Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai February 2, 2012

History beckons for Pakistan

50

Match facts


February 3-7, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Start time 1000 (0600 GMT)

Big Picture


England came to the UAE as the No. 1 Test side but are in danger of losing that status in their first series since reaching the top of the rankings. Another defeat in Dubai, and a whitewash by South Africa of New Zealand, would see South Africa replace England: a scenario made possible by England's failure to chase 145 in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan are plotting their own route to No. 1 and completing a 3-0 win would be a major step along that path. They will be hoping for another pitch that assists their spinners just enough to trouble England, and perhaps one which hinders the tourists' seamers - the one area where England can claim supremacy in the series.

Pakistan have never completed a series whitewash outside Pakistan so history beckons for this group of players if they can win again.

Many expected high-scoring draws from this series but the reality has been anything but. The bowlers' dominance has produced two fascinating matches so anticipate another intriguing encounter, with England's ability to deal with the Pakistan spin barrage holding the key to the result.

Form guide


Pakistan: WWWWD
England: LLWWW

Players to watch


Saeed Ajmal is the kingmaker in this match. He has plunged England to new depths and has doubts firmly planted at the front of the batsmen's minds. If the tourists can find a way to overcome his psychological hold - as Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott briefly managed in Abu Dhabu - they may find a way to save face.

Team news


Ian Bell has recovered from a stomach illness as England look set to stick with the same team from Abu Dhabi. Pakistan have to decide whether to retain Junaid Khan as the second seamer, replace him with Wahab Riaz or bring Aizaz Cheema, who was injured after the first Test, back into the side.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar.

Pitch and conditions


The pitch for the first Test offered a little assistance to the bowlers but this surface is brand new, never been used. There is less grass on this pitch, with Misbah saying: "It looks an even better wicket than the first Test, especially for batting." This could finally be the run-fest we were expecting before the start of the series.

Stats and trivia


  • Fifty of 70 wickets in the series have fallen to spinners.
  • There have only been six dismissals via catches at slip.
  • Saeed Ajmal moved up to the No. 2 bowler in the world after taking 7 for 130 in the second Test.
  • England's 72 in Abu Dhabi was their lowest Test score in Asia.
  • England's middle-order trio of Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan have contributed 94 runs at 7.83 in the series.

Quotes


"We're not going to get too caught up in the downward spiral, but obviously we need to learn the lessons from where we have gone wrong."
Andrew Strauss, the England captain, reflects on his side's previous two defeats.

"Mistakes are bound to happen. I tried my best to bat for longer but, once in a while, such a rush of blood will happen."
Asad Shafiq, the Pakistan batsman, on his rash shot in the first innings in Abu Dhabi

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PakEditor on February 3, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    @unregisteredalien. What's wrong with discussing the writing style of a sports reporter? There is no paranoia here. Pak, as I understand, has already clinched this Test series. But what's up with being so condescending in telling random people to "dial down the paranoia". May I suggest that you stop coming up with instructions? @Vinod Dsilva. Really? So now that you have announced the course of this game, should the teams go back to their hotels? Do you watch matches involving Pak frequently or this is a one of instance.

  • on February 3, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Pakistan won't win this 3-0; it will be an English victory; the best Pak would hope for is to draw and not lose but I think their winning streak will end here for now

  • adeelbashir23 on February 3, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    Aizaz Cheema should IN. He bowl really well in 1st test. My Team Hafeez, Asad, Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Ajmal, Rehman, Gul, Cheema

  • on February 3, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    @nikhilnair man come on worse than minnows??? u calling Pakistan minnow?? man look at history Pakistan is the only Asian team with better outside record and winning ratio than any of Lanka or Indian so keep word clean and clear

  • unregisteredalien on February 3, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    @cricket_fan_1980 and @PakEditor: What on earth are you on about? I see nothing sinister at all here, just a fair and neutral preview. Dial down the paranoia a little. And go Pakistan! (from an Australia supporter)

  • badmaash on February 3, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Guys - lets not read too much into the last victory. England won most of the sessions, but then lost wickets in a bundle. They played on a track that doesn't offer much to pacemen, against a team that has a historic weakness against spin. Our team needs to improve, both in fast bowling and in batting - and we need to get a professional coach like Dav Whatmore. Mohsin might be a great guy - perhaps they can retain him as the team manager.

