Tell us what you think of the new cricket section at whatdoyouthink@bskyb.com

Don't show again

Day 4 of 5
Pakistan won by 71 runs.

Pakistan vs England

Pakistan seal series sweep

England bowled out for 252 in pursuit of 324 in final Test

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal took his series tally to 24

Pakistan seamer Umar Gul claimed figures of 4-61

Pakistan completed a 3-0 whitewash of world number one side England with a 71-run win on day four of the final Test in Dubai.

Chasing 324 for victory, England went from 36-0 at the start of the day to 252 all out in the evening session.

Opener Alastair Cook hit 49 and all of the misfiring middle order made starts, but wickets fell regularly and the result never seemed in much doubt.

Matt Prior provided some late resistance but was left stranded on 49 as Pakistan completed victory with a day to spare.

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up 4-67, taking his series tally to 24, and seam bowler Umar Gul finished with 4-61.

Familiar faults

England's shortcomings, with bat but not ball, have been all too evident over the past three weeks - and it is a measure of their fallibility that they should contrive to lose this last Test after having Pakistan 44-7 on the first morning.

So often in this series, England's out-of-form batsmen have simply been unable to establish themselves at the crease in these alien climes against Pakistan spinners Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

The final act was merely a variation on that theme, almost everyone coming through the 'danger period' England identified at the start of each batsman's innings only to then get out in pairs just when it seemed the habitual trend of failure might conceivably be bucked.

The afternoon wickets of Kevin Pietersen, Cook, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan followed those of Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott this morning.

Ajmal was the chief tormentor of England's top order, bowling in tandem for much of the second session with Rehman - who was unchanged for 30 overs.

Gul then accelerated England's descent to defeat. But it was the slow left-armer who struck the first blow when Strauss, who had already survived a straightforward caught-behind chance off Gul, went without addition lbw on the back foot.

Trott then fell shortly before lunch, sweeping Ajmal straight to deep backward-square.

Cook's luck was in during an ultra-patient 187-ball 49 which took more than four hours.

But England needed much more than a touch of good fortune if their out-of form batsmen were to achieve even qualified redemption on this fair pitch.

Cook passed a notable personal milestone when, with his 22nd run, he became the second-youngest batsman in cricket history to reach 6,000 in Tests.

He ought to have gone last night, dropped at third slip off Gul on just four, and this morning was put down on 31 by Gul himself after mis-sweeping Rehman into the leg-side deep.

He was also the batsman on strike when Pakistan squandered their final DRS option, Ajmal reviewing an lbw for an off-break that pitched outside leg-stump.

England had one precious review still available, after Strauss used up the first one to no avail. But it was to be no use to any of their frontline batsmen.

Pietersen hinted at much better when he went up the wicket to Rehman and hit him for a straight four and then six in the same over - shots that raised stoic England's scoring rate to almost two runs an over.

Scourge

But Ajmal, scourge of the tourists with his doosras in the first Test here, out-thought both Pietersen and Cook with conventional off-breaks this time.

He bowled Pietersen between bat and pad, on the front-foot defence, from round the wicket - and then had Cook, trying to push his 50th run to leg, very well-caught at slip by a diving Younus Khan.

Bell and Morgan appeared to tame the spinners with the old ball, only to fall in quick succession when Misbah-ul-Haq turned back to Gul's pace.

It was a lack of that which did for Bell, embarrassingly mistiming a cut for a simple catch at cover - and then Gul produced a fine delivery to find Morgan's edge for a caught-behind on the back foot.

England had lost two big wickets for just three runs for the second time in the innings, a statistic they could ill afford if they were to get anywhere near such a tough target.

All but the most fanciful hopes of that were gone by tea - and although Prior and the tail tried to salvage some pride with a counter-attack, it was little more than a token effort from a team who may not now still be top of that Test table when the annual awards are handed out at the start of April.

Match Details

Date
3rd - 6th Feb 2012
Toss
Venue
Dubai International Stadium
Umpires
S J Davis and S J A Taufel

england BATTING CARD

Batsman R
Strauss lbw b Rehman 26
Cook c Khan b Ajmal 49
Trott c Rehman b Ajmal 18
Pietersen b Ajmal 18
Bell c Shafiq b Gul 10
Morgan c Adnan Akmal b Gul 31
Prior not out 49
Broad c Umar b Gul 18
Swann c Shafiq b Gul 1
Anderson c Khan b Ajmal 9
Panesar lbw b Rehman 8
Extras 3nb, 4b, 8lb 15
Total All out, 97.3 Overs 252
Full Batting Card

pakistan BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
Gul 20 5 61 4
Aizaz Cheema 4 0 9 0
Hafeez 5 2 6 0
Rehman 41.3 10 97 2
Ajmal 27 9 67 4
Full Bowling Card