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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the third Test in Dubai
George Dobell in Dubai
February 6, 2012
Report : Pakistan secure series whitewash
News : Bresnan to rejoin England squad in UAE
News : Briggs and Buttler in line for ODI call up
Players/Officials: Abdur Rehman | Adnan Akmal | Stuart Broad | Alastair Cook | Kevin Pietersen | Umar Gul | Younis Khan
Matches: England v Pakistan at Dubai (DSC)
Series/Tournaments: England tour of United Arab Emirates
Drop of the day There were a couple of candidates here. In the end Adnan Akmal's remarkable miss off Andrew Strauss is just eclipsed by Umar Gul's dropping of Alastair Cook off the unfortunate Abdur Rehman. Cook had top-edged the ball just to the right of Gul, at deep backward square leg, only for the fielder to somehow misjudge the flight of the ball and barely lay a finger on it. In the grand scheme of things, it made little difference, but it gave England - and Cook - another four runs and denied Rehman a well-deserved wicket.
Catch of the day Yonuis Khan enjoyed an excellent match. Quite apart from his sublime century, he proved again to be a wonderfully reliable catcher in the slips. He held on to a very sharp chance to end James Anderson's spirited second innings resistance. With Anderson forcing hard off the back foot, the ball flew hard and fast to Younis' right but, despite falling over in his attempt to control the ball, he held on. Might Younis be the best slip fielder Pakistan have had?
Milestone of the day When Alastair Cook clipped one off his legs from Umar Gul to run three and reach 22, he passed 6,000 Test runs at the age of 27 years and 43 days. That makes him the second youngest man to reach the milestone. Predictably, Sachin Tendulkar, who reached it at the age of 26 years and 313 days, holds the record, though Cook took fewer games. It was one of the few bright spots on a grim day for English cricket.
Dismissal of the day Kevin Pietersen might not have scored many runs this series - just 67 at an average of 11.16 - but he remained the prize wicket for Pakistan. In many ways, his dismissal summed up England's batting in this series. Pressing forward to an off-break from Saeed Ajmal, Pietersen was punished for a basic technical flaw: his bat came across, rather than straight, and the ball crept through the gate. There was no DRS, no doosra and no left-arm spin to blame this time: until he rediscovers the ability to play straight, Pietersen's struggles in Test cricket will continue.
Headrush of the day England still required 128 runs when Stuart Broad was seventh man out. It was always going to be an uphill struggle. But it was still possible. Broad and Matt Prior had added 37, counter-attacking where appropriate and reviving England's slim hopes of victory. But then Broad aimed a thumping drive at the first delivery with the second new ball and hit it straight to the man positioned for the stroke at long off. The pair had clearly elected to take a positive approach but some discretion was still needed. For a man with a Test century to his name, it was a reckless, thoughtless stroke. Particularly as he could have pushed a single and allowed his very experienced colleague - a man with six Test centuries - to continue the chase.
Statistic of the day Between them, Abdur Rehman, 19 wickets, and Saeed Ajmal, 24, claimed 43 England wickets in the series. Mohammad Hazeez, the part-time off-spinner, claimed another five. That means that spin accounted for 48 of the 60 England wickets to fall. It really does not take an analyst to work out where England have been going wrong.
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