will not listen to him. You have to pay respect to Pakistan for fighting back and snatching match from England jaws.

At the end, this series is best advert for test cricket.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

Too easy - England were always overrated and that it is all downhill for them now.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

I have an advice for English team. English team should still consider themselves lucky. Had Mohd. Aamir and Mohd. Asif were part of this Pakistan team (courtesy English based NOTW and The Sun), this second test would have produced results in the third day as well. Accept the truth/fact that "English team fails horribly in Asia" against Asian giants (Pakistan, Srilanka, India) Full stop

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 28, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

I dont think that some one should question Englands aproach of playing it slow. It was said time and again that once a player settles in then it becomes easy. That's what Cook and Strauss were trying to do. Funniest of it all is that 5 wickets fell in the last 11 balls of the match. That makes it 2,2 balls per wicket.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

congrats PAK... simply brilliant....from an indian fan

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

It was fabulous cricket. From both sides. And Even England could have pulled of this game easily, but was fallen right into the trap of Misbah's craftsmen. It was really a poor batting display once again despite the efforts of energetic Monty and Broad. But in the end i would say that it was the "Test Cricket" at its best. Not likely the one sided series. I think the curators have played a major role for producing outstanding pitches here in the UAE. Well, Done Pakistan! It was good cricket all around.

Posted by anuradha_d on (January 28, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Hmm...they rested their players. They saved them from Masala over exposure. They had 4 proper competitive innings for acclimitization. They had performance enhancement, and motivational training....and yet they collapsed for 72...against world's No. 7 ranked team.

and the writer of this article......looks like is inspired by BCCI's srinivasan in making excuses " My team is good regardless of the debacles"

Posted by soumik on (January 28, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

It's pretty bad to see that everybody is lion at their own den.There is no world beaters now so there should not be any team-bashing by supporters.As supporters and followers of the game we should accept this fact and put our expectations in line accordingly.As always,a strong Pakistan is always good for world cricket.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

That's a fine analysis, Dobell. I'm sad to see my fellow Indian fans taking out their irrational bitterness on a good England team. England gave themselves a good shot of winning the match and were beaten only by an exceptional performance by the Pakistan team while India never competed in any of the matches they lost overseas.

I guess we'll know by the end of the year how good the England team really is. For the sake of cricket, I do hope they improve and give us a few nail biters when they come to India at the end of the year.

Posted by Dhumper on (January 28, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

@Ajay Raghwa - my dear Indian friend, England has lost to a better team, period. Don't know wha made you think Pakistan as bottom ranked? They have proved to be one of the best in the last 18 months winning 4 series away and away (counting Dubai as away or home whatever). Draw against SA then New Zealand, SL, Bangla and now England down..the list keeps growing..impressive!

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 28, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

I feel Dobell is being unreasonably criticized and this series is being used by my Indian friends and few of my fellow Pakistanis to bash English team. They are still number 1 team - and I am sure they will improve...

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

very good article by an English supporter :)

Posted by JG2704 on (January 28, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

George D - I hear where you're coming from but to me this - albeit a closer game - was a game we should have one. I give credit to the Pak spin bowlers but the majority of our batsmen looked scared.If you have a number of Pak fielders around the bat continuously why keep dabbing? You're asking for trouble. If they played with a bit of aggressive intent then sure we might have lost wickets but at least we're scoring runs and giving Misbah a little more to think about.If we had got close in a game where Pak were slightly ahead then I'd take more from this , but right now my feelings are that if our batsmen can't get home from the position our bowlers put the team in when are they going to win.I hope I'm wrong but I'm starting to see a downward spiral appearing. Finn must come in for Morgan. I'm not necessarily saying it would change things but as I see it at least you have a player who is doing his job properly

Posted by criclover112 on (January 28, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

I see a lot of Indians here mocking the english team and telling them that they do not deserve the number one spot. I have a humble request for you, please go look at your own team before chiding others. Pakistan beat the world number one ranked team and came back from the jaws of defeat and they deserve credit for that. pakistan didnt just win because of conditions , they won beacuse they believed in themselves, they believed they could beat the number one team and they did. England played well as well and it was good cricket all round.

