Ajmal, Rehman lead England rout

England v Pakistan, 3rd Test Match. And a final series summing-up.

By Jatin Thakkar and Soham Sarkhel

Pakistan’s Team IMPACT on the game was 2.53 while England’s reached 2.03.

The test series which was heralded as England’s coming to the fore after their ascendancy to the top of the ICC Test rankings ended in a bitter disappointment for them after they were whitewashed 3-0 by the rampant Pakistani side. The Pakistani spinners managed to stranglehold the English batsmen on batting friendly tracks whereas the renowned English pace attack failed to deliver barring the first innings of the third test match in the entire series.

The IMPACT scorecard for the match.

All figures between 0 to 5.

* In a career context, these figures will be restricted between 0 and 5, with 5 as the highest on the IMPACT Index scale. In a match context though, the unrestricted figures tell their own stories.

Match (and Series) Observations:

Abdur Rehman was declared as the bowler of the match for his five wicket haul in the first innings even as Panesar, Ajmal and Gul had a higher Bowling IMPACT in the match compared to Rehman.

Umar Gul was the only bowler who generated pressure building IMPACT in both the innings of the match.
Monty Panesar, Ajmal and Broad managed to do it once during the course of the match.

Overall, Ajmal, Gul and Rehman had pressure building IMPACT consistently throughout the series against England’s batting. Only Panesar stood upto the standards of these three bowlers for England.

Azhar Ali was yet again the highest impact player for his team in this test match. He incidentally was also the highest impact player in the second test match. This actually goes on to show how Azhar Ali has gone on to become a crucial cog in the Pakistani middle order with his pugnacious but effective approach in the longer format of the game. Saeed Ajmal is the only other player who successfully managed to have an IMPACT of 5 or more twice in the series.

Alongside Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq had the highest-impact at absorbing pressure while batting. These should be good signs for Pakistan’s batting in coming periods.

Abdur Rehman’s 5-40 in the first innings was the highest impact bowling performance in the match overshadowing Stuart Broad’s 4-36 in the first innings. Azhar Ali’s knock of 157 in the first innings was also the highest impact batting performance of the match.

Even though Pakistan won the series comprehensively, one major concern for them would be the performance of Adnan Akmal in front of the stumps. His Batting IMPACT of 0.85 after the entire test series is a definite pointer to his batting inadequacy on the international stage.

Spinners clearly ruled the roost over their faster bowling counterparts in this series with Ajmal being the highest impact player of the series (also in our earlier report) followed by Panesar for England (excellent comeback into the side after 2 years) and Rehman. When it comes to the pace bowling department only Broad and Gul managed to have a reasonable impact in the test series.

One of the biggest surprises of the series was however the inefficiency of Swann in the entire series. His rival Panesar had a much higher bowling IMPACT than Swann in the entire series. James Anderson, the spearhead of the English bowling attack also had an off series compared to his own standards and their pace bowlers’ inefficiency was the main reason behind England’s failure to hold the Pakistani batsmen.

Even more than their bowling though, England’s fallacy with their batting throughout this series will be a huge concern for Andy Flower considering their batters had performed tremendously well over the past year or so. Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell both had a batting IMPACT lesser than that of Stuart Board in the entire series which really speaks volumes about England’s batting demise in this series.

Overall, England’s Team Batting IMPACT in the series was meagre 1.21 to Pakistan’s 2.02 while their Team Bowling IMPACT stood at 1.95 to Pakistan’s 2.36. Pakistan dominated in both the departments but it was England’s failure in the batting department that cost them crucial periods where they were ahead of Pakistan in the series.

All in all this series was as much of Pakistan’s supremacy as much as of England’s inability (still) to cope with the tweakers in spinner friendly conditions. The series also goes on to show how the ICC Test Rankings may not be a definitive pointer to a team’s supremacy on the world stage. In the last 6 months there have been two instances of the number one team falling to whitewashes away from home. India’s defeat to England and England’s defeat to Pakistan were both completely unexpected but at no point of time can one say that the results were unjustifiable with accord to the opposition’s performance.

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