Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Faisalabad
November 19, 2005
Not such a graveyard for fast bowlers
A lowdown on Faisalabad, the venue of the second Test between Pakistan and England
Inzamam-ul-Haq: due a big one at the Iqbal Stadium
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After their defeat at Multan, England must win the second Test at Faisalabad to stand any chance of winning the series. In three previous matches here, though, England have never managed to force a decisive result - the games in 2000-01, 1987-88 and 1983-84 all ended in draws. Pakistan have a 6-5 win-loss record here, but they haven't won since 1996-97, drawing two and losing two of their last four Tests. And while 11 draws in 22 matches suggests a batsman-friendly surface, it hasn't quite been so of late - of the last nine games, seven have produced a decisive result.
The runs-per-wicket stat indicates that the captain winning the toss is better off choosing to bat: teams average 33.16 in the first innings, and while the corresponding figures in the second and third innings are quite similar (38.3 and 32.5), it drops to 21.7 in the fourth innings. With Danish Kaneria already on a high after the Multan win, England wouldn't want to be faced with a marauding Kaneria on a last-day track again. Captains have chosen to field only five times in 22 matches at the Iqbal Stadium, and only twice has the result justified the move - Pakistan beat India in 1982-83, and then got past Sri Lanka in 1991-92.
The pitch here is traditionally supposed to be a good one for spinners, but surprisingly, fast bowlers have done better in the last ten years: in six Tests during this period, they have taken 125 wickets at 25.13, while spinners have only managed 78 wickets at 33.72. Pakistan's fast bowlers have been especially potent here, taking 69 wickets at 23.17. Of the five ten-wicket hauls here, only one has gone to a spinner - Abdul Qadir took 11 for 218 against Australia in 1982-83. (Click here for other stats on this venue.)
Incidentally, Kaneria hasn't had such a great time here, taking just 11 wickets in three games at over 40 apiece. Shoaib Akhtar, on the other hand, took 8 for 175 in the only Test he has played here, against Sri Lanka last year.
Among Pakistan's batsmen, Inzamam-ul-Haq is due a big one at Faisalabad - in five previous Tests, he has only scored 366 runs at 36.60. He has got plenty of starts here, with four fifties, but he hasn't managed to convert even one into a hundred. Mohammad Yousuf, who had such a forgettable game at Multan, has slightly better stats - 138 runs at 46.
Ashley Giles, though, will have pleasant memories of this ground - he took 5 for 75 in Pakistan's first innings in 2000-01. Marcus Trescothick, however, only managed 40 runs in two innings there.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.