  • El_Toro_Loco on February 3, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Ok, Younis Khan, Umar Gul should be given rest & bring in Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz. Here is my team: Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azhar, Misbah, Umar A, Asad S, Adnan A, Ajmal, Rehman, Wahab & Junaid. Ciao

  • pakwin on February 3, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Pakistan I hope you guys make it 3-0 but even if you dont I still like your team

  • Desihungama on February 3, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    @PakEditor- Tell him about Australia 87 all out too on the same English pitches. Here we have England 72 all out. Happens once may be a fluke but happens twice is called a pattern. Let us then 'plot' to become No. 1.

  • on February 3, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    Best revenge3-0. Just keep in mind. Remember what Rameez Raja said before this series.

  • PakEditor on February 3, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    @unregisteredalien. What's wrong with discussing the writing style of a sports reporter? There is no paranoia here. Pak, as I understand, has already clinched this Test series. But what's up with being so condescending in telling random people to "dial down the paranoia". May I suggest that you stop coming up with instructions? @Vinod Dsilva. Really? So now that you have announced the course of this game, should the teams go back to their hotels? Do you watch matches involving Pak frequently or this is a one of instance.

  • on February 3, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Pakistan won't win this 3-0; it will be an English victory; the best Pak would hope for is to draw and not lose but I think their winning streak will end here for now

  • adeelbashir23 on February 3, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    Aizaz Cheema should IN. He bowl really well in 1st test. My Team Hafeez, Asad, Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Ajmal, Rehman, Gul, Cheema

  • on February 3, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    @nikhilnair man come on worse than minnows??? u calling Pakistan minnow?? man look at history Pakistan is the only Asian team with better outside record and winning ratio than any of Lanka or Indian so keep word clean and clear

  • unregisteredalien on February 3, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    @cricket_fan_1980 and @PakEditor: What on earth are you on about? I see nothing sinister at all here, just a fair and neutral preview. Dial down the paranoia a little. And go Pakistan! (from an Australia supporter)

  • badmaash on February 3, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Guys - lets not read too much into the last victory. England won most of the sessions, but then lost wickets in a bundle. They played on a track that doesn't offer much to pacemen, against a team that has a historic weakness against spin. Our team needs to improve, both in fast bowling and in batting - and we need to get a professional coach like Dav Whatmore. Mohsin might be a great guy - perhaps they can retain him as the team manager.

  • El_Toro_Loco on February 3, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Ok, Younis Khan, Umar Gul should be given rest & bring in Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz. Here is my team: Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azhar, Misbah, Umar A, Asad S, Adnan A, Ajmal, Rehman, Wahab & Junaid. Ciao

  • pakwin on February 3, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Pakistan I hope you guys make it 3-0 but even if you dont I still like your team

  • Desihungama on February 3, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    @PakEditor- Tell him about Australia 87 all out too on the same English pitches. Here we have England 72 all out. Happens once may be a fluke but happens twice is called a pattern. Let us then 'plot' to become No. 1.

  • on February 3, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    Best revenge3-0. Just keep in mind. Remember what Rameez Raja said before this series.

  • on February 3, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Best revenge3-0. Just keep in mind. Remember what Rameez Raja said before this series.

  • on February 3, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    Dravid, First of all thanks for the support, as a pakistani it always nice to see a friendly comments from a neighboring country. I do agree with you, Pakistan should keep the intensity and play with the same fire as this is their first Test of the series. Good luck to both the team.

    Asif

  • pakwin on February 3, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    Go pak go.Try to counter attack panesar.I think they should drop junaid khan for umar akmal.I also think the spinners will do good because they took 80 to 90% of wickets.Good luck pakistan.

