Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 2nd day February 4, 2012

The DRS impact, and Azhar's promise

Plays of the day from the second day of the third Test between Pakistan and England in Dubai
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Telling moment
In years gone by, it is highly unlikely that Stuart Broad would have been given out in the manner he was in England's first innings. Using his considerable height to stretch a long way forward, Broad would, almost certainly have enjoyed the benefit of any doubt despite Saeed Ajmal's doosra striking him on the pad.

Times have changed. Since the adoption of the DRS, batsmen using their pads to block the ball can no longer rely on any such benefits. Here, Broad was adjudged not out by the on-field umpire, only for Pakistan to review the decision and the ball-tracking technology to show that the ball hit in line and was going on to hit middle stump. So, does that represent progress? Or has the balance swung too far to the benefit of bowlers? It depends on your point of view. But the DRS has certainly changed the game.

Key moment
If England were to have any realistic chances of building a matchwinning position in their first innings, it was imperative that Andrew Strauss went on to make a significant contribution on day two. It was not to be. Despite battling hard, Strauss was nowhere near his best and, in trying to use his feet to the admirable Abdur Rehman, Strauss failed to reach the pitch, missed and was stumped. It had been a brave if somewhat torturous innings but, when he was ninth man out, England's last hopes of exploiting the fact that they had dismissed Pakistan for just 99, departed with him.

Shot of the day
It took Azhar Ali 17 balls to get off the mark and, after 39 balls, he had scored just two. Yet, unlike some of the England batsmen, he did not panic or fret over such a slow start. He remained patient in the knowledge that, eventually, the situation would ease and the runs would flow. When they did, he produced some fine shots. None were better than the deliciously-timed on-drive he played off Broad: barely more than a punch, but a stroke that sent the ball speeding to the boundary. It was the shot of a man who now appears to have the temperament, talent and technique to enjoy a long international career.

Class of the day
There is little room for sentiment in international cricket these days. It is a hard and often prosaic business and the days when fielders applaud an opposition player's century may well be coming to an end. So it was telling that every one of the England team joined in the ovation when Younis Khan reached his 20th Test century. As well they might. This was an innings that oozed class. Some of his strokes - his on-drive, sweep and late-cuts all stand out - illustrated batting at its very best and have given his side a wonderful opportunity to secure a 3-0 whitewash of the No. 1 ranked Test team. Every one of England's players applauded when Younis left the field at the end of the day, too. He deserved it.

Warning sign
Azhar and Younis had batted in increasing comfort in the evening session. Their stand was worth 142, Pakistan's lead was worth 128 and the pair were milking the bowling with an ease not seen at any previous stage this series. Suddenly, however, Monty Panesar persuaded one to turn and bounce sharply, beating Younis outside the off stump. While it might momentarily have encouraged the bowlers, the long-term ramifications were far less promising from an England perspective. Bearing in mind their frailty against spin and that they have to bat fourth, it was a ball that should have had the blood of their batsmen running cold.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    I thought cricket was a contest between bat and ball. The pad is meant to protect the legs of the batsman. It should never become a factor in its straight forward contest.

    I had always propagated the use of the DRS. Initially my idea was that it would give the lesser ranked teams some modicum of fairness from the umpires. I had watched the umpires most of the time give decisions in favour of the more established teams over and over again.

    DRS will become a very positive influence on the game, this I firmly believe.

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 5, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Younus and Azhar have shown that despite DRS swann is not deadly even on a pitch where spinners are the chief tormetors because it is all about the technique and mental toughness that is needed. Hopefully, other players will take some lead from this and stop blaming DRS. This system has improved decision making within its limitations and with some common sense by the players and umpires it can be improved to a great extent. In order to avoid excessive reviews teams can be given credit on saved reviews may be in terms of recalling a batsman etc. Ask gavasker.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 5, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @SRT_GENIUS X = 2.5 metres (& from what I understand increasing). @Altamash.Baig - I agree, I think most test purists want the battle between bat & ball, not pad & ball!

  • POSTED BY Street_Hawk on | February 5, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    @Akbar: I think weighted avg. technique you suggested may work..I suggested it quite a while ago too..You could also have a test championship home and away basis with 3 test in each series and decide the rank based on that performance...You cannot get more points by defeating a stronger opposition ranked above you like ICC do it now..ICC have to assume all test playing nations at least of equal strength..also, all teams have to play same no. of matches...you can award bonus points for drawing or winning away like Champions league soccer but winning bonus should be way more than drawing that way people will try harder to win a test rather than drawing them by making flatter pitches

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 I'd agree with you on DRS. Umpires should still give it (Broad's stretch) as not out, and if you think you have a chance as a bowler, review it. Simple is that.

