Unable to differentiate "offspin" from "doosra"? understandable, but how can an international team, the so called best in test according to ICC, consistently not judge the length of deliveries from a certain bowler? Naturally, either talent or homework was missing. England lost 20 wickets inside 130 overs in this 1st test and were bowled out for less than 200 both times as none of their batsmen showed willingness or the skill to read Saeed Ajmal, out of the hand or in the air. Ajmal foxed 10 Englishmen on a Dubai sports city pitch that didn't offer nothing to no-one and walked away with man of the match..
Forget the old fashioned slog sweeps or lofted straight drives that foreign teams have employed so successfully on sub-continent tours over the years, England batsmen didn't even change their guards or looked for singles to expose traditionally poor Pakistani fielding, losing at the closing hours of third day.
There's no reason to press the panic button as yet, said captain Andrew Strauss whose team suffered it's first defeat in 11 tests in last 14 months but now it's no secret that England batsmen struggle against quality spinners. They were whitewashed in India recently too. Unless team director Andy Flower and batting coach Graham Gooch, who both were brilliant players of spin bowling, find a quick-fix, year 2012 may be as bad as good was 2011, with tours of Sri Lanka and India coming up after this Pakistan series in Middle East. here's how the story unfolded in this entertaining test match :-
The scoresEngland 192 allout & 160 allout.
Pakistan 338 allout & 15 for no wkt.
Saeed Ajmal 10/97, Abdur Rehman 4/94.
Full scorecard : 1st test, Dubai, 2012.
It was a good toss to win for Andrew Strauss who forms the best opening combination going around today with Alastair Cook, hoping to negotiate new ball confidently and give team a good head start into the series but his counterpart, Misbah-ul-Haq, threw a master-stroke by bowling 6th over of the morning with offie Mohammad Hafeez and breakthrough was made off the 3rd delivery. Jonathan Trott and Strauss played out Umar Gul easily from other end but Aizaz Cheema lured former into a drive away from body and soon Ajmal magic started to evolve. First Strauss bowled trying to cut a delivery that wasn't short enough and then Ian Bell's golden duck, followed by Kevin Pietersen's leg before wicket.. England slipped to 5 for 43 before Eoin Morgan joined Matt Prior.
Wicket keeper and Southpaw managed Ajmal and Rehman on either side of the lunch break but as soon as this stand was broken, English had conceded the initiative and despite Prior's fighting unbeaten half century, visitors were bowled out for 192, an hour before the close of play.
Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar blocked out 15 overs on day 1 and then began confidenly on day 2, stretching their stand to 114, just 78 runs in deficit. This was when England started to fight back, through their bowlers who pegged down Pakistani batsmen in second and third session, taking 7 wickets for 288 runs by the time stumps were drawn.
Adnan Akmal, the tiny wicket keeper unbeaten overnight, re-installed faith into Pakistan team with a gritty half century, pushing lead to 146.
English technical team must have worked sleeplessly in last 24 hours to find ways for their batsmen to play out Saeed Ajmal in second innings but there can another master-stroke from Pakistani side - Umar Gul. The seamer who was having an invisble test match untill he got lucky to dismiss Strauss and Cook caught down the leg side and then bowled his heart out, eating up Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen in no time. Saeed Ajmal came and got his 3 wickets to complete 10 wicket haul while left arm spinner Abdur Rehman separated Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann after a 48 run stand.
Swann made sure England didn't lose by innings margin.
Saeed Ajmaltook his best test figures of 7/55, bettering his performance from 6 for 42 against West Indies at Providence back in May 2011. This was Ajmal's 5th five wicket haul and second against England after he took 5/82 at Edgbaston in August 2010. Ajmal also completed career's second 10 wickets haul.
Jonathan Trottcompleted 2000 runs in test cricket, becoming 81st England player to do so, and 4th fastest, reaching the mark in his 40th innings, behind Herbert Sutcliffe in 33 innings, Denis Compton in 37 innings and Wally Hammond in 39 innings. Overall, Trott is joint 17th fastest. Mishab-ul-Haq also reached 2k test runs.