ABU DHABI – For three days and three-quarters of this test match England looked as if they would handsomely avenge the humiliation of the first.
Then, their batting folded inside two hours for 72 runs.
Andrew Strauss later said the wicket was excellent and good for cricket giving everyone a chance.
That though does not explain how the world’s number one side collapsed to her lowest ever score against Pakistan, when she was only chasing 144 to win. This is a Pakistan team that is blooding new players, and has very little apart from Younis Khan and Gul in terms of experience. Perhaps, they are more hungry than an England team who currently have four excellent bowlers in Broad, Anderson, Panesar and Swann, and a world-class batsman in Kevin Pieterson and little else. On their day, in familiar conditions, Morgan, Bell, Trott et al can fire, but if they are to remain number one that will not be good enough.
Pakistan first innings score of 257 was about a hundred runs short, and with a lead of 70 England took the attack to a brittle Pakistan batting line up in the second innings, with Panesar justifying his inclusion with 6-62.
Panesar could not have guessed that his opposite number, one Abdur Rehman, would go on to destroy the English batting line up finishing with 6-25.
Pakistan’s other spinner, Saeed- the dorsra – Ajmal also became the fastest Pakistani to secure 100 wickets, beating Wasim Akram and Mohammed Amir, who is currently serving a prison sentence for spot fixing.
Pakistan, led by a very impressive and stable Misbah, are looking like a team with a bright future.
At present, the records just keep being broken.
England for their part have lost this test series.
Perhaps, its now time to dump some of those players that have not performed – and have been frankly flattered by their previous performances – and try out players keen for the chance to shine.
The inclusion of Ravi Bhopra in the Third Test at Dubai would be a start.
SECOND TEST AT ABU DHABI
PAKISTAN 214 PANESAR 6 – 62
ENGLAN 72 REHMAN 6 – 25, AJMAL 3 – 22