Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3rd Test: The real Test?!

Pakistan has already won the series, 3rd test match looks a dead rubber. But is it?! For me it is an equally Important test match as the previous two. Any team who wins the last test match will carry the momentum in the ODI series although its a totally different format with different players. (My gut feeling is that England stand no chance against Pakistan in the ODI's, but still.)

For Pakistan this match is a test for themselves. They would want to motivate themselves and play like a team who are on a roll and must not relax. Even a draw here would be a Psychological victory for Pakistan. England are a wounded lion at the moment and they will try to hit back hard. They will try to register their first win of the tour and it will give them some confidence back.

Pakistan will look to make a few changes in the team, for sure Junaid Khan must be dropped after a poor performance. Who will they bring in? There are three choices to be honest.

The Temptation of Playing them two together.

First one is playing Wahab Riaz.. but I doubt Pakistan will play him partially due to 'not so good' relations between Wahab and Trott, but most probably because of the fact that England will feel more comfortable facing the left arm fast bowler on a Dubai pitch. The second and the most Interesting option can be of bringing in Umar Akaml, strengthen the batting line up and giving Hafeez a lengthy bowl to make up for the missing fast bowler. Naseer Hussain rightly said that this option could have been availed if Pakistan lost the 2nd test match and they shouldn't now, but still its an option.. The third and more simpler option can be to bring back Aizaz Cheema if he is fit and play the same team that won the first test match.

England really don't have much choice. They just have one additional batsman in the squad which is Ravi Bopara who plays in the middle order but they have three batsmen who are struggling.

It's time Bopara comes in?!

Ian Bell has scored 36 runs at an average of 9.0 and is clueless against Saeed Ajmal, Kevin Pietersen is having a nightmare scoring just 17 runs with average of 4.25 (Saeed Ajmal has scored 29 runs with a better average of 9.66) but they both will survive because dropping Eoin Morgan and playing Bopara looks a certainty as Morgan, the best English player of the spin as the experts say, looks totally out of sorts plus he is young at the test level. He has scored 41 runs in 4 innings with an average of 10.25 ( James Andersen has also scored 41 but at a better average of 13.66 ) and looks confused in the way he plays. Bopara doesn't have an outstanding record (12 matches, 553 runs, average 34.56) but anything fresh can help England. Their bowling is fine, they are doing an outstanding job and have kept alive every chance for their team to stay in the series.

Toss can be important! Pakistan recently have the habit of winning the toss and bowling first. Out of 14 matches under Misbah Pakistan have bowled first on 10 occasions ( 6 wins, 1 loss, 3 draws) so the decision to bat first in the 2nd test match was something out of the blue. What will Pakistan do if the win the toss?! No idea, maybe bowl again. England will bat first for sure as they wouldn't want to bat last last. But keep in mind, of the two test matches played on this ground the team that batted first has lost the match. Srilanka won the toss and batted first, England were out into bat by Pakistan and lost by 9 and 10 wickets respectively.

The pitch will be an interesting factor as well, are these pitches flat?! There is something about these pitches which is different, test matches ending in 3 and 4 days respectively tells for sure the pitches weren't flat. Dubai pitch doesn't spin as much as the Abu Dhabi one and it gets flatter as the match progresses with less cracks appearing. In the first Test Match It helped the fast and spin bowlers equally.

Keeping everything aside, its the best chance Pakistan will get to whitewash England who look like a team low on confidence and are not sure how to cope up with the spinners. Moreover this Pakistani team looks different, there is something that tells they will fight till the very end. Lets hope we get to see that and win the series 3-0 to add another jewel in our crown.


  1. Great article, I doubt they will play Aizaz, it could make his injry worse. But I like the idea of Umar Akmal playing and Hafeez helping out in the bowling. There can be no doubt England will make a change, maybe they'll bring in Finn or Onions in place of Swann or Anderson. Let's hope for the best :)

  2. Thanks :) yes it will be interesting to see what Pakistan does. England, well I don't see them playing three fast bowlers now as the idea of 2-2 worked well. Pakistan, if they don't play Aizaz will only be left with the choice of Playing Umar Akmal which looks an interesting choice :)