England level series with thumping victory

July 26, 2016 | By

At about 17.45 pm Woakes got the wicket of the troublesome Mohammad Amir who along with the last man Rahat Ali had delayed the end by over half an hour and seven overs adding 26 runs for the 10th wicket. Pakistan all out 234.  As expected England won comfortably and with the huge margin of 330 runs to avenge the humiliating defeat at Lord’s.

The series is now level with two Tests those at Edgbaston Birmingham and The Oval London left. England deserve congratulations and high praise for their brilliant display in all departments of the game. The batting was dominated by Root and Cook who together scored more than 500 runs – whereas the 20 Pakistan wickets could muster a total of 434 runs in their two innings. “Farq saaf zaahir hai” (the difference is evident).

England’s bowling was strengthened by the addition of the dangerous Anderson and the inclusion of the all rounder Ben Stokes who unfortunately injured his calf muscle while bowling today. England selectors would require some re-thinking because their middle order batting remained brittle. However Moeen regained wickets and confidence in this Test.

Saqlain’s advice and guidance seems to be helping him and his batting colleagues. Edgbaston and The Oval may both be friendly tracks for pace bowlers. And England may play only Moeen as their spinning option. Stokes has a week or so to recover which means that he will retain his place. The question mark is on Vince and Ballance and some say Hales. Let us see how things work out for England. For the moment they should savour this great victory and let complacency not set in.

Well played England. Commiserations to Pakistan for a very shabby, sloppy, careless and almost non serious performance. The tour management, now strengthened by the arrival of Inzamam the head honcho of selection. Also the PCB Chairman who has been here throughout will give his advice and straegies. Pakistan has the talent and are resolute to bounce back. Hopefully Younus and Azhar will regain form. Shan Masood may not find a place in the Edgbaston line up and either Sami Aslam or even Mohammad Rizwan may be called up for Test duty. A right arm pace bowler should be added to replace one of the three south paws. The possibility is also there that with the Chairman and Inzamam both available the Tour Management may be asked to call up a couple of players from Pakistan A who are in England and some have performed creditably. We wish Pakistan all the best for the coming Tests.

Today the weather was as overcast and gloomy as the mood and display of the Pakistan Team. The threatened rain is still to come. As planned Cook and Root went after the Pakistan mediocre and ineffective bowling in a manner as they had an urgent appointment to keep and time was running out. In nine overs of delightful stroke play they stroked their way to individual half centuries and added 75 runs in a matter of 40 minutes and nine overs before Cook decided to let his bowlers and fielders have a go at the tired and depressed Pakistani batting line up and declared at 173/1 – a lead of 564.

Pakistan were given a target of either to bat out for 171 overs and save the match or score a mere 565 to go 2-0 up in the series. Their batsmen proved that they were capable of neither. Shan Masood failed yet again becoming the “bunny” of Anderson who claimed his wicket for the sixth time. Hafeez got a start but as usual did not build on it. Younis and Azhar going through a wretched stretch failed yet again and Misbah, Shafiq and Sarfraz found the task beyond them.

England were left with the task of polishing off the tail and levelling the series. In spite of Stokes being injured their other  bowlers did a magnificent job. The rejuvenated Moeen Ali claimed three wickets, as did Anderson and Woakes and Root got a wicket maiden with his occasional off breaks. Imagine the situation had Adil Rashid been added to the England XI.

As at Lord’s this Test also ended in four days or less. This adds strength to the case of those who are advocating for four day Test matches. Let the ICC discuss and decide.

Chishty Mujahid

Chishty Mujahid is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous articles published at ScoreLine.org.

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