England’s chances of a whitewash in the ODI series against Pakistan were floored by Umar Gul yesterday. The paceman was simply unplayable in helpful conditions under the Oval floodlights. His match figures of 6-42 knocked the stuffing out of England when they were cruising to victory at 201-5. They never recovered. Instead the tail were simply blown away by a combination of pace, aggression and late swing. In a summer in which the Pakistanis have been left black and blue by spot-fixing allegations, it was good to see them putting up a fight last night.
I could say more about the match itself, but I’m running out of boxing puns and wordplays. What’s more, the result is likely to be overshadowed by fresh allegations against Pakistan – allegations that will surely divert attention away from the team’s improving performances on the field. The new scandal involves suspicious scoring patterns during Pakistan’s innings of 241 yesterday. We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out, but one thing’s for certain – the media won’t pull any punches (sorry, couldn’t resist).