Posted by ahq2 on (January 28, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

Forget asia. The 'Final Frontier'. I believe Asia is just a synonym for 'Spin'. The 2009 test against Windies had Benn all over England. Its not just asia, its the technique against spin thats flawed. This is not the subcontinent, mind you. This is not Pakistan. Its the UAE. we all saw the empty stands, majority of the times. This could just as well be Canada had Pakistan adopted that as its neutral venue. The wicket both here and more so in Dubai was one of the most sporting wickets I have seen for a long time. No, this was not a subcontinent failure. This was a technique failure. Play spin on sporting wickets, and England WILL fall. Not a generalization, just logical deduction.

To be number one, they need to shut the mouths of all doubters. Sure they may be tigers at home, but really, has Anderson been a big performer elsewhere? Broad is an excellent bowler, but who's his strike partner you'll bank on for dead wickets?

I do like the English team. I dont like one-sided articles.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

I don't agree with this line from the author " England did not surrender. They were beaten. There is a difference".England knew very well what was coming there way,still they fell for it.It's like they did not have a single clue what they could do to survive out there.Abdur Rehman bowled the same line and length as Monty did on the 3rd day,he is not a bowler with three different deliveries in his arsenal.He is a conventional off spinner who does not turn the bowl as much as the great Saqlain Mushtaq did or in recent times not even close to Murali.England truly surrendered to Rehman and Ajmal.They have to rethink their future strategies for the sub continent and start practicing more then just finding ways out to justify there defeat. Hats off to Team Pakistan they have come a long way from spot fixing scandal and all other controversies. They truly showed the world how to talk the talk and how to walk the walk.

Posted by SamAsh07 on (January 28, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

What challenge Dobell? England have already lost a Test Series after winning 8 or so back-to-back Test Series, they were considered the BEST TEST team but they were outsmarted by Pakistan. England is beaten AND in ruins, they really need to rethink their batting line-up and especially the slots of Pieterson, Bell, Morgan. How can you expect to win with a middle-order like that?? None of them can play Spin proper!! Then moving on to Pakistan, Younis Khan has been given enough chances yet he fails to score, drop him and get Umar Akmal in for the 3rd Test!! It's just ONE Test, it won't mean the end of the world for YK, just a little break.

Posted by socal on (January 28, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

Congrats Pakistan! Any time,ENG / AUS / SA loose, the spin doctors would come out and try to minimize their lousy performance and undermine other team's success. Don't listen to them. Pakistanis deserve to be proud of their team. Without the advantage of home conditions and one of the great bowlers - Mo. Asif, Pakistan still demolished their opponents.

I am from India - Go for the white wash.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

Deprived of playing at home and a number of controversies off the field has really acted as a catalyst of improvement for Pakistani players. They have somehow learned to translate that humiliation into their strength. This team has played like the cornered tigers of Imran Khan. Dobell is too optimistic here but i'm sure Strauss and Flower will be having sleepless night in the desert. Test cricket at its very best and i wish we have a close contest in the Dubai as well.

Posted by Puffin on (January 28, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

Reminds me of England vs West Indies in Port-of-Spain, March 1994. Caught like rabbits in the headlights. Different continent, different bowling, same situation and same result. Oops.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

@ ajay raghwa, after a white wash by aussies and english team you still have the nerves to call your team, a number one team!!!! kindly assess last 7 months performance of all the teams and you will know where a team stands!!!! people can buy titles and play politics in ICC, but remember one thing my friend, true talent finally stands out. as they say performance is best revenge. so kindly try being realistic and come out of the fantasy world!!!!

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

i expected this even before the series started. England can't do anything in sub-continent. No 1 team HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

oh no! please don't compare Mohammad Ali with the England team. He was a legend

Posted by stark-truth on (January 28, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

Good analysis. Well, was a pleasure to see you in the stands today just beneath the Commentators' area. As I was sitting right next to the two British blokes you were chatting with for a while during your break, I could not help overhear your incisive take on the situation as it was developing in the morning with Pak lower middle order showing a bit of resistance. What a match it was! for me, Pietersen was the key as had he stayed even 40-odd minutes, runs would have flow aplenty to give England momentum. anyhow, marvelous rampage by the Paksters.