  • Rangad on February 3, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Rangad Pakistanis not playing for the past 2 years in IPL is a blessing in disguise

  • on February 3, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    I hope they haven't reverted to flat pitches for this one, the first test had high quality cricket, and even though it ended up being onesided, till day 2 it was anyone's game, the second test was an absolute classic, among the best I've ever seen all because of good bowling pitches. Another bowling pitch will be awesome, no matter who wins quality of cricket is most important in tests

  • chishtyirfan on February 3, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    Lage Raho Munna Bhai. You guys have long way ahead to be No. 1. I can understand your great feeling to beat no. 1 team. I don't like the way England & India become No.1 team. They have one only on their backyard. But you want to become NO.1 you have to beat ever team on their backyard. like OZ, WI, SA does. But Pak you are not far behind, you have to win AUS & SA to prove your worth. Best of luck to start on that path

  • woodhaven on February 3, 2012, 0:12 GMT

    england should play bopara instead of morgan plus his bowling will be effective

  • on February 2, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    I agree with you IALEEM, i want to join this Campaign, Please inform me if you found it, Pray for Our Best Bowler Amir,,, and wish Clean Sweeps for English, S/Africans & Australians by the hands of Pakistani Eagles... Cricket is our Passion...

  • on February 2, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    I dont need to worry about 3-0 white wash, because the current moral of our National Team elaborates clearly that even though they are playing against South Africa or admired Australians,,, they will be going for White Wash at all... So Best Luck English... Pack Up your Luggage now & be ready for another Black Day... All Pakistanis to pray for Mohammad Amir ...

  • on February 2, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    I do Agree 100% with my Patriotic Friend, IALEEM, need of our National Beloved Coach Mohsin Hassan Khan is essential for our team, becuase he is the man who is really patriotic and ture lover to our country, just as he has injected winning spirit in Young Embassadors of our countries outside. Appointment of A forigner coach for our team by giving (UNKNOWN) preference will be seen in a corrputive (i.e: for the sack of % of Dollars from his Contract Money) manner by our intellectuals, who are having keen eyes in Our Country Politics. We do agree Mr. Zaka Ashraf (PCB Chairman) is doing his best for our International Cricket recovery in Pakistan, but these efforts are still fruitless and will be fruitless till we will not be able to prove us as a Best World Class Team, that is only possible if we play with Unity & True Faith & Love to our country... Who Can Do This The Answer is "Only & Only Mohsin Hassan Khan"... We all love our Nation and so we love Mohsin Hassan Khan...

  • on February 2, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    come on pak indians and srilankans are with u give the english a 3-0 "pak wash" and dethrone them from the top .they r just fast bowling bullies who cant even read spin.zimbabwe plays spin wayy better thn england no offence thoue fact.

    at present only south africa luks like the world's best test team with enormous bowling armoury with advent of philander and de lange and a great batting line up which can challenge any team be it sub continent or fast bowling pitches in aus and eng.

    the present young aussie team is yet to prove itself in subcontinent but they wont do as bad as england getting out for 72 !! again no offence :-P

  • KashifMuneer on February 2, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    I have said this a few times before that seamers look much less threatening than spinners so Pakistan should rest Junaid and bring in Umar Akmal. One pacer (Gul) along with 3 spinners is enough. This will strengthen the batting while keeping the bowling equally strong as in the past. Its a no-brainer. Hafeez should open the bowling with Gul.

  • NikhilNair on February 2, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    If Pakistan wins this series 3-0... they will not be the only ones celebrating... it will be all Asians. When Asian teams loose outside sub-continent, everyone says... "hey look, they are flat track bulles!"... but now... we can reply... "hey look, you are worse than the minnows outside your own den too!" Having said all that.... it's not something to be proud of to be best at home... and we need teams to rise on occasions on all surfaces. Hope England put up a good fight, but hope Pakistan wins :)

  • on February 2, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    I loved your comment there (Dravid_Gravitas). I believe they must keep the same mental psychology to be able to dominate in the third game. They are both great teams and anything can happen, as England can't afford a whitewash, where Pakistan wants it to prove a point of being a stable team, but Pakistan still lack a good pace bowler to partner Umar Gul, as none of their new bowlers have impressed anybody yet.

  • SagirParkar on February 2, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    i agree with Iqbal that Wahab Riaz needs to come in the squad.. not that Junaid isnt good but Wahab is more experienced and being a left armer can add a bit of depth to the attack.. no matter how flat the pitch in Dubai, i reckon Ajmal might still get some purchase on it.. and if Pak bat first, England might have a fight on their hands to beat Pak.. i'm looking forward to another exciting test match !

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 2, 2012, 20:54 GMT

    Pakistan should play as though this is the first match of the series. No complacency. No dead-rubber philosophy. Good luck to both the teams and hope Pakistan wins - wishes from an Indian.

