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Champs to chumps in three sorry days

England 192 & 160 Pakistan 338 & 15-0 (Pakistan won by 10 wickets): World's No 1 Test side have failings exposed in 10-wicket defeat by revitalised Pakistan
  • @stephenbrenkley

On balance, England did not play as well as they might have done in the first Test. In deference to their status it is important to avoid reckless criticism. So being as fair and courteous as due respect requires, their batsmen were utterly hopeless.

The sequence of poor shot selection was breathtaking, the manner in which they allowed the Pakistan bowlers to expose their methods and erode their souls was astonishing. The failure to cope with their opponents' spinners, or eventually, their leading fast bowler, was inexplicable.

The lack of application in both innings on a pitch that demanded it in spades was an abrogation of professional duty. Apart from those shortcomings, they looked exactly like the best team in the world. They deserved to be defeated by 10 wickets on the third day of a match that was confidently expected to go the distance. Much had been reported about Pakistan's road to redemption before this series began. Not only squeaky clean again, they were also a renewed force as cricketers. But then their opposition had been pretty timid. This would be a true examination of their credentials. It is looking good so far.

England were well aware that this series in unfamiliar surroundings would be arduous and would need incessant concentration and attention to detail at the crease. Whether through fear of the unknown or a simple inability to meet the requirements of alien conditions, they flopped. In the litany of disaster that followed after England eventually bowled out Pakistan for 338 yesterday, it is difficult to single out any one of the vaunted top six for particular blame. Almost all of them were careless, slipshod or incompetent. Four of the top five made 39 runs between them over the two innings.

However, Kevin Pietersen's top-edged hook shot against a short ball from Umar Gul, the eighth he had faced, would be fairly high on the charge sheet. To be out in such a manner on this pitch with the side already up against it at 25 for 2, and before you had scored, defied reason and as he strode off Pietersen knew it. But there is plenty of room on the indictment for others. England needed 146 to make Pakistan bat again when they started their second innings. It took rather longer than they might have wanted, an extra 49 runs being added by the last three wickets in the first hour of the day but now was the time for England to show their calibre.

Trouble loomed early when their captain Andrew Strauss departed to a contentious catch behind. Given out by umpire Billy Bowden for an alleged faint touch down the leg side against Gul, he asked for a review. The replays showed that maybe he did and maybe he didn't but in cases where it is inconclusive the umpire's decision has to be upheld. In fairness to Strauss, he probably did not hit it, but equally he might have left well alone. Cook, the form man before this match, appeared to learn precisely nothing from this dismissal. There was to be no review after he helped round another short ball from Gul to Adnan Akmal.

For reasons unknown, England have been badly affected by so-called leg side strangles from the start of this tour. They are throttling themselves. Pietersen's gross error of judgement was followed by another by Ian Bell.

Before this Test, there was a solid case for Bell being considered the best batsman in the world, whatever the rankings say. But for the second time in three days he was fooled by Saeed Ajmal's doosra playing down Bakerloo when the ball was on Jubilee. His request for a review was daft.

There followed a minor recovery, if that is not a complete misnomer in the context of this calamity, as Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan played with some style, freedom and determination. It lasted until the 34th over of the innings when Morgan was undone by a straight ball from the left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman.

The number of batsmen who were brought down by balls that have not turned in this match is extremely worrying for the rest of the series. When it starts to turn, England could be in real bother. Trott played well for his 49 but his downfall made him quite as culpable as his pals back in the dressing room. By now Gul was reverse swinging the ball but that had nothing to do with the excruciating way in which he went after a short, wide ball and slashed it behind.

Matt Prior, first-innings hero, was lbw to a ball from Ajmal that actually turned a fraction and kept fatally low. What followed was some jauntiness in the afternoon sunshine, utterly meaningless in terms of the performance or the outcome. Stuart Broad hung around a while but was caught at long on, Chris Tremlett put Rehman on a hat-trick, Graeme Swann was the last man out, poking Ajmal to cover.

It was Ajmal's 10th wicket, making him the third Pakistan bowler to take 10 wickets against England in a Test. Swann made 39, exactly the number of runs that Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and Bell made together in both innings.

Pakistan added 50 precious runs in the morning after England took an early wicket but were kept waiting for the final two. It offered them insurance. It was a premium they barely needed to pay.