Posted by priceless1 on (January 28, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

agreed, this is a respectable defeat , england were in well contrall of the game untill the final day. not like the defeats that the indians suffer there days ...

Posted by BestTeaminWold_India on (January 28, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Lets get this straight "England is not world beater & they are poor traveller as India, Aus, Pak, in fact all teams at the moment. Just few months ago, they lost 5-0 to India in One dayers, and that was sign of things to come for England in the future. I think, Vaughn and Nasser Hussain should eat their words now, they got carried away last summer and declared that England will dominate all teams in coming years. To be honest, I can envisage all batters but Cook will get replaced by the end of their series against India in the coming winter. Food for thought, Sachin, Dravid & Laxman did brilliant for 2o years in all conditions (sub continent, SA, AUS, NZ, Eng), they only performed below par in the last year. And look at this England team, so called great batters (trotty, kevin, Belly) cant keep the momentum going for more than 12 months, forget about 20 years and that too outside England.

England, self claimed lions at their home (although they lost to India in 2007) & LAMBS away.

Posted by DreamMerchant2 on (January 28, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

What,,, "Challenge starts now...", I think Dobell consider the matches against Pakistan as match practice for the matches against India and Sri Lanka... Well another test in Dubai will provide more match practice against spin and please remember, DRS will not be available against India.....

Posted by Cric-enthusiast on (January 28, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

It's high time the English media (Nasser, Atherton & Co.) realize that England has rarely been a competitive side on Asian pitches, when confronted with decent spin attack. They have won just 1 match out of their last 20 tests in Asia!Here they were up against a quality spin, and their inadequate techniques were exposed. As simple as that. One of the best players of spin, Andy Flower is their coach, but it's not possible to correct the faulty techniques of many of these players who have played mediocre spinners mostly in the county circuit, the kind found aplenty in nooks and corners in the subcontinent. England is a mediocre side against any team that has quality spinners...look at what Murali and Warne did to them in their own background!

Posted by SmellyCat on (January 28, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

If subcontinental teams struggle with seam and swing - they're touted as Flat Track Bullies who cant play on sporting pitches.. when England loses.. there are always some excuses.. especially the turning tracks, and the heat, and the food.. They dint show stomach for fight.. as simple as that.. and I don't see them winning anything remarkable this year in Asia... they'll be dusted.

Posted by cricpolitics on (January 28, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

I'm not sure what else could be a ruin. England have been completely destroyed and with their up coming series in Sri Lanka and India they will certainly be in ruins.

Posted by iBilal on (January 28, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

It has been a wonderful test match. To quote your last article, it is indeed shame that great performances or potential weaknesses are forgotten in the face of defeat/victory. The way England fought back after loss in 1st test and dominated three and a half days of the match, i still reckon Eng as number 1 team. They came against some prodigious spin in the last 2 sessions. Even Bob Willis acknowledged that as unplayable for any batsmen except indian. For all the friendly English commenters, i would say, there were no losses in this game... the only victor was test match... Pakistan Zindabad btw

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

One of the best assessments..very approach..covering every aspect..not like typical emotional critics who shift the tides either ways upon winning or losing a series..goodluck England..good one George Dobell..

Posted by harishk19812007 on (January 28, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

this is one of the most inspiring article any one can ever write( only for the so comprehensively beaten england side).... for goodness sake don't ever compare this hapless england side who boost themselves as the world beaters after winning a couple of series against teams which is not even in full strength with a legend like mohammed ali, england have never played well against spin & they will never be able to play well against spin, its only a matter of time for them to loose the no.1 position unless they keep playing at home against teams with half strength

Posted by srivatsan on (January 28, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Wow, i'm really happy for England's loss today... Hopefully they lose 3-0 and are bought down to earth. Writers like Miller and Dobell will probably have nothing to write in the near term.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

ICC rankings have become a joke. England & India are at the receiving end. they being Green & Flat track bullies!