  • Kookaburra on February 2, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    As they have already won the series Pak should play U. Akmal instead of Asad Shafiq and Wahab Riaz instead of J. Khan.

  • on February 2, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Choueb Iqbal says, "I Think umar akmal can come in for taufiq so azhar can open and junaid should be replaced by wahab"

    sorry iqbal sahib, dont think you understand the notion of how opening partnerships are critical and should not be tempered with when they have been working for the last 10 + test matches....

  • IALEEM on February 2, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    MOHSIN FOR PERMANENT MANAGER ROLE NO FOREIGNER NEEDED. Can someone start a Facebook campaign how to do it I don't know BUT I will be the first one to join in.

  • Muhammad_Zahid on February 2, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    There can never be a batting pitch in Dubai, Whatever kind of batting pitch there would be, England is definitely going struggle on this pitch...90% chance of whitewash...

  • on February 2, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Pak should challenge the truism of persisting with winning combo. Get Asad Shafiq instead of Toufeeq as an opener, Umar Akmal in the Middle Order, Wahab Riaz instead of Junaid, for England, Bopara to replace Morgan or Bell (if not match fit) to me is the only sensible change

  • on February 2, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    3-0 would be awesome for Pakistani morale.

  • on February 2, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    I still believe that on paper, the English team is more formidable. I also think they have been psychologically damaged. If Pakistan Spinners and pace bowlers just bowl with accuracy, English Batsmen will perish fast. Even India and Sri-Lanka would benefit from this damage to the English Batsmen.

  • on February 2, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Men In Green- History Truly Beckons. Give a THREE-NIL to your people. They need the boost as a nation and also you as a cricketing nation

  • waz_1992 on February 2, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Umar Akmal in for Junaid. He can come in at 7 and just play his natural game - all out attack against the English bowlers. This will mean Pakistan still has three spinners and Umar Gul to take 20 English wickets. One has to remember that 50 out of 70 wickets have fallen to spinners so far in the series. It also means Adnan coming in at 8, Rehman at 9 etc etc which shortens the tail.

    Despite leading 2-0, Pakistan's batting has still looked somewhat fragile, so lets rectify this by including Umar Akmal in the team, and go for the whitewash using asphyxiation by spin.

    3-0 to Pakistan Inshallah, I'd love to see a couple of our batsmen scoring centuries, and sending England home to think again.

  • nide on February 2, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    misbah go for kill we looking for whitewash replace junaid for riaz

  • BowledYa on February 2, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Misbah will play it safe, preferring a draw over risking a loss and going 2-1. He will only go for a win if he sees England floundering. Can't blame him, but given his mindset I do think he will go for a draw first before pushing hard for a win. So I see this match more for England to lose than for Pakistan to win (or draw). It will truly test the England players stomachs and if they have any confidence left after the 2 losses.

  • Zahidsaltin on February 2, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    MISBAH is a very traditional captain who won't easily change a winning team but otherwise it could be a much better option to play Umar Akmal at one down and let Azhar open instead of Taufiq for just one match. The reason is taufiqs problem against Swann. I would like to see a team without any left handed bat for this match. Pakistan also needs to look in to fast bowling options. Wahab could be a better option with a bit of extra addition with batting.

  • PakEditor on February 2, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @cricket_fan_1980. And I totally concur on Alex. Such negative connotations; Misbah is "plotting" the route to #1. But its so rampant here and probably why this writer is trying to ply his trade on it. Consider this usage instead: Misbah is "aiming" at the route to #1. Not sure why a 180mn people always have to "plot", "threaten", "surrender". @Ahmedfarooq Sameem: "Pakistan have flopped time and time again on seamer friendly wickets". Sorry Sameem. Did you miss Pak vs Eng in England in 2010? Witnessing a Pakistani fast bowler bowl on seaming pitches is why some people can not quit watching cricket!!

  • Sports4Youth on February 2, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    @ Amman Ali : ... i think Misbah should not bat first. The Dubai pitch is likely to have some moisture in the first hour of the first day, thereafter it will be a dead log. Also the high fancy roofs prevent any air/wind from blowing across the ground thereby taking away any possiblity of swing. so later bowlig will be tough. Also in the first match this pitch had less spin than Abu Dhabi. So all in all a better pitch for batting. Eng seamers should be nullified by the stadium design and the pitch condition. spin if less will nulify the english spinners. May this test will give some respite for the batsmen and challlenge for seamers and spinners of both sides.

