Pakistan v England 2011-12

Batting slump costs England

ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over England following their first series whitewash to Pakistan, a series where England had a rude awakening following a trailblazing two years

George Dobell

February 7, 2012

Comments: 54 | Text size: A | A

Matt Prior provided lower-order runs for England, Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 4th day, February 6, 2012
Matt Prior's glovework against the spinners was one of few bright points during England's 3-0 defeat © Getty Images
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Andrew Strauss 5/10
England's captain was never fluent but no-one battled harder with the bat. Hampered by his preference to play spin off the back foot, Strauss countered by attempting to use his feet against the spinners with partial success. But with only one century in his last 28 Tests and just two half-centuries in ten Tests since the end of the Ashes, doubts are beginning to grow. He deserves some credit for the excellent spirit in which the series - which had potential to become controversial - was played and for his honest assessment of Pakistan's strengths and his own side's weaknesses.

Alastair Cook 5
No England player faced more balls in the series than Cook. There were times, using his long reach and infamous patience, when Cook seemed able to negate the spin threat, though run scoring remained problematic. He produced England's highest score of the series - 94 in Abu Dhabi - but generally sold his wicket more cheaply than has been case in recent times, against spin and seam.

Jonathan Trott 5.5
That he was England's leading run scorer says little: this was a disappointing series by Trott's high standards. He squandered two good starts in his first and last innings of the series and once gave his wicket away when not calling for a review that would have reprieved him. He played the spin as surely as anyone and still appears to have the technique to prosper. He was also the unlikely producer of a very good delivery that dismissed Younis Khan in the first Test.

Kevin Pietersen 2
There were glimpses - the most fleeting of glimpses - of what might have been in Pietersen's final innings of the series when he skipped down the pitch to hit the spinners back over their heads. No-one doubts Pietersen's talent but in this series he was hamstrung by serious technical errors: a lack of balance causing him to lunge rather than press forward and a failure to play straight. He also missed a relatively simple run out that might have changed the course of the second Test. He is good enough to bounce back so long as he retains the appetite for the hard work required.

Ian Bell 1
2011 suddenly seems a long time ago. A tally of just 51 runs at an average of 8.5 tells its own story of a gruesome series. Bell's inability to pick Saeed Ajmal's variations - he fell to the doosra four times in six innings - rendered the man who came into the series with a reputation as England's best player of spin all but hapless. His dismissal in the second innings of the third Test - guiding a long hop to point - summed up a horrid tour.

Eoin Morgan 2
Fragile against spin and seam alike, this was a series that dealt a serious blow to Morgan's hopes of establishing himself as a Test cricketer. He was somewhat fortunate to retain his place for the last Test but responded with an improved performance. But a temptation to play across the line against spin and away from his body against seam is a dangerous combination.

Matt Prior 7.5
A cricketer at the peak of his powers. The only man in the England side to average more than 30 with the bat, Prior played the spin as well as anyone and was twice left stranded without partners. He also kept well. While he has long been very good standing back to the seamers, he now appears almost as competent standing up to the spinners.

Stuart Broad 8
Immaculate with the ball, Broad displayed stamina, skill and consistency in this series. His bowling, maintaining a probing line and length and generating just a little seam and swing movement, would have made the likes of Glenn McGrath proud. There is not much higher praise than that. He also produced a fine innings in Abu Dhabi that, but for an appalling batting collapse from his colleagues, might have shaped the second Test in Abu Dhabi. But he loses a mark for selling his wicket too cheaply on two occasions. He is already one of the world's top bowlers. With just a little more application, he could be one of the world's top all-rounders.

Graeme Swann 7.5
Somewhat hampered by the lack of left-handers in the Pakistan line-up, Swann was obliged to play the supporting role to Panesar for much of the series. Swann still finished with the best strike-rate of any of the England bowlers - he claimed a wicket every 53 deliveries - and produced some useful contributions with the bat. Indeed, he averaged more than Bell, Pietersen or Morgan.

James Anderson 8
Dangerous with the new ball - he may have caused permanent damage to Taufeeq Umar's Test career - and now boasting supreme levels of control, Anderson's labours deserved more reward from unresponsive pitches. Perhaps he has lost just a little pace but such is his ability to swing and seam the ball that he remains a reliable bowler in any conditions and a lethal one when conditions help. Anderson also battled hard with the bat, contributing more runs than Bell.

Monty Panesar 8
Two Tests and two five-wicket hauls: the Panesar comeback can only be said to have been a resounding success. After a nervous start in Abu Dhabi, Panesar grew in confidence and revelled in his heavy workload. He will never be a bowler replete with variation and he does tend to offer a few more short balls than he would like but, generally, Panesar provides consistency, control and, in helpful conditions, can be very dangerous. He has improved with the bat and in the field, too.