Posted by Peterincanada on (January 28, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

For a number of years England have been hopeless against good spin bowling. Their rise to the top coincided with the retirements of Warne, Murali and Kumble. Harbajhan lost form and Swann became the top spinner in the world almost by default. Now they have had to face a quality attack, the overhyped batting has come unglued. The only way to play quality spin, as Dobell says, is by using the feet. English batsmen are and always have been, reluctant to come down the pitch. Most of them were out playing back to well up deliveries or not moving the feet at all. They played right into the bowlers hands. Good spin bowlers defeated poor players of spin, period end of story.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Although there are so many people who differ with George, I tend to agree with him. England fought hard for3 days but Pakistan came back strongly on the evening of 3rd day and fourth day was totally theirs. You can lose a Test match if you have one bad session. You can not write off England - they are still a very strong side. I am pretty sure the 3rd test would still be a well fought out match. My request to Pakistani supporters is not to criticise English team but we can surely bask in the glory and savor the win as the team truly deserve it. Well said - England didn't lose this match, Pakistan won it.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

England don't deserve to be called No.1 side . They are just tigers at home. During their rise to No.1 ranking, out of the 20 tests they won, 12 were at home, 2 against Bangladesh and remaining 4 abroad. They just cannot play good spin bowling at all especially on Asian pitches. This was a well known fact and it has been proved yet again. No.1 ranked team in the world do not have any right to get out for 72!

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 28, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

Again an impressive article from George Dobell. Like I said yesterday commenting on his piece, he always impresses me with his analysis. Yes today's match was won by a better team. It was so disappointing to see Jonathan Agnew and to lesser extent Boycott (one of my favourite expert) bash English batting display today. Both of these gentlemen had predicted easy win for England and Boycott went on saying he will bet his house on the outcome wihch he thought was clearly England. Having taken such strong position, its little wonder, both of them too such a critical stance in their todays comments. But George Dobell is bang on target. I feel English team will be perform far better against Sri Lanka and India having gotten exposed to spinners' magic in this series. With the kind of professional attitude of players and quality set up around team, they will quickly recover from ashes. All the best.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

Misbah is the best skipper Pak had since the incomparable King of Khans Imran..

Posted by rahulkmc on (January 28, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

continued.. And India was always said to be the most undeserving no 1 team. I think England is even more hyped than India, atleast India never considered them to be truly no1, unlike English who think they are really great. Should have seen them play today, even 4-5 year olds play better than their batsmen. If a series loss to a relatively inexperienced side who has been denied international exposure for quite a while now isnt a wake up call, then its clear they already know they are on Titanic and just dont want to admit it. Great performance btw Pakistan, you made us proud and sent a strong message to the rest of the world today. Indian btw.

Posted by jinnx on (January 28, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

England are putting up a fight they didn't lose by 200 or 300 runs. remember sirlanka and India don't have Saeed ajmal who would trouble them this much. well done Pakistan. ENGLAND good luck

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

The challenge is over before england has even realised... dont blame the batsman coz these were the same players that murdered india last year and pakistan in 2010. Now pakistan has thrown it back on their face without any inteference from outside.... Pakistan is the greatest cricket nations which has improved over the last year. now all we are waiting for is the indian cricket team to play us

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

Truly great. All the ex-players and commentators were so pumped up and buoyant as long as they were playing a depleted India and handing out losses after losses. India is quite good at this, has always been - reviving careers, boosting confidence and most importantly because of the primary hype, making them feel really good. They thought and infact firmly believed England is out there to stay on top for a long time. They even went as far as comparing themselves to WI of the yesteryears and Australia. One match/series outside their home and poof, reality hits them hard but they want to live in denial...continued

Posted by aalkool on (January 28, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

" Had Shafiq and Azhar Ali not led a Pakistan fightback, England might well have won." Seriously! If Misbah had not scored 84, England would have won. If Ajmal and Rehman had bowled badly, England would have won. What is the opposition meant to do, not put up a fight! Can we please have a better writer covering this series?

