Thursday, January 19, 2012

Analysis of the 1st Pakistan versus England Test

Credibility was always going to be the main prize of this three Test series with Pakistan having their credential lit up in lights after the first stanza, and England having further doubts attached to their credentials away from the comforts of fast pitches. Only a fool would write off England after one insipid display, but the signs did not look good meaning they will have to invoke a major renaissance to prove this performance was merely an aberration rather than a reality.


Pakistan.


The main question over Pakistan in the lead up to this series was their potential to match up against the big boys of the Test arena after having their recent success built around beating the lesser Teams.


Victory in three days against the Team rated the best in the Test arena certainly put this to bed. 


Heading the honours list was the trio of spinners making the English batsmen look so silly on a pitch that hardly supported spin picking up match figures of  185/15. As a unit, it must be remarked that the three bordered on perfection in their balance with the miserly defensive duo of Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafees in partnership with the lethal attacking force of Saeed Ajmal.


All three were masterful in their subtle variations of pace and deliveries as well as their relentless accuracy. That just strangled the life out of the batsmen on a pitch that had scant support for spin.


Throw in a pitch supporting spin and my golly gee things could get ugly for England!


The pace was led by the big hearted Umar Gul, who with every match gains greater respect for his pedigree on the World stage. 


In truth the bowling unit that was stellar could in fact be improved for Abu Dhabi with the inclusion of the left hand variety of either Junaid Khan or Wahab Riaz in place of Aizaz Cheema.


Further underlining the strength in Pakistan's bowling ranks


The batting left you a bit worried with its propensity for getting its feet stuck in mud with a lack of scoring acumen, but again they got the job done.


Then a real bonus for them was the form of Adnan Akmal in playing a real gem of an innings of 61 in the 2nd innings to decisively put the advantage in Pakistan's favour.


As with the bowling, the batting has scope for improvement with the more attacking style of Umar Akmal being added to the Team to replace Asad Shafique. That would give the batting a more threat. To stop it getting dried up for scoring in times when greater benefit is found in an ability to up the run rates.


Heroes & Villains


Mohsin Khan and Misbah ul Haq
You had to clear your eyes in watching this Pakistan performance for with their tight as a fist camaraderie, desperation in the field, adherence to the crucial 1%'s, and all round professionalism. It made you swear you were watching Steve Waugh's Australian Team rather than Pakistan


Credit in kind needs to go to the architects of the remarkable current culture in the Team in the Captain Misbah ul Haq and the interim Coach Mohsin Khan.


The Spin Trio
All the fanfare and publicity will go to Saeed Ajmal for his exceptional display, and the mystique and controversy of his Doosra. That had all the English batsmen looking silly against it.


Though the success of him was greatly added by the pressure heaped on the opposition by his spinning mates in the left armer Abdur Rehman and the offie Mohammad Hafees.


Both relentless in the pressure they heap on oppositions with their lines and lengths that are so precise it makes you believe they have Satellite tracking attached to them


The three devastated England here on a virtual non spinning pitch making you believe that it could get Xrated for England on a pitch that does favour spin......................


Adnan Akmal


The diminutive keepers innings of 61 in the 2nd innings when England still harboured hopes of getting back in the match was decisive.


Blowing the lead out to 146 and killing off England's hopes.


England


Toilet of a performance by England to be honest.


Their batting was made to look substandard by a combination of excellent Pakistani bowling coupled with hari kari batting. That saw them gift so many wickets to soft as butter dismissals


The looseness of their play will be cured I am sure by a swift kick up their collective rear ends as part of the review of the performance, but their ability to deal with the Pakistan bowling has serious doubt attached to it.


In view of how clueless they were against the trio of spinners. Mostly showing real struggles against the bowlers subtleties in pace and variation of deliveries without having to face the sterner examination of real spin.


Only Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior looked assured against it. The rest being on the scale between the dead man walking status of Ian Bell in picking Saeed Ajmal's Doosra to the struggles of the rest in judging the lines and variations in pace.


All of them have major runs on the board in their careers, but having faith in them turning things around by next Wednesday's 2nd Test would have a bookie attaching odds of 10/1 at best. Which for the non punters means they are a chance, but not a good chance...........


In a word get your Rosary Beads out and start praying for divine intervention!


The bowling resembled a football match that ended 0 all after 90 minutes. Only for the Pakistani batting to hit the killer blow in injury time with Adnan Akmal's decisive cameo.


You view England's best chance of getting back in the series is by having their bowling improve enough to victimise the Pakistan batting. So as to prop up their batting with the added pressure on Pakistan's attack and fielding.


This will mean Chris Tremlett, who resembled the Tin Man out of the Wizard of Oz in his lack of heart. He needs to go and be replaced by the precocious talents of the fast man Steve Finn or the spin of Monty Panesar.


Giving the bowling a bit more vigour and threat


Villains


Andy Flower, Graham Gooch & the English Brains Trust
In watching the English batting go down so meekly in this Test made you point the finger squarely at the men preparing the Team for their lack of any preparation.


They severely under estimated Pakistan's bowling calibre and basically sent the Team into battle with little or no grounding in what skills were needed.


The batting Coach Graham Gooch needs to take much of the responsibility for this insipid showing


Teams Selections


Too stringent in their mannerisms that stopped them from taking a perfect opportunity of embracing a 'horses for courses' approach to this Test.


Which would have seen Monty Panesar get a call up


Ian Bell, KP, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Eoin Morgan


Complete Rubbish boys- hang your heads in shame!


Looking Forward


Pakistan:


Put your feet up and relax boys for you have been marvellous, but know in your minds that England will hit back hard. So you were great in this game, but you need to be better in the next to maintain your ascendency in the series


Aizaz Cheema and Asad Shafique out for Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz


England:


Changes need to be made in personnel and in mind.


Chris Tremlett out for Monty Panesear


Plus the players need to add some renewed steel in their batting for they were way too generous in throwing away wickets in this Test

5 comments:

  1. Our opinions largely match. So, posting my analysis would be redundant. Rather than giving credit to the spin trio, I'd give only to Saeed Ajmal though. Rahman and Hafeez were quite ordinary.

    I also feel Cheema deserves a second chance and Umar Akmal being a number three batsman, dropping Azhar Ali might be a better choice.

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    1. I think the spin trio were like a wolf pack my friend with Saeed leading the pack. Cheema is very worthy, and the Team needs U Akmal

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  2. Pakistan team will be unchanged for next match but if Cheema's injury is serious then it might come the turn of Wahab or Junaid...

    Its too early to take Azhar or Asad out of team, they both are future assets of Pakistan... They have performed well against tough oppositions in past...

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    1. Thank you for the comments my bhai.

      I think Cheema is very decent, but a left hander in either Wahab or Junaid would give greater variety. As for including Umar Akmal it is more to have an attacking option in the Team

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  3. cheema's incoming deliveries will prove handy against trott and KP. so he is needed but his absence won't be worrisome for pak because of their bench strength. there shouldnt be any other change in pak team.
    for england, there are rumors that finn might get a chance. weird but i dont mind that as a pakistani. england can even drop jimmy anderson because he is unlikely to do well in these conditions. for them, however, the bigger issue is what to do with batting. morgan can't handle this quality of spin. KP looked stupid. bell had no idea. trott and prior are the only two men who seem to be capable of batting.

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