Dubai scoreboard

Third day: Pakistan beat England by 10 wickets; England won toss

England: First Innings 192 (Prior 70no, Ajmal 7-55)

Pakistan: First Innings Overnight 288-7 (Hafeez 88, Umar 58, Misbah-ul-Haq 52)

†Adnan Akmal st Prior b Swann 61, 129 balls, 8 fours

Umar Gul c Morgan b Broad 0, 8 balls

Saeed Ajmal c Cook b Swann 12, 22 balls 1 fours

Aizaz Cheema not out 0, 0 balls

Extras (b2 lb5 nb2) 9

Total (119.5 overs) 338

Fall 1-114, 2-128, 3-176, 4-202, 5-231, 6-283, 7-288, 8-289, 9-319.

Bowling J M Anderson: 30-7-71-2, (5-1-16-0, 5-1-19-0, 1-0-2-0, 6-2-12-0, 6-3-7-1, 7-0-15-1), C T Tremlett: 21-6-53-0 (1nb), (3-0-13-0, 5-1-16-0, 4-2-5-0, 2-0-2-0, 2-1-6-0, 4-2-6-0, 1-0-5-0), S C J Broad: 31-8-84-3 (1nb), (9-3-22-0, 7-2-21-2, 3-1-8-0, 2-1-9-0, 5-0-12-0, 5-2-12-1), G P Swann: 29.5-3-107-4, (3-1-9-0, 8-1-27-0, 10-0-32-1, 2-0-5-0, 4-1-16-1, 2.5-0-18-2), I J L Trott: 8-2-16-1, (7-1-16-1, 1-1-0-0).

England: Second Innings

*A J Strauss c Akmal b Gul 6, 16 balls

A N Cook c Akmal b Gul 5, 41 balls

I J L Trott c Akmal b Gul 49, 111 balls 6 fours

K P Pietersen c Rehman b Gul 0, 8 balls

I R Bell lbw b Ajmal 4, 15 balls 1 fours

E J G Morgan c Akmal b Rehman 14, 39 balls 2 fours

†M J Prior lbw b Ajmal 4, 17 balls

S C J Broad c Shafiq b Rehman 17, 27 balls 1 fours

G P Swann c Shafiq b Ajmal 39, 52 balls 1 sixes 5 fours

C T Tremlett c Hafeez b Rehman 0, 1 balls

J M Anderson not out 15, 22 balls 1 sixes

Extras (b4 lb1 nb2) 7

Total (57.5 overs) 160

Fall 1-6, 2-25, 3-25, 4-35, 5-74, 6-87, 7-87, 8-135, 9-135.

Bowling Umar Gul: 19-5-63-4 (2nb), (9-5-20-3, 7-0-30-1, 3-0-13-0), Aizaz Cheema: 7.2-1-9-0, (2-1-3-0, 2.2-0-2-0, 3-0-4-0), Saeed Ajmal: 17.3-5-42-3, (1-0-0-0, 1.4--1-1-0, 6-1-14-1, 6-2-15-1, 2.5-012-1), Abdur Rehman: 12-2-37-3, (11-2-30-1, 1-0-7-2), Mohammad Hafeez: 2-0-4-0, (1-0-2-0, 1-0-2-0).

Pakistan: Second Innings

Mohammad Hafeez not out 15, 16 balls 3 fours

Taufeeq Umar not out 0, 6 balls

Extras 0

Total (for 0, 3.4 overs) 15

Did not bat Azhar Ali, Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, †Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema.

Bowling J M Anderson: 2-1-7-0 (one spell), S C J Broad: 1.4-1-8-0 (one spell).

Progress Day Three: Pakistan: 300 in 109.2 overs, Akmal 50 off 117 balls (6 fours), Pakistan 338 all out in 119.5 overs. England: Lunch: 16-1 in 8 overs (Cook 2, Trott 8), 50 in 25.5 overs, Tea: 75-5 in 35 overs (Trott 42, Prior 0), 100 in 45.4 overs, 150 in 56.5 overs, England 160 all out in 57.5 overs. Pakistan 15-0 in 3.4 overs.

Umpires B F Bowden (NZ) & B N J Oxenford (Australia).

Third umpire S J Davis (Aus).

Match referee J Srinath (India)