Cricket: England vs Pakistan, 2015

The end of the first day of the first of two Test matches in UAE.

Pakistan got what they wanted - they won the toss and have batted their way to a position of authority in the game. England didn’t help themselves - they seemed to bowl well most of the day from what I saw, although Rashid was targetted by the batsmen and went for a few. Unfortunately, Ian Bell dropped a couple of easy catches, and Broad took a wicket with a no-ball.

I don’t know what to say about Bell, but I think his place in the team has to be under scrutiny. I’d love to have him in the side playing well - he’s the most experienced of our batsmen, and we need that kind of experience in what is a young batting lineup. But far from providing a solid, patient rock for the younger players to look up to and model themselves on, it seems too often that he’s the one who’s struggling, and there’s batsmen waiting their turn.

Younis Khan overtook Javed Miandad and Inzamam as Pakistan’s highest scorer in tests during his cameo. Jimmy Anderson overtook Wasim Akram as the 10th highest test wicket taker, frankly niether can hold a candle up to the people whose record they overtook.

As it is, I fear for our attack. No Yasir Shah means that we are really toothless in that department. (Why Irfan was not selected), I’ll never know Better not be those damn always injured buttocks of his).

The batfest continued today. Tomorrow we find out if Pakistan have brought enough bowling. The last couple of times they’ve scored over 500 on this ground (against Australia and New Zealand), they’ve gone on to bowl the opposition out for under 300 and go on to win the game.

Wasim was miles better than Jimmy was on his best day. Miles. This is a victory for Jimmy staying fit and bowling more overs per year than anyone else over the last 5 years, with most of the games in England being on pitches prepared to suit his skills.

I think you over-rate the past though with respect to Miandad. He got to play at home, in an era of host country umpires who would never give him out lbw in Pakistan, against a poorer standard of fielder than modern players and consequently his home/away split in his average is 61.38/45.80. Younis has a higher average than Miandad, now never plays Tests in Pakistan, plays with neutral umpires and against better quality fielders and his home/away/neutral split is 59.31/51.95/54.41. I’d take Younis every time and twice on Sundays. More consistent in a more difficult environment and got his runs in fewer Tests than it took Miandad. He also had to play against Warne and Murali, as well as several fast bowlers who would give anyone on Miandad’s opponents list a run for their money.

Inzamam - similarly not great away from home “only” averaged 45. And was always a threat to get run out. My view is Younis is better than him too.

England have to have a good day tomorrow with the bat - however, we’re carrying an opener who has just bowled himself into the ground and who probably isn’t an opener anyway, Bell and Buttler who have no form, Bairstow, on whom the jury is still out at Test level and Stokes who couldn’t play a patient innings to save his life. Essentially Cook and Root have to score big because it likely won’t happen elsewhere. England have only scored north of 500 away from home once in the last 3 or 4 years (in Kolkata at the end of 2012) - I don’t see it happening here either, given the form of the players involved. If they’re only 4 or 5 down at stumps tomorrow though, they’ll have a chance of the draw.

It’s a damn road the pitch. Unless England collapse tomorrow, I see a draw. Can’t wait until the US withdraw from AStan is compelete, when we play at home, we can again have sporting pitches, ones where you cant see your own reflection. I mean they could have at least hosed it down to give the bowlers some chance.

Inzi really took off after 2000, he basically flattered in his first few years. I do agree Younis is really underrated.

Well, mini-collapse by England at the end with Bell giving away his wicket (boredom?) and the nightwatchman Wood following soon after, but at only 4 down it would have to be a collapse of Australian proportions (how good it feels to say that!) for England to lose from here. Given their recent record of crumbling in the face of a big first-innings score regardless of pitch conditions, I don’t mind that too much.

England are only 3 down.

What a crap wicket. It’s not even exciting to watch the batsmen play on it.

Watching Ian Bell on this wicket was the only interesting thing that happened today. A man manifestly out of form (there’s talk up here that his eyes might be going) looking at a flat wicket, with no turn in it, like it were a Escher painting and the introduction of a ball to the scene creating huge confusion as to where it might go and where it might not. Until he got into double figures, he reminded me that, when he’s on form, he plays beautiful cricket but when he’s not on form, he plays terrible, ugly cricket. Somehow he hung in there and did a reasonable job of both batting time and getting a few runs. He was knackered when he got out. I don’t think he’s turned a corner - this is not really the pitch to find out either - but it was a curiously admirable knock from a player I have, on occasion, slated on these pages.

Cook, meanwhile, should be thinking about getting 300. He will have few better opportunities than this.

This pitch is risible - and should get the sort of censure Trent Bridge got for the crap pitch that was prepared there in 2014.