Posted by Mohson on (January 28, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Mashallah, what a victory by Pakistan. After comprehensively beating England in the first test, I did not imagine for one minute any other victory would taste sweeter. Whilst England played extremely well in three out of the four innings, it's surely the last one that counts. The pitch has aided Pakistans superior spin attack and credit must rightly go to the bowlers for putting the ball in the right places. For once, they gave nothing away. Being a true cricket fan, we must recognise that England are No. 1 for a reason. England do not need to answer why they are the No. 1 Test Team - rather it must be the ICC to explain the flaws in the ranking system. India did magnificently well to get to the same position, and no doubt other teams will get to No.1 ranking on merit. We wont have any real dominance from any particular teams any more, as there is now healthy competition between majority of the nations. Rather than say England were rubbish, we must appreciate Pakistan's bowling skills

Posted by Rezaul on (January 28, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

I disagree with the author in most of his views. England never was a good side in sub continent. I agree with legend Miandad that Englandś #1 ranking came with a series of helping and favourable conditions playing. This was their time to prove their true credentials for #1 ranking and they failed. 1st Test they were playing a B category cricket against a depleted side who is still fighting for their stability, fighting against their own problems, still carrying their chaotic scandal, unable to play at their own yard for a while. In second Test England got the best chance to prove everybody wrong but they just helped to enhanced the whisper into a laughter. Feel sorry for Strauss and England. Looking forward what their famous outspoken columnist, experts come up with.

Posted by doctornikki on (January 28, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

dear Dobell...when will they be in ruins?? if they get out for 11??...your frustration and fantasies are least write a line to praise pakistani bowlers and azhar ali rather than making lame excuses..england batsmen should learn from Azhar ali and asad shafique..Muhammad Ali is a true champion and proven winner while comparing these pampered bunch of southafrican englsih cricketers which make england xi is to him is ridiculous..kindly be a bit more fair in your writings..and i hope bob willis doesnt have any issues now with rehman wearing sleeveless shirts and azhar wearing a thigh pad? cheers :-)

Posted by Tracks_Green_Flat_Blue on (January 28, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

Strong win by Pakistan. England have work to do. The question is can they? The results of the England-Pakistan Series and the Australia-India Series set me thinking about the difficulties associated with adjusting to different pitch conditions. There are, of course, a host of different variables but, I wonder at the difficulty in cooling your instincts against good bowling on a pitch type you have not spent your formative years playing on. Then having established that your natural batting technique is not successful, the scrambled confusion trying to make adjustments. The bowlers in both of these test series have not helped the "visiting" test team adjust to conditions. England improved in this test, but I think Pakistan did too. England may not be in ruins, but they are under siege. Well played Pakistan.

Posted by Built_4_the_Kill on (January 28, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

George, You are not right by saying that England did not surrender, they were beaten. In reality they surrendered. Best way to negate the spin threat is either by getting out of the crease and/or by deploying sweep shots.. England did neither. Pakistan had no option but to attack which gave England an opportunity to counter attack. Attacking from the crease gave an impression to Ajmal and Abdul Rehman that English players are SCARED of them and that was more than enough for these world class bowlers. Eight out of 10 wickets were due to their over-defensive approach. I am sure English fans would have accepted the defeat if players lost their wickets by trying. English batsman were so scared of Ajmal they decided to play even Hafeez and Abdul Rehman from the crease. Dubai and Abu Dhabi pitches are not spinning wickets. Guess what! England has already sent messages to Sri Lanka and India to prepare pitches where even oranges can get a big spin. Well Done Pakistan!

Posted by Shan_Karthic on (January 28, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

England attained No.1 ranking by avoiding playing in Asia for almost 2 years. Even though India is performing very poorly over last two away series, they at least performed competitively away from home for 3 - 4 years. England, on the other hand, hid from difficult situations and played in conditions suited to them to inflate their ranking.

Also, I don't see any reason why Asian teams should not prepare spin friendly tracks from day 1. If the pace/swing friendly pitches away from home are supposed to be the true test of Asian batsmen, then the spin friendly pitches away from home should be the equivalent for non-Asian batsmen and pace bowlers. They can't have it both ways: saying that they will have home advantage, prepare pace friendly pitches and test visitors but cry foul when the pitches are not to their liking when they visit Asia.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (January 28, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Great article from Dobell. England are still by far the best team in the world. Just two test defeat does not mean they have become a bad team at all. In fact, England dominated all four days of this test match until the final session today. So, basically they had just one bad session. Otherwise they were incredible in the field and batted well in the first innings. England will come back strong. Plus you should give credit to Pakistan spinners. Every team would've struggled against them. England will destroy the Indian team in India later this year just like we did last summer. And don't even get me started on Australia. Who's their no. 1 spinner? Nathan Lyon! Lol! You can't expect to win test matches with a groundsman as your no 1 spinner. That's why Australia will never ever win back the Ashes ever again. Curent test rankings should be: 1. England 2. Pakistan 3.South Africa 4. Sri Lanka 5.India 6.New Zealand 7. West Indies 8.Bangladesh 9.Zimbabwe 10.Australia

