Misbah-ul-Haq: 'Beating the No 1 team is a great effort'
Sunday 29 January 2012
The breathtaking inadequacy England displayed in chasing 145 runs to win this game should not detract from the unity and flair that brought victory to a resurgent Pakistan team.
After the spot-fixing scandal at Lord's in August 2010, Pakistan cricket was in pieces. The rebuilding job effected by their captain Misbah-ul-Haq, 37, has been astonishing.
Under his leadership, Pakistan have lost only one of 14 Tests, winning seven of their last nine. Opponents may have included Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies but their superiority against Test cricket's top-ranked team was there for all to see here yesterday.
Nineteen of the 20 England wickets fell to spin. Misbah knew that with Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman bowling in tandem, Pakistan would always have a chance to win the game.
"For any team playing against bowlers like Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman on this surface, it's difficult," said Misbah. "You have to play very well against them, and when you are not picking them or seeing which side the ball goes, it's really difficult.
"We were thinking that if we could just put pressure on England, we could make a match of it, so we just thought: 'Let's have a try.' The bowlers did very well and they won this for us. Even in these conditions, beating the No 1 Test team is a great effort.
"It was really difficult to play left-arm spin on this pitch. We saw when England bowled the way that Monty Panesar was spinning the ball and how it was skidding on. Some of the balls were turning and some were skidding on, so it was extremely hard for a batsman to guess what would happen."
Given what happened two summers ago, the matches have been played in a spirit of fairness and the mature, pragmatic Misbah must take substantial credit. Asked if this series victory would allow Pakistan finally to put behind them the Lord's scandal, Misbah said: "It should do. Let's just concentrate on what is happening now."
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal resurrects £35m move for midfielder
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace