Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 4th day February 6, 2012

No secret to England's problems

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the third Test in Dubai

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.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket on February 7, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Posted by Imran Ulhaq on (February 06 2012, 21:07 PM GMT) :- ... Now since the series has ended WE CAN CLEARLY CONCLUDE THAT THE TEESRA WAS A BLUFF THAT WORKED. Right from the begining Ajmal mersmerised the Poms not only with his Doosra and othe variations but also with the sword of Teesra hanging on their heads. Ajmal announced the Teesra after the WC. he said that he did not risk it as it was an important game against India. Thereafter, WI, SL, Bangladesh went. He said he reserved it for Eng. MAY BE GOOD PRESSURE TACTICS.

  • Cricket on February 7, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    Posted by Kavum on (February 06 2012, 21:41 PM GMT) :- .. WOW KAVUM !!!.. I MUST ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE THE OBSERVATION OF A HAWK. While everone was looking at the figures that damaged the opposition, you have managed to point out a strange one.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    I don't really think he can be considered a main bowler in that attack if he's only being given 4 overs...

  • tariq on February 7, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Younus Khan is the best fielder in the pakistani team (86 catches so far in 76 test matches) and 121 catches in ODI. Com'on Younis go for 100 catches in test matches

  • Michael on February 7, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    Do South Africa deserve to be #1 though? Since the start of 2009 they have a 9-6-8 W-D-L record, their only series wins coming against WI and SL. Hardly #1 material in my view. The fact is that there is NO standout team in world cricket at the moment, and it seems to be that home ground advantage is far more significant than previously.

  • Sai on February 7, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    Well done Pakistan, the only thing needed to improve is their fielding standards. If they do that, then they can become the no.1 team although that will take some time.

  • Rehan on February 6, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    @adithya - the pitches in UAE were not at all rank turners. In most cases there was not too much spin. Plus unlike india, england have been admitting that they have been weak against spin. They have not kept on saying "but we did beat everyone at home". Instead of saying "everything will be fine when we play at home", like india has been saying, they realize that they need to improve their performance in away series. So no comparison between the attitudes.

    @vsgr - sorry but if there was no partition, we would not have our excellent pakistani bowlers - perhaps we should keep politics out of this.

  • Sinhhalaya on February 6, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    Here's one for the statisticians that you appear to have missed. Cheema had identical figures of 4-0-9-0 (O-M-R-W) in both innings. Has this ever happened before - for a main bowler on a winning side or at any other time?

  • Vikram on February 6, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    @Adithya Raghunathan: Did you even watch any of the matches?

  • Dummy4 on February 6, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    So what was teesra !!! 3-0

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