Well Played Pakistan

I’m not going to come on here tonight and start writing about how bad England were as I don’t want to take anything away from Pakistan’s amazing result today.

I thought that Pakistan have been excellent in this test match and they thoroughly deserved their win. It wasn’t just the win that was impressive, but the manner of the performance as Pakistan comprehensively outplayed England.

I seen bits of the match and I listened to most of the rest of it on TMS. The thing that impressed me the most was the discipline and control of the Pakistan team, they are not words I would generally associate with a Pakistan cricket team.

They all seemed to be pulling in the same direction, they looked and sounded committed in the field, there was no stupid dropped catches and no reckless shots when batting. There was also no getting over excited and no erratic behaviour at all.

The team now seems to me to be more in the mould of the personalities of the impressive captain Misbah and the calm Younis Khan, as opposed to the recklessness of Shahid Afridi or the laziness of Inzy.

I have to say that this performance didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me (England’s batsmen did though) as I follow test cricket closely and have noticed how Pakistan have been steadily improving over the last 12-18 months.

Wicket keeper Adnan Akmal (the disciplined Akmal brother who can catch) did surprise me, he was outstanding. For me, he was my Man of the Match. He didn’t miss much behind the stumps (unlike Kamran) and he applied himself when batting (unlike Umar). I don’t think it would be too harsh to say that he looks the least talented of the three brothers, but by far the most effective performer of the three on this showing.

He dug in at a crucial stage on Day 2 when England were fighting back and then played brilliantly with the tail at the start of Day 3. His innings could really have been the straw that broke the English camels back, the extra 25-35 runs he got that he probably shouldn’t have been allowed to by England could have struck the mental blow that downed England’s batting in their 2nd innings.

Result aside, it was a bit of a disappointing test match, it was only really competitive on the 2nd day. That was a proper contest between England’s bowlers and Pakistan’s batsmen, the English bowlers must have wondered why they bothered busting a gut given the pathetic capitulation from most of the batsmen.

England’s batting was pretty poor, they could have been spooked by Saeed Ajmal, I don’t know. I certainly expected them to struggle against him, but he didn’t really have to weave any magic – apart from to Ian Bell – as England’s batting seemed to be petrified of him on Day 1.

Along with Ajmal, Umar Gul is a more than capable test match bowler (and a world class one day performer), but this attack wasn’t exactly Wasim and Waqar in their prime, there was no Shoaib Akhtar steaming in. There was no reason at all to suggest it would take care of England’s batting in the manner it did, so why did it?

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