  • POSTED BY bohurupi on | February 4, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    "So it was telling that every one of the England team joined in the ovation when Younis Khan reached his 20th Test century"-that's the spirit of cricket, that is how it differs from all other games-my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all English players who have done this. let it be exemplary.

  • POSTED BY BravoBravo on | February 4, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    The best part of this match so far is the ovation by ENG players to Younis Khan's century. ENG team, you are a beauty. You don't offer excuses, you always recognize the good qualities about your opponents. You never make statements that vilify your opponents. ENG, you win or loose, you remain graceful. It make me think you will do very well in forthcoming series aginst SL and IND. PAK spin bowling has been a surprise for ENG batsmen. The 3rd test between ENG and PAK is still wide open, and it is going to be a very gripping match, third day is going to be a blockbuster. I am really enjoying this series as compared to the sorry-state of mismatches during ENG vs IND and AUS vs IND series. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY Sal2011 on | February 4, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    George, LBW is for when the ball was going to hit the stumps and did all the other right things of which the point of impact in terms of the distance on the pitch does not matter. If technology can help the umpire(s) better judge LBW decisions with the given criteria, so much the better. The technology also clearly does not distinguish between bowler and batters. Batters can also use it to their advantage, for example if Trott had called for a review of his LBW. Don't blame the technology in lazy journalism. And I still think Eng has as good a chance of winning this match as Pak, as long as they keep the lead under 280.

  • POSTED BY Alphabaig on | February 4, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    I always thoiught padding was the most boring thing in test Cricket. Now, DRS is going to change that. It will teach the batsman to play straight and play with the bat rather than the pad. Those who will fail to learn will find it very very difficult.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    GO PAKISTAN!! Team Misbah FTW!

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    I thought cricket was a contest between bat and ball. The pad is meant to protect the legs of the batsman. It should never become a factor in its straight forward contest.

    I had always propagated the use of the DRS. Initially my idea was that it would give the lesser ranked teams some modicum of fairness from the umpires. I had watched the umpires most of the time give decisions in favour of the more established teams over and over again.

    DRS will become a very positive influence on the game, this I firmly believe.

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 5, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Younus and Azhar have shown that despite DRS swann is not deadly even on a pitch where spinners are the chief tormetors because it is all about the technique and mental toughness that is needed. Hopefully, other players will take some lead from this and stop blaming DRS. This system has improved decision making within its limitations and with some common sense by the players and umpires it can be improved to a great extent. In order to avoid excessive reviews teams can be given credit on saved reviews may be in terms of recalling a batsman etc. Ask gavasker.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 5, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @SRT_GENIUS X = 2.5 metres (& from what I understand increasing). @Altamash.Baig - I agree, I think most test purists want the battle between bat & ball, not pad & ball!

  • POSTED BY Street_Hawk on | February 5, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    @Akbar: I think weighted avg. technique you suggested may work..I suggested it quite a while ago too..You could also have a test championship home and away basis with 3 test in each series and decide the rank based on that performance...You cannot get more points by defeating a stronger opposition ranked above you like ICC do it now..ICC have to assume all test playing nations at least of equal strength..also, all teams have to play same no. of matches...you can award bonus points for drawing or winning away like Champions league soccer but winning bonus should be way more than drawing that way people will try harder to win a test rather than drawing them by making flatter pitches

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 I'd agree with you on DRS. Umpires should still give it (Broad's stretch) as not out, and if you think you have a chance as a bowler, review it. Simple is that.

  • POSTED BY bohurupi on | February 4, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    "So it was telling that every one of the England team joined in the ovation when Younis Khan reached his 20th Test century"-that's the spirit of cricket, that is how it differs from all other games-my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all English players who have done this. let it be exemplary.

  • POSTED BY BravoBravo on | February 4, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    The best part of this match so far is the ovation by ENG players to Younis Khan's century. ENG team, you are a beauty. You don't offer excuses, you always recognize the good qualities about your opponents. You never make statements that vilify your opponents. ENG, you win or loose, you remain graceful. It make me think you will do very well in forthcoming series aginst SL and IND. PAK spin bowling has been a surprise for ENG batsmen. The 3rd test between ENG and PAK is still wide open, and it is going to be a very gripping match, third day is going to be a blockbuster. I am really enjoying this series as compared to the sorry-state of mismatches during ENG vs IND and AUS vs IND series. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY Sal2011 on | February 4, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    George, LBW is for when the ball was going to hit the stumps and did all the other right things of which the point of impact in terms of the distance on the pitch does not matter. If technology can help the umpire(s) better judge LBW decisions with the given criteria, so much the better. The technology also clearly does not distinguish between bowler and batters. Batters can also use it to their advantage, for example if Trott had called for a review of his LBW. Don't blame the technology in lazy journalism. And I still think Eng has as good a chance of winning this match as Pak, as long as they keep the lead under 280.

