What a victory it was
From the word “go’, Misbahul Haq and his rejuvenated team mates, bubbling with enthusiasm, and ready to take on a formidable rival, showed their mettle , dominating the proceedings throughout, not allowing the rivals an upper hand, even for a moment, and that was what to matter most. Finishing a Test match in just three days, was remarkable. England, with a towering image, was made to look like less than novices, outclassed, outplayed in all the departments of the game, and in the process, we saw some new heroes emerging.
The entire team is to be congratulated, but Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Adnan Akmal, and Rehman deserve a special praise. They did a tremendous job, something which would long be cherished in our memories. If Adnan Akmal had not batted with grit and determination for his 61 when play resumed on Thursday at the overnight score of 288 for 7, his team’s lead may have shortened. Akmal was just 24. Umar Gul fell very early in the morning, which placed enormous responsibility on the young wicket-keeper batsman.
He discharged it with command and authority, cutting, pulling, reverse sweeping, and driving in the style and mould reserved only for the most accomplished of batsmen in the game. As a wicket keeper too he showed a class, moving to both sides of the wicket with agility, ease and perfection, diving and displaying sharpest of mindset in holding catches against Umer Gul’s moving deliveries, and delicate snicks against spinners—not an easy job by any mean. Keeping wicket against spinners is a real test for a keeper, and Adnan Akmal, decidedly is a genuine discovery.
Umer Gul broke the back of England batting, sending the top three of their batsmen—Astrauss, Cook, and Peiterson— for just 18 runs in 5 overs, and then claiming Jonathan Trot as well.
He swung the ball, and generated pace from a slow wicket which made him outstanding among the world’s recognized fast bowlers. The delivery that ended Trot’s resistance also broke an ominous lookig partnership with Eion Morgan, For Saeed Ajmal, it was a memorable day.
Returning a figure of 7 for 55 in England’s first innings, took three more wickets in their second knock to have an overall haul of 10 wickets in match. He was rewarded finally for his ability to bring even the greatest of batsmen down. The rival batsmen kept struggling against him all the time, winning adulation from no less than an authority like Geoff Boycott.
The former England opener and captain asked Andrew Strauss and his team mates to concentrate on game, rather than seeing Ajmal through coloured glasses.
And as far as let arm spinner, Rehman, was concerned, he is a not a great turner of the ball, but is blessed with enormous capabilities to check the run rate, and has a golden arm to register vital breakthrough. He has been an asset for the team, and should be persevered with.
Pakistan team must not relax. England is bound to redraw their strategy, and may bring in left arm spinner Monty Panesar, to strengthen pair with Graeme Swann. Swann, is a fine bowler, and on the last day also he took four wickets but conceded far too many runs, 107, whereas the Pakistani counterparts were far more impressive.
Swann however must not under-rated. The next Test match is in Abu Dhabi from 25th January, and Pakistan should be ready to win the series by making it 2-0. The can, and they must repeat their sterling performance of the First Test. Their countrymen demands that from them. Hopes have been high, but rising to the occasion is also the need of the hour.