Two days into this series and I’m already losing the will to live. The pitch is flat. It’s very flat. Pakistan’s bowlers didn’t get much out of it either. What’s worse, no footmarks seem to be appearing. It’s like concrete – but a very slow, insipid concrete (if you get my meaning).
Once again England’s bowlers toiled without reward. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid were completely innocuous – the latter recorded the worst bowling figures by a test debutant in history.
Shoaib Malik scored a serene double century. He played really, really well, but it was a bit like taking candy from a baby. Runs were ridiculously easy to come by. His double ton was probably worth about fifty at Trent Bridge.
I don’t want to get into an autopsy of our spinners’ performance because the pitch offered very little assistance. I thought Zulfiqar Babar looked innocuous too – and he was bowling with a new ball after resting for a day and a half.
I thought Rashid actually bowled some pretty good deliveries at times, although consistency was probably lacking. Like other observers, I worry he bowls a bit too slowly for test cricket – especially on lifeless surfaces like this one.
He’ll be feeling as sick as the proverbial parrot at the moment. Perhaps he should give Jade Dernbach a ring? Dernbach has amassed a few unwanted records of his own. He can offer some cheap counselling.
Having said all that, today wasn’t all doom and gloom. Pakistan looked set to reach 600 at tea but decided to have a bit of a slog in the evening session. This could’ve gone one of two ways: either (a) England would fall in a heap and embarrass themselves or (b) a few loose shots would enable the bowlers to regain a little pride and respectability. It’s to England’s credit that the latter occurred.
Cook and Moeen also batted pretty well in the final hour or so. Riaz threw the kitchen sink at them but our new opening pairing surprisingly survived. Well done to them. Cook looked solid and Moeen played the short ball particularly well. You can hear Bumble’s thoughts on England’s day above.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s report, when I’ll no doubt report that England have compiled an amazing 400-2 on an absolute bunsen – thanks to some stunning backs-to-the-ball batting under extreme pressure. We’ll be on the edge of our seats I’m sure.
PS Steve Finn has gone home with a foot injury. It’s a real shame for the lad. Let’s hope he recovers quickly. Chris Jordan has been called up as his replacement. I don’t like this move one bit. Jordan hasn’t impressed me in his test career thus far and I don’t see the need to replace Finn with yet another fast-medium right armer. I would’ve called up Mark Footitt for a bit of variation. At least this might create some rough for Moeen to bowl into.