Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The First Test: Pakistan v England, Day One

They've been gathering dust on a book shelf ever since they were put away back in October, but England are back, so guess what? The ducks are back too. Welcome to my desk Dubai, for England's first Test of 2012, and first test of their number one status, against a rejuvenated Pakistan side.

Despite early chatter about England breaking character and going with five bowlers, England went with the usual four. Despite concerns over Broad and Bell being injured by their own compatriots, Tremlett came in for the injured Bresnan. Had Bresnan not been injured, perhaps they would've gone with the five, but you can't ponder too much on injuries.

Here's what happened on day one from the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Having called correctly, Andrew Strauss wins the toss and decides that he'd like England to have a bat first. 
Cook and Strauss enter the field, whilst Misbah-ul-Haq (or Misbah-ul-Quack, if you like) gathers his side into the first huddle of the series.
Umar Gul takes the first over...
And the first ball of the Test is a fairly innocuous one, which Strauss leaves to go through to Adnan Akmal. 
England get the scoreboard moving a couple of balls later...
As Strauss clips one into the leg side for a single. Cook soon follows his captain to get his first run of the series.
In the 6th over, Mohammad Hafeez is brought on and Cook, looking to play positively, ends up attempting a cut to a ball when he had very little room.
Instead, the golden boy of 2011 finds himself nicking the ball behind the Akmal, who takes a decent close catch. Cook departs for 3 and England are 10-1.
Trott hits the first boundary of the day and adds a couple more to the tally before he manages to nick one down the leg side off the bowling of Cheema.
Akmal completes the catch and England are in a spot of bother at 31-2. Trott departs for 17.
Trott walks off, but the worst is yet to come for England.
On comes Ajmal, arguably one of the, if not the, best spinners in world cricket at the moment. Strauss, again looking to be positive, goes for a pull on a ball that is definitely not there for the pulling.
And the ball ends up clipping the top of off, leaving England 42-3.
Strauss, having had a torrid 2011 by his standards and having not scored a century since the Brisbane Test of 2010, will be hoping that this series can see him return to some kind of recognisable form. Unfortunately for him, he has to depart for a paltry 19.
In comes Ian Bell...
... And out goes Ian Bell. He gets a golden duck as he can't pick Ajmal and ends up nicking one behind to Akmal. England's crisis deepens and they are 42-4.
Morgan survives the hat-trick ball, but KP ends up going only a couple of balls later.
England go for the leg byes, but convinced that Pietersen has been struck on the pad, Pakistan decide to review the decision. 
Ajmal is on fire and with the decision reversed and Pietersen on his way, has remarkable figures of 3-1 off only 1.4 overs.
At least it wasn't a left arm spinner, Kevin.
England reach lunch without any further casualties, but they are 52-5. A lot is resting on the performance of Prior and Eoin Morgan, who could really do with a decent innings in this situation to show that he has the potential to be England's number six.
Morgan's one day inventiveness has seen him become a decent player of spin. 
He hits Ajmal for Ajmal's first boundary soon after the lunch interval.
But Morgan decides to go for an enormous slog sweep, misses and is struck on the pad, seemingly dead in front.
The umpire agrees and Morgan is gone for 24.
Despite looking like a dead man walking, Morgan decides to review...
But it's a wasted one as Hawkeye suggests that it's clattering into the middle stump, so he has to trudge off for 24, leaving England 82-6.
Broad manages to hit Ajmal for a four, but in the next Ajmal over, he also decides to bring out the sweep shot...
He misses, gets struck on the pad and is given out LBW. Broad being Broad, he decides to review, but like with Morgan, it's a waste and he's out plumb LBW. England 94-7 and Ajmal has a 5fer.
As the top six have failed, it's once again down to the bearded (yes, that's a beard) wicketkeeper of Matt Prior to provide some resistance. His innings is a quiet and patient affair...
... But includes the odd boundary like this one off Cheema.
England reach tea on 139-7, facing a mammoth task to try and build an innings total of note.
After tea, Swann provides a bit of a counter attack. Like against India at Trent Bridge, Swann brings out some shots down the ground...
Including this one through the covers off Rehman. It brings up the 50 partnership between Swann and Prior, and for England's innings they are 50 valuable runs.
But it's Rehman who gets the last laugh. He manages to get one past Swann's edge...
And it knocks over Swanny's off stump. He departs for 34 and England don't look like reaching 200 as the wicket leaves them on 151-8.
Prior continues to add to his score and reaches a well deserved 50...
He gets two off Rehman...

And duly raises his bat. 
(Had forgotten how ridiculous "Tremlett" looks with a bat, MOVING ON) Tremlett is the next man to go. Maybe hitting outside the line (I've tried my best - I can't emphasise how big this duck is) but Tremlett is definitely struck on the pad and he is gone.
Tremlett can't review, but replays show that it would've gone with umpire's call anyway. England are 168-9.
And Ajmal has six wickets with Jimmy Anderson the last man in.
He hits a couple of boundaries off Rehman, but like with the majority of the side, Ajmal is his undoing. 
Ajmal picks up his 5th LBW of England's innings as Anderson misses one that will be hitting the leg stump. He goes for 12.
England are all out for 192 and Ajmal has the fantastic figures of 7-55. It is a mixture of good bowling and completely brainless batting, with England looking rusty having not played Test cricket since late August. But that's no excuse. England will be hoping that their bowlers can dig their batsmen out of the huge Trott-like trench they're created.
England take to the field. The huddle might not have happened, but you know, you get the contrast between the size of Tremlett and Morgan.
England are looking for early wickets, but their bowling is nothing to shout home about in the small passage of play.
Taufeeq Umar gets off the mark with a boundary through the off side.
Mohammad Hafeez also plays well and looks to attack Swann.
He does so successfully but hitting one over the top for a one bounce four.
It's an incredibly disappointing day for England, with the Pakistani openers looking solid and closing the day's proceedings on 42-0. 
That was the (somewhat delayed) day one. Day two should be up in a bit. I am quite tired, but I'm a student so I'll soldier on... 

1 comment:

  1. A great read :) love the MASSIVE Tremlett duck!