  • Nampally on February 2, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    England batsmen keep saying we learn from our mistakes. But the fact remains that the technique of playing spinners is somewhat different to playing the seamers. Unless the batsmen's technique itself changes, there will be no respite. It is tough to change your technique from what you are used to playing all your life. Only relief is to expect a docile pitch which is not a "turner". England was all at sea even against the India in the 5 ODI whitewash, about 6 months ago. The real issue here seems to be strong batting line ups which performed so well on green pitches are failing in spin friendly wickets. England has to face SL & India after this series. The pitches in both SL & India are not as spin friendly as in Dubai. Hopefully, India & SL will study the pitches in Dubai & create similar ones in their countries to be in an advantageous position. Anyway, right now if Pakistan win the third test, England's #1 Test ranking will be gone. So there is a lot at stake apart from Whitewash!.

  • on February 2, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Misbha,the captain of Pakistan,says that the wicket on which the Third Test match is going to be played is even better for batting than the one on which the First Test was played ..Although Pakistan won the First Test by 10 wicket,if the wicket is what Misbha says Pakistan is going to have a tough time if England bat first.On a good batting surface England could outplay Pakistan.England's batting line up is more solid than that of Pakistan.On a wicket where ball turns less and the seamers get some assistance England have an edge .Pakistan have flopped time and time again on seamer friendly wickets.However to counter balance this factor Pakistan have their confidence boosted by the two previous victories.In addition to this Pakistani players are determined to whitewash England in pursuit of glory and prestige that would accompany another triumph.Mohsin Khan would be at his best masterminding a victory to stake his claim to be the permanent coach of Pakistan.

  • cricket_fan_1980 on February 2, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Oh Alex, trying every which way to try and pin down the pitch and find subtle faults in it. Just admit it mate, these pitches are probably better or at the least as good as pitches in England. And what is a "good" pitch anyway, highly highly subjective. I bet when England develops spinners of this calibre shown by the Pakistan side, all pitches in England will be tailored to suit their bowling, and no one will harp on about the golden age of English seamers (2007 - 2012). The pitches here are great, they have offered a bit to every single department, seam, spin, batting, movement etc. Having said that, I expect a tight match and a massive England fight back, predicting a draw to be honest, a 3-0 whitewash would be so so humiliating for Eng

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    I Think umar akmal can come in for taufiq so azhar can open and junaid should be replaced by wahab

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Go Team Misbah. You can complete the whitewash.

  • Saqib_Sheraz on February 2, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    well, I can see a white wash waiting for England but remember they have nothing to loose.... Pakistan need to be remain positive, defensive approach may not help them anymore.... Good Luck Pakistan

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    even if it turns out to be a batting paradise pakistani spinners are too clever to be conquered by English batsmen... an other victory for pakistan and a white wash is on cards... but test cricket at his best after a long long time

  • nidostud on February 2, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    Pakistani pace bowlers, except for Umar Gul in one inning, could not utilise the pitches the way English seamers have done. Even Umar Gul's figures owe more to below-average shot selection by the English batsmen rather than Umar Gul's wizardry. So this is a definite area of improvement. For bowling, I would rather go for Wahab Riaz now, since both Junaid and Aizaz were given their chance (though one test is not a fair chance). Plus he can do a bit of batting as well.

    The other issue is the lack of runs from Younis's bat as well as Taufeeq. The former has the highest test batting average in the team while the latter has been unable to contribute handsomely so far save one inning. I am still concerned about Akmal's keeping. He did not convert all the available opportunities, though they were forgotten because Pakistan won and did not have to pay heavy price.

    Lets see if Mission Clean Sweep becomes real or eludes Pakistan. But England have far more things to worry about!

  • TaylorSwift on February 2, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Pakistan should consider Wahab Riaz in place of Junaid Khan. Junaid has a bright future ahead of him but Riaz can give our fast bowling resources a much-needed boost. And his runs down the order could prove critical in a close match. England should resist the urge to tinker with their lineup. Morgan will come good in this Test. Hoping for a thrilling finish to the Test series. Best of luck Pakistan, history beckons!

