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Pakistan complete series whitewash


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The sunny disposition of Saeed Ajmal and the stiff-limbed tenacity of Abdur Rehman have tormented England throughout this Test series and there was the slimmest likelihood of escape at tea on the fourth day of the final Test in Dubai as Pakistan sought to inflict a whitewash upon England for the first time.

There was plentiful spin for Pakistan's spinners, leaping spin at times when the ball struck the rough, and England, still 151 runs short of victory with only four wickets remaining, looked bound for a 3-0 defeat in the series.

Ajmal, spinning the ball both ways, not extravagantly but often, dismissed Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook in the afternoon session, to add to Jonathan Trott before lunch. Rehman counted Andrew Strauss as his sole success as he bowled unchanged for two sessions, 30 overs sent down with unerring accuracy. He is the sort of spin bowler who looks slightly weary from the outset, but never noticeably tires after that.

Pietersen was bent upon playing enterprisingly. The first ball of the afternoon provided a reminder of his vulnerability when a bat-pad against Rehman flew high past short leg, but he had the fleeting satisfaction of striking him straight for six before Ajmal, from around the wicket, spun one through the gate and beamed at further bounty.

Cook put up statuesque resistance. Along the way he became the second youngest person, at 27 years and 43 days, to reach 6,000 Test runs. Only Sachin Tendulkar has reached the landmark at a younger age. His most attacking shot of the morning, a loft into the leg side against Rehman, caused the bowler to taunt him with applause. He lived on scraps, combating the turning ball with thoughtful defence and numerous works to the leg side and that proved his undoing as a leading edge was brilliantly held by Younis Khan, diving to his left at first slip.

The emphasis has been upon spin, but Umar Gul reminded England that the quicker bowlers should not be entirely discounted as he got the old ball to reverse swing as much as at any time in the series. Ian Bell's state of mind is such that a long hop is quite enough. He averaged more than 100 last summer, less than 10 in this series, and when Gul offered up a gift he mistimed it wide of point. The ball that dismissed Eoin Morgan, caught by the wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, who embarked upon a merry dance, was of higher quality.

England, 36 runs banked the previous evening, needed a further 288 at the start of play. Strauss fell in the sixth over of the morning, lbw on the back foot to Rehman. That was lbw No. 42 in this three-Test series, one short of the all-time record for a series of any length. Strauss reviewed it, although it smacked of a captain's review and he would have been better to head smartly for the dressing room. But when it comes to captain's reviews Strauss cannot match Misbah-ul-Haq. Misbah has been lbw on five occasions in this series and he has taken a review every time. It must be a captain's prerogative.

Without lapses in the field, Pakistan could have been in a stronger position. They had dropped Cook the previous evening, a relatively simple chance to Taufeeq Umar at third slip and Gul's drop in the shadows of the stand at deep square gave him another reprieve as Pakistan lost the efficiency that has characterised their cricket throughout this series. Rehman made his frustration clear when he caught Trott at deep square as he flung the ball into the turf with feeling at the errors that had gone before.

Adnan's fumble behind the stumps to reprieve Strauss, although not costly as the England captain was out in the next over, was the worst miss of all. Adnan has had a good series behind the stumps and has the opportunity to be Pakistan's first-choice keeper for many years to come but his excitable chatter had reached a peak. As Pakistan press for victory, it is in danger of becoming counterproductive. Strauss' edge flew to him at comfortable height but he put it down. For a few minutes he was quiet and you could hear your ears ringing.

Adnan's cacophony of cries often rent the air for inexplicable reasons. As do parrots, Adnan vocalises for many reasons. He may be excitedly greeting the day or summoning his family at sunset. He may be screeching when he is excited or when he is merely trying it on. He may screech when he thinks things have got too quiet or when he thinks it is his duty to scream. He just likes screeching. At one point he burst out coughing as if in sore need of a lozenge and Trott looked at him in deadpan fashion.

Adnan is also incorrigibly optimistic about reviewing umpiring decisions. "Do it, do it, yes, yes, all good," you can sense him saying. Misbah has learned not to take his evidence into consideration and looks askance at him. But Pakistan challenged umpire Steve Davis' not-out ruling when Ajmal beat Cook on the sweep. Hawk-Eye showed that the ball pitched outside leg. There again, disturbingly, it seems that Hawk-Eye also cannot read Ajmal's doosra, probably because it is English.

End of match: So the No.1 syndrome bites England, after it hit India. After the highs of 4-0 in the summer, it's now 0-3. Clearly blown away by Pakistan's supremacy in their adopted home. Team Misbah is the one everyone would want to beat. After the Summer of Shame in 2010, Pakistan have performed remarkably under a captain, who all but wrote off his career a couple of years ago. He even talked about burning his kit. It's never too late, even if you're on the wrong side of 30.

Ian Botham was mentioning that England needn't panic about their Test side. They failed collectively and even if you sack this lot, is there a capable enough reserve bunch to turn things around? I don't think so. Just needs patience and skill.

This is the second time in the last 100 years that a team has won a Test after being bowled out for less than 100.

Feels like the 90s again. India are lambs abroad, and England can't play spin in Asia.

Cricinfo

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Booo. Boooo.

Although well done to Pakistan. We deserved to lose. Maybe not by a white wash but we spent too much time talking up how great it was to be the number one test team and not enough time playing cricket. Should have had more warm up matches.

Nice to see Monty back though.

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What cheaters?

Sorry but they were at it all the time with various things (ball tampering, spot fixing etc...) but every time anyone made any accusations the PCB would cry racism.

Tried the same thing when the 3 guys were caught in the sting by the NoTW recently. I forget his name but the PCB chief at the time tried the racism angle again, didn't work. Then he moved on to saying that England were cheats as well and he had evidence. Never seemed to materialise. Eventually it was revealed to be such a stonewall case that the PCB had to accept it.

I'm just glad the series ended without any controversy. I've never understood why the Pakistan team needs/wants to cheat so much.

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I find it slightly amusing how England were talking about being the Man Utd of cricket and staying number one for a while and now they could lose it after just one series (SA would need to beat NZ 3-0). All those things that were said about India regarding not being a proper number one team until they win in seaming conditions (and rightfully so), well we can say the same about England and spinning wickets.

England have a tough year coming up touring Sri Lanka and then India.

What cheaters?

I'm not taking anything away from him - i've thought he's been a very good bowler for a while, but Ajmal does chuck his doosra.

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I find it slightly amusing how England were talking about being the Man Utd of cricket and staying number one for a while and now they could lose it after just one series (SA would need to beat NZ 3-0). All those things that were said about India regarding not being a proper number one team until they win in seaming conditions (and rightfully so), well we can say the same about England and spinning wickets.

England have a tough year coming up touring Sri Lanka and then India.

I'm not taking anything away from him - i've thought he's been a very good bowler for a while, but Ajmal does chuck his doosra.

i don't know about india but our team sucks big time man :(

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In Test cricket too, they have some great players

Yes..both SL and IND have great player..but both have been playing some very bad cricket [overseas test cricket] in the last few months.

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Seriously? Didn't they come second in the last world cup?

yeah . after WC SL went downhill fast

this is what happens when politics mix with sports

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can i add that Indian media is putting too much pressure on the indian team now they have won the worldcup?

I am really happy with how our country and media is backing our players and it really gives confidence to the players and it shows in their performance.

We blew them away. Thanks to my favorite bowlers right now.

We might soon have Amir back. Lets see how the ODIs play out. Im hoping our team practises some batting :p

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