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Dubai International Stadium
Pakistan completed a 3-0 whitewash of world number one side England with a 71-run win on day four of the final Test in Dubai.
Chasing 324 for victory, England went from 36-0 at the start of the day to 252 all out in the evening session.
Opener Alastair Cook hit 49 and all of the misfiring middle order made starts, but wickets fell regularly and the result never seemed in much doubt.
Matt Prior provided some late resistance but was left stranded on 49 as Pakistan completed victory with a day to spare.
Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up 4-67, taking his series tally to 24, and seam bowler Umar Gul finished with 4-61.
England's shortcomings, with bat but not ball, have been all too evident over the past three weeks - and it is a measure of their fallibility that they should contrive to lose this last Test after having Pakistan 44-7 on the first morning.
So often in this series, England's out-of-form batsmen have simply been unable to establish themselves at the crease in these alien climes against Pakistan spinners Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.
The final act was merely a variation on that theme, almost everyone coming through the 'danger period' England identified at the start of each batsman's innings only to then get out in pairs just when it seemed the habitual trend of failure might conceivably be bucked.
The afternoon wickets of Kevin Pietersen, Cook, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan followed those of Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott this morning.
Ajmal was the chief tormentor of England's top order, bowling in tandem for much of the second session with Rehman - who was unchanged for 30 overs.
Gul then accelerated England's descent to defeat. But it was the slow left-armer who struck the first blow when Strauss, who had already survived a straightforward caught-behind chance off Gul, went without addition lbw on the back foot.
Trott then fell shortly before lunch, sweeping Ajmal straight to deep backward-square.
Cook's luck was in during an ultra-patient 187-ball 49 which took more than four hours.
But England needed much more than a touch of good fortune if their out-of form batsmen were to achieve even qualified redemption on this fair pitch.
Cook passed a notable personal milestone when, with his 22nd run, he became the second-youngest batsman in cricket history to reach 6,000 in Tests.
He ought to have gone last night, dropped at third slip off Gul on just four, and this morning was put down on 31 by Gul himself after mis-sweeping Rehman into the leg-side deep.
He was also the batsman on strike when Pakistan squandered their final DRS option, Ajmal reviewing an lbw for an off-break that pitched outside leg-stump.
England had one precious review still available, after Strauss used up the first one to no avail. But it was to be no use to any of their frontline batsmen.
Pietersen hinted at much better when he went up the wicket to Rehman and hit him for a straight four and then six in the same over - shots that raised stoic England's scoring rate to almost two runs an over.
But Ajmal, scourge of the tourists with his doosras in the first Test here, out-thought both Pietersen and Cook with conventional off-breaks this time.
He bowled Pietersen between bat and pad, on the front-foot defence, from round the wicket - and then had Cook, trying to push his 50th run to leg, very well-caught at slip by a diving Younus Khan.
Bell and Morgan appeared to tame the spinners with the old ball, only to fall in quick succession when Misbah-ul-Haq turned back to Gul's pace.
It was a lack of that which did for Bell, embarrassingly mistiming a cut for a simple catch at cover - and then Gul produced a fine delivery to find Morgan's edge for a caught-behind on the back foot.
England had lost two big wickets for just three runs for the second time in the innings, a statistic they could ill afford if they were to get anywhere near such a tough target.
All but the most fanciful hopes of that were gone by tea - and although Prior and the tail tried to salvage some pride with a counter-attack, it was little more than a token effort from a team who may not now still be top of that Test table when the annual awards are handed out at the start of April.
.... and to think I got up at 1 O'clock to watch this debacle! The cricketers have now joined the footballers in getting an 'A' for talk, and a 'C' for performance! Ah well ..... back to bed. p.s. I hope the selectors have the guts to clean house (like the Rugby guys) and start again, the footballers haven't, so far.
Posted 14:01 6th February 2012
I thought, after last summer, in Messrs Bell, Cook and Trott we had the best batsmen in the world. What is plapably evident is that our batsmen are the best in the world on English wickets where seam is king. Put them on a slow turning strip, they are lacking in technique. When I i used to play, not so many years ago, the mantra was always 'get a big stride in', tack your bat behind the pad and nullify the chances of an LBW. Watching the English front line batsmen, the number of times that they shuffled back and across in front of their stumps, was crazy - they invited the LBW. With the current side, England will continue to win test matches on seamy English wickets but until our batsmen are prepared forget about playing back against the top class spinners, we can write off any chances of of winning on the sub-continent or in Dubai
Posted 13:44 6th February 2012
dear mr andrew strass and 10 other idiots, dont bother coming home, stay out there, your a disgrace to the england shirts you wear, worlds best test team?? not on this showing, complete and utter rubbish,turn up ,play and run away with the money, pathetic
Posted 13:44 6th February 2012
Great Win, Excellent Performances through out the series, Well Done Pakistan. All we need now is Mohammed Amir back to complete this team and please don't change the management, Mohsin Khan is doing a great job. With 1 eye to the future maybe they should look at giving Umar Akmal a game next time the series is wrapped up, Emense talent but needs experience. Bring on the next challenge :-).
Posted 13:43 6th February 2012
England are shambles, they do not have a right to be the No 1 Team in the world. They are a complete joke all the players are nearly pensioners. Pakistan is the best team in the world and so as for you boys go back to practice and use a soft tennis ball as you can not play with a real cricket ball
Posted 13:21 6th February 2012
Lions at home..Lamb's abroad.....No.1 Test nation, Must be kidding.
Posted 13:01 6th February 2012
What an awesome performance, but for Pakistan the real est starts now - Can they maintain that level of performance and repeat it in overseas environments. There is no question talent is there in Pakistan maybe now this "new" approach will instill a togetherness which will help maintain momentum. As for England not too much wrong really, just an inability to bat against spin in non familar conditions more - fact they lost 3-0 down to inertia. Big test for them will be Sri Lanka - ie next series can they learn from this. Final word - thsi series was less about England's bad performances than Pakistans good performances
Posted 12:58 6th February 2012
What a contrast of 2010... A down & out side.. A Thumping win!! English Batsmen look like lambs against Ajmal & Abdur Rehman.. Who bamboozled England with their bowling.. Not to forget the innings of the series by Azhar Ali... Way to go Pakistan Cricket!! Arguably the most talented side in the globe...
Posted 12:52 6th February 2012