Toil and Trouble: Day 2 from Abu Dhabi

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.

James Morgan

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.


  • @cricket_U: ENG spin bowling this inns

    34-0-163-0 Adil Rashid
    30-2-121-0 Moeen Ali
    05-1-13-0 Joe Root
    01-0-5-0 Ben Stokes
    Combined 70-3-302-0

    Ouch!!!! Nice to see more excuses from you today. I’ll guarantee you Pakistan spinners ( 4th and 5th rate as they are) will perform better than England’s top two have done….

    Also, interesting the way you have dismissed Maliks 243… I look foward to seeing your articles in a day or two when the likes of cooky and moeen face 11 hours of batting and scoring 200+…… England fans showing poor sportsmanship and lacking class for my money. But nothing new there.

  • Sorry you feel that way about England supporters. Much of what we write is tongue in cheek. Please don’t take it so seriously. Pakistan batted very well, even if conditions were favourable. You won’t find too many England supporters disagreeing with your assessment of our spinners. We know our place, believe me.

    • The blog’s always been from an English perspective, whether praising the team or providing withering critique, which is often the case.

      Read the ‘About’ section, calling bias here is kind of missing the point…

      Bell just got shelled… the irony.

  • Hundred up for Cook. When the pitch is flat, and the bowling relatively tame, there’s nobody better in the world at cashing in. He’s looked serene thus far. Just the sort of conditions he thrives in. Needs to keep going because I have no faith in our middle order. Stokes, Bairstow and Buttler are all relatively poor players of spin.


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