Pakistan vs England
Pakistan win by 72 runs
A brilliant Test match is, in the end, not even close as Pakistan rout England's batting line-up for under half their 145-run target. Astonishing performance from Rehman and Ajmal has spun England into strokeless submission and bagged a famous victory. Pakistan win the series, with England's sole objective in the final Test at Dubai trying to restore some pride. To be honest, it'll take something pretty special to do it after this.
Over 36: Rehman W
72 WICKET! All over! Stunning series-clinching victory for Pakistan as Anderson top-edges a slog-sweep to be caught by Umar Gul at deep square-leg. Rehman ends up with six wickets as England's defensive mindset got them first into a spot of bother, then real trouble, and then quicksand from which there was no escape. Pakistan's spinners were superb, but my word that was a pathetic batting performance from England. It was Adelaidesque, and there can be no greater condemnation than that.
Over 36: Ajmal 3-0-0-W-1-W
72-9 - Prior nicks an attempted cut shot just wide of the man at slip and Swann scampers back for a third run. WICKET! Another batsman lbw playing back to spin, Swann this time. It's absolutely plumb and the end is nigh. That's the 16th lbw in the match, to go with 13 bowled. In the end, this match isn't even going to be close. Anderson joins Prior in the middle, and scampers a single first ball to get off the mark. WICKET! Prior gone as well now, tamely chipping a catch to cover. One of the most astonishing collapses
Over 35: Rehman 1-4lb-W-0-W-0
68-7 WICKET! Hard to know if Trott was struggling because he's so ill or if he was just gripped by the same paralysis that has afflicted all England's batsmen here. He's trapped plumb lbw playing back to Rehman. One more wicket here for Pakistan and you'd have to think the game is up. England still need 77 runs to win and at the moment it looks like it must as well be 777. Broad is the new batsman, and he has to have permission to attack. WICKET! All over now, surely. Broad looks to drive against the turn, and the ball spins sharply to go through the gate and knock back the off stump. What an astonishing game Test cricket can be. Graeme Swann is the new batsman. In all the excitement, I didn't even notice that Rehman's picked up a five-wicket haul. Superb performance from the other Pakistan spinner. On the TV the spin-o-tron reveals that ball to bowl Broad spun seven degrees. Doesn't sound very much, does it? It was loads.
Over 34: Ajmal 2-0-0-0-1-0
63-5 - Prior drives hard through cover but has to settle for two runs. Trott wasn't keen on a third run, and it's hard to criticise. Prior sweeps hard to deep square-leg for a single. England need 82 to win, and at the rate they're going it will only take around 50 overs.
Over 33: Rehman 0-0-0-0-0-0
60-5 - Another maiden over from Rehman. Trott manages to get through the over. It's hard to tell how he's feeling - his face rarely betrays much emotion - but it's hard to shake the notion that he'd much rather be somewhere else. Somewhere rather closer to a toilet.
Over 32: Ajmal 0-0-0-0-0-0
60-5 - Pakistan review a close lbw shout against Prior, but it's just missing leg stump. Must admit it looked straight to me; thought it would be one of those umpire's call jobs. Wasn't expecting it to actually be missing.
Over 31: Rehman 0-1-0-0-0-3
60-5 - Chance! Complete mix-up between Trott and Prior ends with both batsmen at the keeper's end as Umar Gul fields at backward point. For some reason, though, someone shouts for the throw to go to the keeper's end and Trott is able to scamper to the bowler's end and get off the mark. Could make a joke here about dodgy runs, but it's beneath me. (It isn't.) Pakistan just got overexcited there. Cool heads were needed, and there were none. A thick but safe outside edge from Prior brings three runs, with Trott quick enough and well enough to come back for the final run as Umar Gul does the fielding.
Over 30: Ajmal 0-0-0-0-0-0
56-5 - Ajmal bowls another maiden. This really is all rather horribly, unpleasantly Adelaidey for England.