This reminds me of the pitches in the bad old days (and still in India). It was afterthe famous Faisalabad test (when Lillee said he should be buried under that pitch) when they started improving by getting soil experts to help in the prep (and they got it wrong at times), the fact that we had developed a few fast bowlers was of course, coincidence. I am sure the pitch has nothing to do with Yasir Shah;s injury.

There needs to be an ICC panel of groundsmen as well.


We should go back out and bat tomorrow. If, and I stress this is a big if now that Pakistan are into our tail, England can hang in until lunch and make Pakistan spend even more time in the field, one would imagine they might be quite tired when the next Test starts in Dubai. If we’re lucky with the toss there and bat (and crucially bat well), we could keep Pakistan in the field for quite a long time, which might help out with trying to force a result.

Mind you, a pitch with some life in it in Dubai would be a good start for all concerned.

What an awful wicket.

Well played to Cook (and to Malik in the first innings as well), but god it was dull to follow.

I expect that the last two English wickets will fall quickly tomorrow, as attempting to score runs on this pitch gets you out, and then Pakistan will bat turgidly until after tea, because if you’re not trying to score runs you’re pretty much safe from getting out, and then hopefully they’ll shake hands and forget this terrible, terrible test match ever happened.

I seem to recall some previous complaints in the media about how the recent England tests were barely going 3 days.


I’d rather have groundsmen do their best to give us “result” pitches and run risk of an aberration now and again than have…this!

A competition between bat and ball is what we want and this is very far from ideal.
Though it is a little comforting to realise that we are not now surprised when England are batting deep and batting well, we would have been less sure of that a scant 8 months ago.

I think the problem with the Tests not going 3 days wasn’t to do with the pitches. It was to do with Australia and, to a certain extent, England failing to deal with a ball that moved even slightly. I think it’s right to complain that Tests aren’t going 3 days due to incompetence from the batsmen. We’re not ones to dole out advice on pitch preparation in England (Trent Bridge 2014 as alluded to above) but the groundsmen got it rightish up here in the summer, I think. Only Lords was sort of dead and England then proceeded to bat like dicks on it.

Still, I agree that I’d rather that than 5 days of no ball movement and limited chances. This has been utterly inert.

I wonder how different this game might have turned out if every chance had been taken. Bell dropped 193 runs worth by himself. Cook was put down a couple of times too.

And that’s my main concern. A pitch that is a bit lifeless or one that is far too lively can easily result when trying to produce an even contest. This one has clearly been created with one outcome in mind. A numbing flat-track like this doesn’t happen by accident.

I suspect that had all catches been taken England would still have their noses in front and have more time to try and force a win. I think their batting has been better overall.
Mind you, only two wickets this morning and unless some reverse magically appears or the footmarks become minefields and Rashid turns out to be the chosen one, we could still have Pakistan comfortably see out the day.

If that is the case then no matter how many missed chances get taken it seems unlikely that a result could have been forced.

Predictable. Batting collapse on a easy wicket. England might win this. They deserve to.

Can I just do a “1984” and state that I think a result was always possible on that pitch and what’s more, I have always held that view. My previous post stating the opposite never actually happened.

Well done England for having a go at it. It was always going to be tough against the fading light. 99 runs in an hour is 20:20 scoring and that was always going to be a big ask.

And I’m very pleased for Rashid. He had a thankless task in the first innings and showed immense character to come back and get a 5-fer.

So, Solid England batting and an attack that demands some respect. We might just nick this series.

With this characterless Pakidtani side, it would be a failure not to. I have to say, Rashid was unimpressive both innings, the wickets he got were due to some very rash shot selection, he really did not bother the batters much, their panic did.

We showed zero fire with the ball. No cover for Yasir Shah and The quirks might have been bowling machines for the effectiveness they had. And at the same time Mohammad Amir is making every lineup his bitch in domestic games.

Somebody give Rahat Ali a roofie before the next test and send Amir.

Nice to see England making as much a fist of it as they could in the circumstances, with the shuffling of the batting order to give it their best shot.

Doesn’t change the face that this was a terrible pitch, although I think if chances had been taken on both sides a result was possible. Wasn’t good cricket though.

This match is actually quite tight. Tomorrow is set for a proper, old fashioned moving day. I suspect that it might be the case that one side will be firmly in the box seats by the end of play. Nice to see something more in the wicket in Dubai than was the case in Abu Dhabi. Suspect Pakistan having last use of it could be critical.

Nice knock yesterday by Misbah too.

Root just keeps getting better and better doesn’t he? every time he comes to the wicket he oozes solidity. Plus he seems to be a smart enough cricketer to know when to press the pedal.

We are bowling well as a unit which is a big bonus and I think you are correct Cumbrian, there is going to be some last innings fun and games with the spinners unless England can force the issue tomorrow. 90 overs at 4 an over? a lead of 150-ish and bowl them out by tea on the 4th day…simple.