Oval win ends Pakistan’s five-year wait

Pakistan ended their five-year wait for a Test win against England in a four-wicket win at The Oval.

Express August 22, 2010

Pakistan ended their five-year wait for a Test win against England in a jittery four-wicket win at The Oval on the fourth afternoon of the third Test.

Chasing 148 to keep the four-match series alive, Pakistan slumped to 132 for six and made hard work of a small target in a similar manner to the series-levelling win against Australia at Trent Bridge last month.

Graeme Swann and James Anderson continued to flux Pakistani batsmen and their lack of patience proved their downfall in a nervy attack at the target. While the returning Yasir Hameed fell first ball on the penultimate ball of the opening over, the out-of-form Imran Farhat and captain Salman Butt raced to 57 in just the eleventh over as a quick end seemed nigh.

Salman back in form

However, in between Swann’s brace – Farhat leg-before and Salman caught at slip – Pakistan were once again indebted to the experience of Mohammad Yousuf who played anchor while the captain drove square of the wicket with utmost ease. Square cuts, drives and flicks past midwicket seemed to have brought Salman back into form and his first half-century as a captain loomed courtesy back-to-back fours.

However, a prod off Swann induced Salman’s edge and as the captain departed for 48, the match was still Pakistan’s to lose with only 45 more needed.

With Azhar Ali and Yousuf remaining unperturbed with England toiling in the absence of swing and spin, Pakistan’s victory-draught against the home side seemed to be coming to an end. However,  a needless Azhar runout followed by a searing Anderson yorker to uproot Yousuf’s off-stump not only brought the crowd back to life but also jitters to the Pakistan dressing room as a repeat of Sydney and Galle loomed.

Kamran Akmal, who grabbed eight catches in his comeback match, scored his third duck in four innings as a belated decision by the umpire gave Swann his third wicket of the innings and seventh of the match that exposed Pakistan’s fragility with the bat yet again.

A period of intense defence followed as Umar Akmal, renowned for his aggression, and Mohammad Aamir scored just two runs in six overs. Umar, curbed his natural stroke-play and wisely left the inviting short balls from Anderson as Aamir displayed resolute defence before dragging Swann to midwicket to break the shackles.

As Umar cut, sliced and flicked Swann for the winning runs, the duo’s presence in the middle, after Aamir’s six wickets in the match, went on to prove that Pakistan’s future, away from the seniors, is in stable hands.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2010.


Fayyaz Muhammad Mian | 11 years ago | Reply Muhammad Yusuf played a very controlled innings but he was a bit slack at a James Andersen's yorker that swung and uprouted his off stump. Umer Akmal controlled his shorts while Muhammad Amir stayed at the crease with solid determination to guide Pakistan through. The batting line up still lacks confidence because there were many wrong calls in the match that costed the players their wickets.
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