Over 29: Rehman 0-0-1-0-4-W
56-5 - A run! An actual run! Prior sweeps hard into the legside for a single, and Strauss smacks a hard sweep shot to the square-leg boundary for four more. WICKET! But such giddy runscoring could only precipitate a wicket. Strauss falls to a marginal leg-before decision playing off the back foot. He reviews, but without much conviction. There are amber umpire's call lights for both the impact on the off stump and for the ball just clipping the leg bail. Taken in isolation, you could say Strauss is unlucky to be given out there. But after the ludicrous life he was given by Bowden before tea, he can't really be too upset. England now have no reviews left: could yet be crucial as well. Trott is the new batsman. He doesn't look thrilled to be out there.
Over 28: Ajmal 0-0-0-0-0-0
51-4 - Strauss fiddles his way through another maiden over. Basically, unless Ajmal bowls a wide long-hop or drifts right into the pads, he will concede no runs to Strauss and has every chance of getting him out. This is one of the most painful 28 not outs I've ever witnessed. Strangely admirable in its way.
Over 27: Rehman 0-0-0-0-0-0
51-4 - Rehman rips one past Prior's outside edge and then strangles an lbw shout as the batsman this time does manage to get the edge of the bat to the ball. Nerve-shredding stuff.
Over 26: Ajmal 0-0-0-0-0-0
51-4 - Strauss looking to defend chiefly on the back foot, and negotiates another over in which he only has to survive one huge appeal. It's for caught behind. The ball clipped his pad, not bat. Good decision.
Over 25: Rehman 0-0-1-2-0-4
51-4 - More like it. Strauss works to leg for a single before Prior fiddles to fine-leg for a couple of runs to take the target down to double figures. Prior celebrates this by slapping the last ball of the over to the cover boundary. England need, by hook or by crook, to find another 94 runs here.
"I am following in Vietnam...its evening here...about KP ...isnt it about time he was dropped...he may be wonderfully gifted but he cant score runs! what is his average now? and Morgan too ...great limited overs player but surely not a Test batsman.." says Phillip. I'm glad you brought up Pietersen's average. His 6378 Test runs have come at 49.06. He scored 175 two Tests ago. He can stay for a while yet, I think. You may, though, be right about Morgan. Not convinced about him as a Test batsman, I'm afraid.
Over 24: Ajmal 0-0-0-0-0-0
44-4 - Huge moral victory for England here, as Prior picks the doosra and defends it with the middle of his bat. Like throwing a shoe over a Slough office block, that's the real quiz. That's Blockbusters.
Over 23: Rehman 0-0-1-0-4-0
44-4 - Prior takes a pretty safe single to midwicket, but even that seems fraught with trouble as the fielder throws down the stumps from midwicket. He's well in, though. Strauss picks up four with another well-played cut shot. I'd put a man out there, to be honest. It looks to be his only realistic boundary option at the moment; might as well cut it off. England need 101 to win.
Bowden reports he didn't give Strauss out because there was "no clear evidence" that Ali had taken the catch. Needs to give his screen a bit of a wipe, I think.
"Is it just me or do we look like a team made up of Robin Smiths when it comes to facing a half decent spin bowler?" asks "very frustrated" Matt Hobbs. "Maybe we should try hypnotherapy when faced with a turning wicket as we just freeze."
"Squeaky bum time again," writes Matt - who also reports he is now out of gin. "This is why we love following England, an easy run chase wouldn't motivate them for the next match."
- 25th - 28th Jan 2012
- Abu Dhabi
- S J Davis and B N J Oxenford
england BATTING CARD
|Strauss||lbw b Rehman||32|
|Pietersen||lbw b Rehman||1|
|Prior||c Shafiq b Ajmal||18|
|Trott||lbw b Rehman||1|
|Swann||lbw b Ajmal||0|
|Anderson||c Gul b Rehman||1|
|Total||All out, 36.1 Overs||72|