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Pakistan vs. England, First Test: Day Two Review

Posted on January 18, 2012 by in Tests

Pakistan 288/7 (Haufeez 88, Umar 58, Misbah-ul-Haq 52, Anderson 2-57)


Pakistan lead by 96 runs with 3 wickets in hand

In a sentence

England fought to keep themselves in contention on a day of old-fashioned Test cricket.

Player of the day

This is tricky, because no-one dominated the day: there were no batting collapses, no cheap five-fors and no seventy-ball hundreds. Nonetheless, it was compelling.

From a Pakistani perspective Mohammad Hafeez batted well, and his 88 is the highest score in the match so far, but there is a feeling that he should have scored more such was his composure until missing a sweep off the bowling of Graeme Swann. His opening partner Taufeeq Umar also looked untroubled in reaching 58, before being bowled by a masterful delivery from Stuart Broad. Misbah-ul-Haq made 52 from 154 balls – his attritional innings well-suited to the match circumstances – and will be disgruntled to have been dismissed in the day’s penultimate over. Many observers, not least Billy Bowden and 51allout’s twitterer at the time (“England have gone upstairs on an LBW review, smacked a bit of desperation to me…Oh no! It’s out! Mishah’s (sic) gone! I’m genuinely amazed.”), were shocked when the decision was reviewed and overturned.

Misbah-ul-Haq played a sensible captain's innings.

The batting performance today demonstrated that this pitch has few demons in and that England’s first innings flop was – we hope – an aberration. Therefore, England will be pleased to have taken seven wickets on a day when the Pakistani batsmen were never really looking unsettled. Broad was probably the most threatening and most consistent; Swann also bowled well. Meanwhile, Jonathan Trott surprised all by nipping one into Younis Khan and trapping him in line. Overall, it was only Chris Tremlett who looked substandard, leading to a smug feeling for those who would have preferred Steven Finn to play instead.

Moment of the day

Both openers hit some beautiful drives for four through the covers and down the ground, but given the placid pitch conditions, we’ve picked a moment with the ball instead. It could easily have been the abovementioned delivery from Broad that, from around the wicket, seamed away just enough to beat Umar’s defence and topple the off-bail, or indeed Jonathan Trott following in the long history of part-timers taking vital wickets. However we’ve chosen the final ball of the day. Admittedly Abdur Rehman is not the kind of batsman that bowlers have nightmares about, but James Anderson still had enough energy and desire to move the ball back in to him sufficiently to beat the bat and hit the stumps. It demonstrated England’s resilience, fitness and determination and moreover, in psychological terms, would have been a huge boost to them as they sit in their ice-baths contemplating tomorrow.

Stay off the gin tonight, Jimmy.

Outlook for tomorrow

Assuming there’s no performance-impairing gin on the England dinner table tonight, they will be hopeful of removing the Pakistan tail quickly. A deficit of fewer than 150 runs would give them some hope of setting a challenging target, although Pakistan remain clear favourites. Nonetheless, whatever lead the home side secure, they themselves will be confident of Saeed Ajmal vs. England, Part Two.

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