Pakistan spinners daze England on day 5


Following 2-0 Test series win in UAE, Pakistan moved to No. 2 spot in ICC Test ranking
Pakistan spinners daze England on day 5, England slipped to No. 6

Pakistan’s resounding 127-run win against England at Sharjah serves a statement about their resurgence, when there is no Test cricket back at home, since past 7 years.

In the sweltering heat, Pakistan’s surge was too powerful for the visiting team to contain, as they flounce through the third Test at Sharjah to win the series 2-0. After England fought hard with skipper Alistair Cook leading from the front. Pakistan came back hard in the series after winning the second and third Test at Dubai and Sharjah respectively thanks to some great spin bowling in this series from both sides.

Resurgent Pakistan has moved up to number 2 spot in the ICC’s Test ranking, after leapfrogging Australia and England slipped to sixth in the world Test rankings. The three match hard-fought Test series was dominated by spinners, who had a trick in bag, after bowlers leaked runs in 1st Test at Abu Dhabi.

The resilient Pakistan sit pretty at second spot with 106 points, behind South Africa at 125, while Australia have now slipped to No 3 even sharing the same number of points Pakistan have.

While chasing down the target of 284, England team was skittled for 156, when on day 5 England lost their four wickets for just 11 runs in the first half hour of play. Alastair Cook was the only English batsman to offer some resistance. Cook fall as ninth wicket when he was stumped for 63, on the bowling of Shoaib Malik, who had announced his test cricket retirement claimed 7 wickets in this Test match which includes his best test career figures of 4-33.

With spinners running riot at both ends, from No. 3 to No. 7, England batters could score just eight runs. This was the joint lowest in history for an England team going back to a Test against Australia in 1887 at Sydney, the statisticians had discovered.

After their straight 7th win in Tests at UAE against England, in the last three series, comprising of nine Tests had marked the clean sweep of the series at second home. Pakistan bunch is extremely proud of this performance away from home against the compact English side.

“It is a learning curve and really hard place to come and play against such side which is having wonderful record. As a team we are lucky to have Stuart Broad and Jimmy (Anderson), but losing Ben Stokes early in the game hurt us badly,” Alistair Cook said while thanking the English crowd at the stadium.

“Well being unfit for the first Test, I am very excited to perform like this straightaway. I am very thankful to Waqar Younis (Viki), and Mushtaq Ahmed who helped me in the nets, to keep things simple. Yes, with Shane Warne I had a very interesting session. Rightly, what I thought I could use I applied. And I am working on the things he had expressed,” Yasir Shah, said in a post-match presentation.

“Shoaib Malik is good to contribute in such conditions. We wish him luck for the future and thank him for providing us such wonderful support to clinch the series 2-0. It was a team effort, all chipped in. Yasir and Zulfiqar bowled beautifully and so as, the fast bowlers. The credit goes to boys who did very well in this series. The next series is due in seven months, so I have a time to decide about my future. Well I will give it a thought,” when Ramiz Raja asked Misbah Ul Haq about his retirement plan.

Yasir Shah was declared Man of the Series for taking 15 wickets in the two Tests that he played after struggling from his back pain and was ruled out for the first test at Abu Dhabi. Mohammad Hafeez, who came with all guns blazing steadied Pakistan ship, on day four, was adjudged Man of the Match for his magnificent 151 in the second innings to see his team home.

The highest ever total at Sharjah is 690/10 by Kiwis against Pakistan, and lowest 53 by Pakistan against the same opponent. The highest target chased is 302/5 by Pakistan against Sri Lanka and lowest equally was defended by Pakistan is 341 against West Indies.

The fact is England have not claimed a wicket in 38 Tests, with a stumping since November 2012, when England was playing against India at Mumbai. The stat appeared when Jhony Bairstow had missed the stumping chance of Mohammad Hafeez, who went on pounding English bowling department.