Posted by M-S-R on (January 28, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Agree, England is still a high-rated team, and the respect that Pakistan cricket started to earn is because of England!

Posted by jackiethepen on (January 28, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

Dear me, is it appropriate for Cricinfo's senior writer to say Ian Bell is fighting for his Test career? After two years of consistently great batting for England against good sides home and away, Bell is in danger of losing his place after two Tests? All batsmen have periods out of form and it has to be managed. What you don't do - unless you want to consign England to the kind of nightmare doldrums of the 1990s - is to start putting pressure of this kind on established players. KP has had a more checkered experience over the last two years but he came back strongly last summer. Morgan is in a different position - he's still an apprentice. I'm afraid your reputation will be in shreds if you go on like this. Bell played a useful 29 in the first innings and he was unlucky to be out to a freak occurrence of the ball spinning back once he had hit it to roll between his legs. Did you watch the dismissal?

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (January 28, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Heights of hypocrisy! Plenty of praises for england even after getting out for 72 and widespread criticism of india. Agreed we lost 8-0, but if england plays 10 matches in subcontinent, they will be thrashed 10-0! A hugely overrated and mediocre team.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Indian writers should learn from George. England are fighter but beaten by better team. They are still worthy of no.1 status?? when they beat India (injured indian team) in their backyard they were portrayed as real worthy of the crown. now they are being beaten by Pakistan at neutral venue, what would happen when they go to Srilanka or India?? Mr. George is reluctant to admit that England are not good enough to win everywhere in the world. They have just won one odd ashes in Australia when Australia were really playing bad cricket. I don't understand how Sambit bal can allow such biased articles on this website??

Posted by Dipin.k.k on (January 28, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

England was comprehensively outplayed. They do not deserve to be the no.1 side. Any one can produce heroics on home turfs. Defeating India few months back reflects this fact. Remember England were white washed when they came to India later. Much hype was given to England victory over India. They believed Indians didn't have the substance. Now we know who all don't have it. Before pointing fingers at others, it would be better if England realise their own mistakes. At least for their own good

Posted by PAK-92 on (January 28, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

I think England knew it would be tough against Pakistan because we have the best spin bowlers in the world. However I don't think this series defeat is the beginning of the end of England. They can only get better after this series display. I expect them to atleast draw against Sri Lanka who have decent spinners in Herath and Mendis. But I think they will beat India because Ashwin or Harbajhan are not world class. Anyway, Pakistan are on the up but our batting and fielding needs to improve if we are to compete with South Africa or Australia.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

very good analysis....test match cricket at its best ...england were just beaten by a better side and for 3days they had their noses in front i expected them play a bit more courageously but .....what a game as a pakistani fan there can be no greatness they showed the world how good a side they can be!!!!!kudos bring more tests like this who wants t20s

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (January 28, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

I wonder what Mr Dobell's expectations are for him to utter such apologist nonsense. An 80's Windies, 90's/00's Aust comparable era of England dominance? Eng are a damn fine side, but for WG's sake be realistic. How many of the current England quicks would have made the Windies 80's side? Swann is an excellent bowler but he is no Warne. Cook vs Hayden? KP vs Viv?

A great team is a product of the happy coincidence of great players blooming at the right time. Eng aren't a great team yet & may not get there. So what? I like watching England play. They are efficient and stylish. Whether you support them or not enjoy with an objective eye the contests they are involved in. Repeat for all other teams & wonder whether the world really is a better place for the ranking system.

Posted by longlivewoodoo on (January 28, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Hahahaha..... It's an article like the advocate of eng team or may be he had written it , sitting along with michael vaugan n boycott. What's could have been the surrendering performance in the match ? It shud hav been ended in single digit overs with single digit runs then it would hav been surrendering. Right? Getting 72 in approx 36 overs , chasing 145 is competitive?

