England crash to series defeat

January 28, 2012
Strauss

by Paddy Briggs

Second Test, Abu Dhabi
Day 4: Pakistan (257 & 214) beat England (327 & 72) by 72 runs

Pakistan humiliated England in what was a crazy day’s Test cricket, as England were dismissed for just 72 runs handing Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 series lead in Abu Dhabi.

After bowling out Pakistan for 214 in their second innings, England required just 145 in order to level the series 1-1. Monty Panesar looked to have delivered the match winning spell, as he claimed 6-62 from 38.2 overs. The Sussex spinner bowled with control, and always looked threatening, and fully justified England’s selection of two spinners.

England began their chase for victory just after lunch, and it was expected a comfortable victory would be achieved just before the close. However, Pakistan had other ideas. It was a trial of spin for England as Pakistan even opened the bowling with Mohammad Hafeez.

Saeed Ajmal was expected to be the only threat today as England are still struggling to come to terms with his variation. Ajmal bowled well claiming 3-22, but the surprising hero for the home side was orthodox spinner Abdur Rehman. The slow left-armer produced career best figures of 6-25 from just 10.1 overs.

England looked all at sea on a wicket that was offering assistance to the spinners, but certainly no exaggerated spin. Andrew Strauss (32), and Matt Prior (18) were the only England batsmen to get into double figures in a pathetic display of batting.

Pakistan bowled exceptionally well but England never showed any positive intent. Strauss and Cook set the tone as they allowed Pakistan’s spinners to settle in, as the scoring rate was never much more than one an over. No England batsman used their feet to get to the pitch of the ball, which allowed the home side to gain 4 lbw’s.

Andrew Strauss admitted after the game that this was the lowest moment he had suffered as Test captain, and this will be a hard defeat to recover from. Despite being the number one side in the world England have yet to prove themselves on the sub-continent, and have been exposed time and again by the turning ball.

With only one Test match remaining England can only salvage pride in what has been a catastrophic Test series for the visitors.

The Scoop 28/01/2012

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