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Pakistan v England: What The Papers Say

The original article appears on AllOutCricket magazine’s website

Chris Airey  takes a look at the newspaper reaction to England’s comprehensive first Test  defeat in Dubai that saw the world’s No.One Test side humbled by 10  wickets.

England’s dismal batting

England supporters have enjoyed an 18-month period in which English blades  dispatched red leather time and time again with ease, but in Dubai a sorry  looking batting line-up were humiliated by a fast-improving Pakistan side.

Dean Wilson in the Daily  Mirror:

“Jonathan Trott’s 49 showed that batting wasn’t impossible, but the fact  that Graeme Swann’s swashbuckling 39 were as many runs as Strauss, Alastair  Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell managed in the match tells the story. Their  shot selection was poor, the worst example being Pietersen’s top edged hook to  deep square leg when the trap had been set and his team was in  trouble.”

Vic Marks in The Guardian:

“Graham Gooch, the England batting coach, must be tearing his hair out  (metaphorically, at least). How is it that among the specialists only one,  Jonathan Trott, suggested anything approaching serenity at the crease while the  rest were hopping around like cats on hot tin roofs? … Moreover Pietersen  attracts criticism as cameras do C-list celebrities, a group he is in danger of  joining unless he scores some runs.”

Failure to deal with Saeed Ajmal

On a pitch that offered minimal purchase, the England batsmen simply  self-destructed in the face of Saeed Ajmal’s barrage of offbreaks, doosras – and, very rarely, the odd teesra – as Pakistan’s mischievous spinner dominated  day one.

John Etheridge in The Sun:

“England’s batsmen were sucked into the spinner’s web as Saeed Ajmal  toyed with their techniques and messed with their minds. Forget for a moment all  the talk about Ajmal’s action, this was a masterpiece of cunning and the spin  bowler’s art. He blew the tourists apart.”

Mike Selvey in The  Guardian:

“Maybe the England batsmen had been suckered by all the talk of his  teesra. But surely the top team in the world cannot be that naive? Neither  Bishen Bedi, nor Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, nor Abdul Qadir, nor Muttiah  Muralitharan, nor Shane Warne had caused England’s best batsmen such  embarrassment on a surface as harmless as an empty pincushion.”

Umar Gul terrorises England’s top-order

England were memorised by Pakistan’s twirlers in the first innings, but any  suggestion that the seamers couldn’t get anything out the pitch were written off  as nonsense as Umar Gul paved the way for victory within three  days.

Scyld Berry in The  Telegraph:

“The amazing thing was that England’s top-order collapse was even more  inexcusable than their first. They were not bamboozled by the subtlety of Saeed  Ajmal and his fellow-spinners, but bounced out by Umar Gul – bounced out on a  slow pitch in the desert.”

Confusion over Hotspot

Day three saw some more DRS-related intrigue: third umpire Steve Davis was  unable to overturn decisions against Saeed Ajmal (who definitely didn’t hit his)  and Andrew Strauss (who probably didn’t) because Hotspot was either unavailable  or inconclusive. Strauss looked about as cross as he gets.

David Lloyd in the Daily Mail:

“Everybody got hot under the collar about the DRS and you have to accept  that the technology is not 100 per cent. Andrew Strauss took 10 seconds to  decide to review his, so he wasn’t sure. Hotspot was inconclusive but there was  a big noise. That’s what TV umpire Steve Davis went  on.”

Nick Hoult in The Telegraph:

“Hotspot failed to pick up any impact on the bat, but Steve Davis decided  there was not enough evidence to overrule the original decision… Strauss’s  decision followed similar confusion over the wicket of Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal,  he referred the decision but it was upheld because the batsman was out of the  television frame, meaning there was no Hotspot evidence to save him even though  the replays looked to show he did not lay bat on ball.”


About Chris Airey

Sports Journalist at Staffordshire Uni - writes for DerbyshireCCC, TelfordUtd Programme and AllOutCricket - tries to play a bit of cricket too!!


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