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    3-0 inshAllah go team green and i think misbah should ball first what ever happen

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    3-0 inshAllah go team green and i think misbah should ball first what ever happen

  • TaylorSwift on February 2, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Pakistan should consider Wahab Riaz in place of Junaid Khan. Junaid has a bright future ahead of him but Riaz can give our fast bowling resources a much-needed boost. And his runs down the order could prove critical in a close match. England should resist the urge to tinker with their lineup. Morgan will come good in this Test. Hoping for a thrilling finish to the Test series. Best of luck Pakistan, history beckons!

  • nidostud on February 2, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    Pakistani pace bowlers, except for Umar Gul in one inning, could not utilise the pitches the way English seamers have done. Even Umar Gul's figures owe more to below-average shot selection by the English batsmen rather than Umar Gul's wizardry. So this is a definite area of improvement. For bowling, I would rather go for Wahab Riaz now, since both Junaid and Aizaz were given their chance (though one test is not a fair chance). Plus he can do a bit of batting as well.

    The other issue is the lack of runs from Younis's bat as well as Taufeeq. The former has the highest test batting average in the team while the latter has been unable to contribute handsomely so far save one inning. I am still concerned about Akmal's keeping. He did not convert all the available opportunities, though they were forgotten because Pakistan won and did not have to pay heavy price.

    Lets see if Mission Clean Sweep becomes real or eludes Pakistan. But England have far more things to worry about!

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    even if it turns out to be a batting paradise pakistani spinners are too clever to be conquered by English batsmen... an other victory for pakistan and a white wash is on cards... but test cricket at his best after a long long time

  • Saqib_Sheraz on February 2, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    well, I can see a white wash waiting for England but remember they have nothing to loose.... Pakistan need to be remain positive, defensive approach may not help them anymore.... Good Luck Pakistan

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Go Team Misbah. You can complete the whitewash.

  • on February 2, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    I Think umar akmal can come in for taufiq so azhar can open and junaid should be replaced by wahab

  • cricket_fan_1980 on February 2, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Oh Alex, trying every which way to try and pin down the pitch and find subtle faults in it. Just admit it mate, these pitches are probably better or at the least as good as pitches in England. And what is a "good" pitch anyway, highly highly subjective. I bet when England develops spinners of this calibre shown by the Pakistan side, all pitches in England will be tailored to suit their bowling, and no one will harp on about the golden age of English seamers (2007 - 2012). The pitches here are great, they have offered a bit to every single department, seam, spin, batting, movement etc. Having said that, I expect a tight match and a massive England fight back, predicting a draw to be honest, a 3-0 whitewash would be so so humiliating for Eng

  • on February 2, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Misbha,the captain of Pakistan,says that the wicket on which the Third Test match is going to be played is even better for batting than the one on which the First Test was played ..Although Pakistan won the First Test by 10 wicket,if the wicket is what Misbha says Pakistan is going to have a tough time if England bat first.On a good batting surface England could outplay Pakistan.England's batting line up is more solid than that of Pakistan.On a wicket where ball turns less and the seamers get some assistance England have an edge .Pakistan have flopped time and time again on seamer friendly wickets.However to counter balance this factor Pakistan have their confidence boosted by the two previous victories.In addition to this Pakistani players are determined to whitewash England in pursuit of glory and prestige that would accompany another triumph.Mohsin Khan would be at his best masterminding a victory to stake his claim to be the permanent coach of Pakistan.

  • Nampally on February 2, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    England batsmen keep saying we learn from our mistakes. But the fact remains that the technique of playing spinners is somewhat different to playing the seamers. Unless the batsmen's technique itself changes, there will be no respite. It is tough to change your technique from what you are used to playing all your life. Only relief is to expect a docile pitch which is not a "turner". England was all at sea even against the India in the 5 ODI whitewash, about 6 months ago. The real issue here seems to be strong batting line ups which performed so well on green pitches are failing in spin friendly wickets. England has to face SL & India after this series. The pitches in both SL & India are not as spin friendly as in Dubai. Hopefully, India & SL will study the pitches in Dubai & create similar ones in their countries to be in an advantageous position. Anyway, right now if Pakistan win the third test, England's #1 Test ranking will be gone. So there is a lot at stake apart from Whitewash!.