  • POSTED BY Alphabaig on | February 4, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    I always thoiught padding was the most boring thing in test Cricket. Now, DRS is going to change that. It will teach the batsman to play straight and play with the bat rather than the pad. Those who will fail to learn will find it very very difficult.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    GO PAKISTAN!! Team Misbah FTW!

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    We need to rethink how ICC does it's ranking once it for all. Competing in countries like India and Pakistan will always be a challenge for visiting nations and similarly Asian countries face similar challenges when visiting Australia, England and South Africa. So what is the solutions? Use a weighted average method, there is absolutely no way for this visiting countries to master such pitches unless theyredesign the pitches all together to mimic Asian batting environments and vice versa . When England wins a test in Pakistan/India/SriLanka, it should be weighted more as compared to home wins and this goes the same for Pakistan. This is what we call in statistics smoothing out the numbers. This way we can have a more realistic ICC standing then what we have seen so far. Any feedback?

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | February 4, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Taufel gave it not out because in the bulk of the Tests he officiated in, the rule was 'if there is any doubt, it goes with the batsmen'. Now its 'if the ball would have hit the stumps, its out'. Batsmen stretching forward always counted as doubt.

  • POSTED BY SRT_GENIUS on | February 4, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    Reg Broad lbw, I thought if the distance between impact and wicket is longer than X meters, hawkeye is no longer usable ? (I think X = 1 meter).

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Of course there's progress. A black man is president and bowlers are given the wickets they deserve

  • POSTED BY NBRADEE on | February 4, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    In an era when we have seen more times than not bowlers serving to deliver the ball as a service for the batsman, the DRS can perhaps ensure the balance between the combatants (bowler and batsman); thank the scientists for that!

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    good show they are on top now hope so they carry this to third day looking white wash clearly

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    as we saw with Younis, batters will get used to playing with DRS, bat and pad together seems more risky now, gotta play with the bat

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    I think Pakistan have to gain some momentum now. Pakistan must score 340+ to atleast give them a target of 300, than we have a chance to make it 3-0.

  • POSTED BY Rukhman on | February 4, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Congratulations to Pak team for a wonderful performance. With over 180 runs lead and just 2 down, now if possible play out the 3rd day and build the lead around 400. InshahAllah 4th day will be the last day of this match

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    azhar ali nice and promising batsman , but needs to prove on away tours

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | February 4, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    It looks like England will have to wear the mantle of being the only no.1 cricket team to be whitewashed in their first series as so.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Looking for huge total from Pak side.......also not satisfied with umpiring standard....I wan stunt to see Toffel decesion was turned down :(

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  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Looking for huge total from Pak side.......also not satisfied with umpiring standard....I wan stunt to see Toffel decesion was turned down :(

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | February 4, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    It looks like England will have to wear the mantle of being the only no.1 cricket team to be whitewashed in their first series as so.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    azhar ali nice and promising batsman , but needs to prove on away tours

  • POSTED BY Rukhman on | February 4, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Congratulations to Pak team for a wonderful performance. With over 180 runs lead and just 2 down, now if possible play out the 3rd day and build the lead around 400. InshahAllah 4th day will be the last day of this match

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    I think Pakistan have to gain some momentum now. Pakistan must score 340+ to atleast give them a target of 300, than we have a chance to make it 3-0.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    as we saw with Younis, batters will get used to playing with DRS, bat and pad together seems more risky now, gotta play with the bat

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    good show they are on top now hope so they carry this to third day looking white wash clearly

  • POSTED BY NBRADEE on | February 4, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    In an era when we have seen more times than not bowlers serving to deliver the ball as a service for the batsman, the DRS can perhaps ensure the balance between the combatants (bowler and batsman); thank the scientists for that!

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Of course there's progress. A black man is president and bowlers are given the wickets they deserve

  • POSTED BY SRT_GENIUS on | February 4, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    Reg Broad lbw, I thought if the distance between impact and wicket is longer than X meters, hawkeye is no longer usable ? (I think X = 1 meter).