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

Once again very good article. Margin at this level are very narrow. I have to agree England might have won if Shafiq was run out by Peterson. England still a top side but they came against a Pakistani team if united can win anywhere in any condition... Cricket was the winner in this series and It was a treat to watch both matches.. looking forward for another classic in Dubai..

Posted by tinkertinker on (January 28, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Problem is people see number 1 and they think it means a great team but there hasn't been a great team since warne and mcgrath called it a day.

India were not a great team and neither are england and if aus or SA get the top spot in a year or two they won't be great just the best of an ordinary bunch.

That is what england currently are the best out of very ordinary bunch of test teams.

Still so many even teams makes great watching.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Delay the challenge for 3 more test. Mid of may, when the skies are cloudy, perfect time to start that challenge.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Really?? I mean c'mon. Mr Dobell is living in his own world I guess

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Never seen such biased reporting. The truth prevails that england in their home conditions tailor made for their seamers may be great but the flaws against quality spin have been ruthlessly exposed by pakistan. Not good enough to make even 145, the no 1 test team...well not quite there. Kudos to pakistan for their efforts.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

It was a terrific test match. Right till the lunch, you couldnt figure out the winner. This is test cricket at its best.

Posted by Haxin on (January 28, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Agreed but England really were getting ahead of themselves. They have a long way to go. Not only do they have to prove themselves in Asia -- which on the evidence of this series -- is going to be a tall order but they also have to improve in ODIs (remember both Australia and Windies were dominant in all formats during their heydays). The 4-0 blanking of India has been put into perspective by Australia's drubbing of India. This was an Australian team that only recently got bowled out for 50-odd by SA and lost their first test to NZ at home in ages. The English clearly read too much into their "Indian summer". It's also funny how casually commentators like the person doing commentary for the test today claim Eng has the "best bowling attack in the world". I wonder what Pak and SA -- not to mention a resurgent Australia -- have to make of that claim. For English fans, suffer no illusions, England will lose in India. Maybe it wouldn't be a whitewash but lose they will.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

Absolutely, I agree 100% George... No need to panic but to reflect. I am a Pakistani supporter but like England team because of their recent professionlis and success as a result. They haven`t performed badly at all especially in this test but pressure got to them. They went into shell early on and couldn`t cope with the pressure. They should take a lot positives especially their fast bowling which I think was much better than Pakistan. The only major difference was of spin.. England`s spinner were good but Pakistan`s even better. Excellent test match cricket.. I don`t think future of test cricket is at risk if we manage to have matches like this. Hope to have similar contest in Dubai.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

Amazing... this guy is talking like PA of Stauss. none of eng player know how to play spin and thats fact. eng never did well in asia. they became no. 1 by fluke , advantage of playing too many test at home continuously. its an overrated team for sure. they are going to loose 3-0 and well done pak.

Posted by adnan_rifat84 on (January 28, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

i don't know what will be the situation when English writers will say that YES PAKISTAN DID WELL PAKISTAN BOWLED No.1 TEAM OUT CLASS. when you guys will accept your mistakes your bad cricket against us? Enough is enough try to praise other teams as well because other teams are also doing n performing there best to perform. Pakistan team is winning by there efforts and team spirit. Try to praise Pakistan also we are not here to loose. We are also playing. Show some big heart and praise Pakistani players. Also try to write about English batting failures, try to mention the major mistakes what happen to English players, try to check your mistakes n over come them also.

Posted by PakiLuv on (January 28, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

Excellent Article, agree with the writer 100%. England did better and fought harder on the 2nd test vs the first. Pakistan had 2 outstanding spin bowlers and 1 miracle bowler vs England's 2 outstanding but I would say one and a half as Swan wasnt having a good day. People have to give more credit to Pak than just criticize England as Pak was playing an A game overall... Lets go for 3-0 whitewash.. PAK IS BACK!!!

Posted by donda on (January 28, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

I think england cannot bat spin well. It was umpiring decisions in the first innings which allowed them to score more than 300 in first innings and then broad some excellent hitting gave them good lead.

