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

Five England horror shows in Asia

England's worst Test defeats in Asia over the years

David Hopps

January 28, 2012

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

England have often blamed their most embarrassing Test defeats in Asia on bad umpiring -sometimes with good reason. This time the umpires have barely put a foot wrong, the DRS system watched over their every move, and England have lost two successive Tests that rank alongside the worst they have ever produced in Asia. Here are five England horror shows.


Chris Broad stands his ground after being given out caught behind, Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Lahore, November 27, 1987
Lahore 1987: Chris Broad was given out caught behind for 13. England were skittled for 130. © The Cricketer International
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Bangalore 1977, India won by 140 runs
India were 3-0 down in the series when the sides met in Bangalore but the tables were turned as the hosts chose three specialist spinners on a responsive surface. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar took six wickets in the first innings, Bishan Bedi six the second time around and England fell for 195 and 177. Without Alan Knott's spectacular resistance the margin would have been greater. The England press railed about Yajurvindra Singh's seven catches at short leg.

Mumbai 1981, India won by 138 runs
A tour almost cancelled by the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, because of the links of two England players with apartheid South Africa turned sour in the first Test in Mumbai. England made an official protest about the umpiring after they were caught out on an uneven pitch. The match was close until England collapsed to 102 all out in their second innings on a surface where several deliveries shot along the deck by the end. There followed five drawn Tests of mind-numbing tedium and India took the series 1-0.

Karachi 1984, Pakistan won by three wickets
Brilliant legspin bowling by Abdul Qadir gave Pakistan their first victory over England in 13 home Tests. England did not bother with warm-up matches and Qadir took eight wickets in the match with David Gower's two half-centuries representing England's only batting resistance of note in scores of 182 and 159. England's left-arm spinner, Nick Cook, struck back with match figures of 11 for 83 as Pakistan, needing only 65 to win, nicked it by three wickets.

Lahore 1987, Pakistan won by an innings and 87 runs
Controversy dogged England's 1987-88 tour of Pakistan. The stand-off between England's captain, Mike Gatting and umpire Shakoor Rana in the second Test in Faisalabad almost caused the tour to be cancelled, but it had all kicked off in the first Test in Lahore, where Pakistan won by an innings and 87 runs with a day to spare. Qadir bowled wonderfully to take 13 for 101 in the match but Gatting alleged biased umpiring and there were even suspicions that the umpires were under instruction from the military authorities.

Colombo 1993, Sri Lanka won by five wickets
When Sri Lanka beat England by five wickets at the Sinhalese Sports Club, England privately grumbled about the legality of the bowling action of not one Sri Lanka spinner, but two. England looked well set after Robin Smith's century took them to 380 in their first innings, but Sri Lanka took a first-innings lead of 89 before Jayananda Warnaweera, with four wickets in both innings, even upstaged the incomparable Muttiah Muralitharan. Warnaweera, whose action had been debated in his native Sri Lanka for years, went on to become Galle groundsman and delighted in preparing perfect spinners' tracks for Murali.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by haq33 on (January 29, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

Raju Shah.....he has NOT been reported in this series or ANY series since he was examined a couple of years back. So you don't know what you are talking about - please point out when any umpire has questioned his action in this match, instead of putting forward your opinion. And yes, the 3 umpires in this match were actually against Pak. Pakistan beat England/commonwealth/umpire allstars XIV.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 20:28 GMT)

It was a choke, a suffocation. Pakistan essentially shut England in an airtight room, closed the windows and doors, threw the keys away, and waited. I've never really seen anything like it.

Posted by musingsofamoron on (January 29, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

Gladly English Media and Fans are not asking Strauss, Bell, Morgan, Trott and KP to retire

Posted by Cric-enthusiast on (January 29, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

Jayananda Warnaweera is a great guy. Has played 10 tests. Was unfairly targeted by many for a suspect bowling action.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

don't forget england beat australia in their home ground..

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

Oh God... Again the same person. Why People don't come out of him

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Thanks to UDRS & Neutral Umpires, now no team can complain of bad umpiring. This shows the eternal weakness of English batting against quality spin.

Posted by puma75 on (January 29, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

I think England should learn the sportsmanship and accept their failure and credit to the side who demolish them. This is not politics that with the help of allies they can do whatever they want like..cricket must be appreciated. They must admit Pakistan on top of them at the moment

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

Ajmal is great Sachin struggled against every bowler these dayz

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

Five horror shows- and all have been attributed to biased umpiring or illegal bowling. what do you say now Mr Hopps?Or will Bob Willis bring in some new theory/controversy to cover England's incompetency?

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

no umpire to blame this time they were actually helped this time around

Posted by darkmon.SL on (January 29, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

where is 2012 vs pakistan ? I'm pretty sure it can go to top 5

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

Rakim See side angle slow motion of Strauss catch that was not given out. Ajmal chucks blatantly, he starts with arm bent but straightens completely. it is only a matter of time before he is reported again.

Posted by Kak-mal_Khan on (January 29, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

I thought last series in Pakistan 2005, in the 1st Test when England collapsed from winning position is worth noting!

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (January 29, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

Nice to see Eng struggling away. Now, its clear that they got no:1 spot by luck!

Posted by Vishal_07 on (January 29, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

@Rakim: Pakistan has always had great bowlers and as an Indian I have always been envious of that. I hope PCB breaks with their tradition and not ruin Ajmal's career.

Posted by Ross_Co on (January 29, 2012, 2:03 GMT)

Surely there's been more than 5.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 29, 2012, 0:47 GMT)

Yeah, I remember 1987. A bit unsportsman-like by Gatting, don't you all think? It was a while ago, but basic etiquette of the game is, rise above a wrong decision, it is kind of an unsaid rule because definitely in 90% of all test innings, there is at least one decision which either side has some grumble about. That would be a hard statistic to work out, but if the stats team takes it on at cricinfo, I'll be mighty impressed. Anyhow, sour grapes by Gatting back then. I think at the time, David Gower also made a comment about how Mike Gatting should have just risen above it. Pakistan has produced some of the finest elite (and otherwise) umpires in the game.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

All of the events occurred in Asia...

Posted by drsankalp on (January 28, 2012, 20:04 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 donda on (January 28, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Ok, thanks to DRS , finally we can say england is beaten in asia for first time fair and square. No bad umpiring , no bad pitches, no bad bowling and even not good batting by Pakistan but still england lost the series in Asia. England may not ever entered asian soil as #1 team in the world in past too. This may be the biggest defeat in asia for england.

Oh no, i forgot , Saeed Ajmal action is not correct, wait a second but man of the match is abdur rehman. What england lost it completely without any excuse this time.

No controversy, just plain simple spin attack to beat #1 ranked team in the world. It was really the final frontier for england but they did not manage to conquer it to emulate australia greatness in last ten years.

More humiliating losses are on the way in sri lanka and in india. Coming soon.

Posted by Rakim on (January 28, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

Even Sachin struggled against Ajmal. Ajmal is a beast!

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