Saturday 28 January 2012

Pakistan v England 2nd Test Ratings - Abu Dhabi

After a collapse of Biblical proportions in their second innings, England's batsmen can expect to receive much the same ratings that they did at the disastrous first Test back in Dubai. You have to feel for the bowlers, who yet again put in a sterling effort only to be let down by their counterparts. Here is how I rated the two sides:


Mohammad Hafeez - 8 - modest returns with the bat in this Test, despite getting a start both times, but his 8 rating comes as a result of his much improved off-spin bowling. Boasting an incredible bowling average of less than 20 when bowling inside the first 20 overs, Hafeez twice removed an England opener and kept things very tight throughout.
Taufeeq Umar - 2 - Poor Test for Taufeeq with the bat, returning scores of 16 and 7; both bowled. Many an opening batsman would do well to learn from Rahul Dravid, but in Taufeeq's case it seems he has picked up the unfortunate attribute of having his furniture rearranged on a regular basis.
Azhar Ali - 8 - fell in the twenties in the first innings after getting a start, but gets plenty of credit for his ultimately match winning 68 in the second. Azhar combined superbly with Shafiq to see Pakistan through a very rough patch.
Younis Khan - 2 - got a start in the first innings before being bowled by Broad, and was out for just 1 in the second to an unplayable ball from Monty Panesar. No contribution of not from Pakistan's premier batsman as yet.
Misbah-ul-Haq - 7 - excellent innings of 84 first up, switching expertly between defence and attack as he swiped four big sixes off the bowling of Monty Panesar. Failed second time around, but excellent captaincy throughout.
Asad Shafiq - 8 - played a key role in that crucial second innings partnership with Azhar, and hit an impressive 58 in the first innings to ensure Pakistan finished up with a respectable total. Much improved from Dubai.
Adnan Akmal - 5- two failures with the bat but kept very well to the spinners of Pakistan in testing conditions. May be warned about excessive appealing, but it was rather ironic that the only time he kept quiet in this Test was when Jonathan Trott looked to be plumb LBW early in his innings of 74.
Abdur Rehman took a second innings 6-25
Abdur Rehman - 9 - bowled with great control throughout the first England innings, extracting more turn from the pitch than his fellow spinners in doing so. Really came in to his own in England's second innings, taking a mightily impressive 6-25 from just 10.1 overs. With all eyes on Ajmal, it seems Rehman slipped beneath England's radar.
Saeed Ajmal - 9 - once again bamboozled England's tentative batsmen with a variety of orthodox off-spin and the dreaded doosra. England's back foot policy to Ajmal plays right in to his hands. Unerringly accurate, and man of the match for the second Test in a row. Who would bet against a hat-trick in Dubai?
Umar Gul - 6- not much threat from Gul this time round, and didn't bowl a great deal of overs as spin dominated proceedings for the most part. Did however pick up the key wicket of Ian Bell with the second new ball in England's first innings as Pakistan looked to minimise the deficit.
Junaid Khan - 1 - wicket-less in the first England innings, and not used at all in the second, where Misbah opted for spin right from the off. Clueless with the bat.


Andrew Strauss - 3 - failed again with the bat in England's first innings. Fared better second time around, making a slow 32, albeit with a huge slice of luck when third umpire Billy Bowden inexplicably gave him not out to what looked like a perfectly good catch. Scoring options to the spinners look very limited. Strauss gets a bonus point for marshalling his troops well in the field.
Alastair Cook - 6 - an impressive 94 in the first innings as he shared a big partnership with Jonathan Trott, but fell playing against the spin to the off-spin of Hafeez early in the second to get England's run chase off to the worst possible start.
Jonathan Trott - 5 - a solid innings of 74 first up, despite somehow surviving a plumb LBW decision whilst in the twenties. Batted at 7 in the England run chase due to illness keeping him off the field, but only managed to score 1 before falling to Rehman.
Kevin Pietersen - 1 - another failure in this Test and looks quite out of sorts at the moment. Perhaps unlucky in the first innings as he was caught off the inside edge in to his pad, and missed a straight one in the second. England will be looking for a response from KP in Dubai.
Ian Bell - 3 - undone by a good ball from Gul in the first innings, and desperately unlucky in the second as a ball from Ajmal that he had blocked happened to roll back between his legs and dislodge the bails. Another that is in need of some runs.
Eoin Morgan - 1 - sums up England's middle order at the moment. Can't buy a run, tentative against the spin, and looks well out of his depth in Test cricket. Expect Ravi Bopara to replace Morgan in Dubai.
Matt Prior - 4 - only managed 3 runs in the first innings, before being left high and dry with the tail as England's run chase faltered spectacularly in the second and was out trying to force the pace. Kept well.
Stuart Broad - 8 - once again superb with the ball, taking 4-47 in Pakistan's first innings and exercising great control in the second, he has taken to bowling in these conditions exceptionally well. A counter-attacking 58 not out with the bat in England's first innings to gain them a lead highlighted his all-round credentials, but fell for a duck in the second as England ground to a halt.
Graeme Swann - 7 - bowled well again and with great control. Couldn't repeat his exploits in Dubai with the bat.
James Anderson - 6 - just the 3 wickets for Anderson in this Test, but he carried out a key containing role despite these conditions not suiting his bowling style particularly well. Batted well in support of Stuart Broad at the tail end of England's first innings.
Monty Panesar - 9 - fantastic return to Test cricket for everybody's favourite left arm spinner. Showed good control in Pakistan's first innings, despite the assault by Misbah, and was exceptional in taking 6-62 in their second. Desperately unlucky to leave Abu Dhabi on the losing side.

How did you rate the two teams? Let me know if you agree.

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