Chris Tremlett 4
Wicketless in his only Test, Tremlett was subsequently forced to return to England with a back injury that will require surgery. It was wretched luck for a fine cricketer whose body seems unable to withstand the rigours of fast bowling. He bowled respectably in the first Test, too, albeit without much of the pace or devil he had shown at Perth, Cardiff or The Rose Bowl. Fears are growing that it may prove to be his last international appearance.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 10, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

@satish619chandar on (February 10 2012, 05:17 AM GMT) To be honest I'm still not convinced. Re Pakistan , I suppose it is unproven as to how good they are away from UAE. To me - and I'm not just saying it because I'm an England fan - I think England gave Australia and possibly every other nation the blueprint of how to bowl at India on pacy wickets. And TBH I would not swap one Aus bowler for one of ours. The only Oz bowler I feel would challenge for a place in the England side is Cummings. Having said that Pakistan may have given other teams the way to bowl to England on slow dry pitches.Obviously bowlers can improve but I'm basing my opinion on what I saw of Australian bowlers like Siddle in the last Ashes series and what I saw of Pattinson (who I feel is eratic) in India

Posted by satish619chandar on (February 10, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

@JG2704 : In all respect, the quality of bowling India faced was also very much attacking and very consistent.. They were as good as any attack at present..

Posted by landl47 on (February 10, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

The bowlers all did well and it was especially pleasing first to see England make the decision to use a 2 + 2 attack and second to see Panesar bowl so well on his return to the side. The batsmen were horrible and these marks are generous with the exception of Pieterson, Bell and Morgan, who are about right. If a test batsman doesn't average 30 in a 3-match test series, even a low-scoring one, there's no way they deserve a 5. Cook, Trott and Strauss had a couple of good innings each, so 4 for them. Prior maybe warrants 6; his batting was uneven- two good not out innings and nothing else- but he kept pretty well. This was a series England really should have won, after needing only 145 in the second test and bowling Pakistan out for 99 in the third and the batsmen's failure to capitalize on the advantage their bowlers gave them was unforgiveable. This isn't an inexperienced side, so they need to take a close look at technique. It just wasn't good enough.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

@ tarbox69 on (February 08 2012, 13:24 PM GMT) As I posted before. SA would have been number 1 had they beaten Australia in the 2nd test rather than lost it and beaten SL 3-0 rather than 2-1. England beat the same Australia side AWAY which SA drew with at home and in 2009/10 they drew a home series 1-1 with India whereas England beat the same India 4-0 at home a year or so later. If you look at SA test record from the last 10 series they have won 4 , drawn 5 and lost 1.Only 2 series have they won by more than 1 test (both 2-0) and one of them was vs Bang record , Eng series record W8 D1 L1 P34 W20 L7 D7. Unfortunately for the England haters the ICC don't take into consideration all the injuries and bad decisions India had or the fact that the Ashes win in Australia was a fluke because they were going through a transitional phase.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

@ Posted by on (February 08 2012, 10:14 AM GMT) Ok - so (as there has to be a number one side) who is it? Let me know and I will give you reasons why they should not be ranked above England.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

@ Posted by on (February 08 2012, 11:52 AM GMT) Did you not see De Lange's performance when he came in for Philander? SA will always be a tough side to beat but stats show they can be beaten in tests they should win. I believe that had they beaten Australia in the 2nd test - a match they should have won - and/or SL 3-0 rather than 2-1 , they'd be number one right now. So all those who say SA deserve to be number 1 right now - well they should be but they didn't win the matches which would have got them there. I responded to a no mark the other day who queried about when Eng last beat SA and if you look up the last 6 series between the 2 sides they're 8-8 - SA winning 2 by 2-1 , Eng winning 2 by 2-1 and 2 being drawn 1-1. This summer series could be an amazing contest for the number 1 spot.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

@ Posted by on (February 08 2012, 10:36 AM GMT) agreed . You also have to add to the equation that Broad scored a 50 in the second test - something which half the batsmen failed to do and which should have helped them win that test - and Monty achieved his wicket tally in 2 tests

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

@ Lmaotsetung on (February 08 2012, 10:30 AM GMT) SA still have to beat NZ 3-0 to officially be number one. The Pakistan series was not the form of a number one side , but England got there on merit and if SA beat NZ 3-0 then they will have earned the position. Being that the ICC ranks a side over rolling form over a few years , you could pick any side as number one and any one person can give a series result (some series results) within the last few years which argues against that. It's like saying Man City lost to Everton the other week so they don't deserve to be top of the premier league for the points/goals they'd accumulated before and since that game.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

jackiethepen on (February 07 2012, 23:39 PM GMT) I see you'll defend Bell until the cows come home. You are right re the partnership with Broad but that was more Broad than Bell. Even in that score of 29 or whatever he looked extremely scratchy and never once looked like he had it in him to score runs. I'd probably have to say that not one of our batsmen deserved above 5 and that Broad was our best player on the tour followed by Monty and Prior. To be fair Bell had a great year/18 months prior to this series and to be fair he has had all the plaudits that go with that. Same with all our players , but when they start to look so horribly out of form they have to accept criticism too

Posted by JG2704 on (February 9, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 on (February 07 2012, 19:37 PM GMT) didn't see the marks out of 10 for Sehwag. Maybe ESPN were taking into consideration the quality of bowling Eng faced compared to what India faced.

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