England is not a good spin playing team at all and it showed today that this year is going to put them back to #4 or #3 in the world because they are going to play a lot in asia.

England needs to go back home and win and sustain #1 rank. So sad to see a team with #1 rank gets out on 72.

Credit goes to Pakistan for playing great in 3rd and 4th innings. Azher ali and Asad shafiq won the match.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

i've been reading few of ur articles, no matter what, you always come up with some positives about the england team.. George Patriotic Dobell!! don't insult Muhammad Ali by comparing him with this team.. few good test wins in "Seaming Conditions" don't make them "Champions".. I have been following ur views right from begining of this series.. u predicted England would win easily by atleast 1 or 2 test.. that's over.. after 1st test u said don't write england team off yet.. even that's over.. what else?? wait and watch.. keep predicting and keep getting dissapointed.. good luck!

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

Yes the challenge starts now for England (the second time, the first challenge started after Dubai defeat). If they lose again in the third test, the challenge will start again for them. Good luck England responding to the challenges.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Mr Dobell England is nowhere near to Mr Ali....kindly don't try to speak for such a pathetic show.....

Once out of their den they succumbed mutely..... where was the fight?

145 should have been chased any day on any wicket especially if you are "WORLD's no.1 TEST TEAM"


Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

"Had Shafiq and Azhar Ali not led a Pakistan fightback, England might well have won." hahahhahaha...

Posted by SumitRavi on (January 28, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Good article, some correct claims, some ridiculous. To compare Muhammad Ali and England is hilarious. Ali was a champion and England or for that matter any of the current teams are far from being called anything. India lost against Australia and England, why? Because Australia is good? No, they lost against N.Z. Because England is good? Far from it, they lost against Pakistan now and they lost 5-0 against India in ODIs. Yeah, ODI and tests are different, but look at why England lost in five ODIs. Not because they didn't bowl well, but because they can't bat against spin. Just like Asians can't bat against pace and swing. Currently test cricket sucks because team A wins against team B (replace any names, doesn't matter) only in A's country. What's the point of watching?

Posted by ajmal1988 on (January 28, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Mr Dobell, please read this comment if you have the balls to swollow your own pride : " I expect Pakistan to be crushed under the boots of a pretty strong english side"....I am sure you can remember it when you read it. Well this is my comment : "England got HAMMERED by a pretty strong Pakistan side". Good look in the other subcontinental series.

Posted by NSGD on (January 28, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Call them the new #1 ahahahah, remember when India played thm last yr. we didn't ahve half of our first choice player and Ian Bell was given 1 or 2 more chances to make big scores.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

"The challenge starts now..." I beg to differ but the challenge already started and England lost the first two games already. This is like when India came to Aus and it was "We are slow starters". Then England got pulverised in the 1st test and it was "We're rusty we haven't played a test in a while". Good luck with all the excuse making England. You of all teams should know where that got India. How about giving credit where it is due to a revamped and extremely promising Pakistani side. Gratz Pakistan!

Posted by rustyryan on (January 28, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

For God sake don't compare England team with a champ like Muhammad Ali. Ali is a legend. England is just a bunch of overrated player who can play only at home and cry like babies when they see a spinner at the corner.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Yes England were beaten but not in ruins, after all pakistan is one of the top ranking teams so... Wait they are not ? Am trying to remember what was so great about beating India the TOP RANKING team tag. So if one wins to a top ranking team it is a great victory and if you lose to a bottom ranked team it cannot be a ruin, right? This is the kind of spin english are good at playing. Sorry it looks like a case of

Georgie porgie sat on a wall ......

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Ubeleivable! Stuck to the back of the crease and absolutely no real footwork whatsoever! They just didn't do the basics right...

Posted by k.mithilesh on (January 28, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

Another English loss, another apologia, another bout of whinging...

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Champion team is one and only Pakistan for 3 years Pak have no home advantage still Pak won against every team in every country India and England both rised to number 1 because of home advantage but Pakistan is great

Posted by NaniIndCri on (January 28, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Poor Dobell and his fantasy world. "The challenge starts now"... really??? they failed miserably in both tests so how the hel will the challenge start now :@ it should have started with 2nd test genius.

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