It has been four years since England lost a test series at home and now Pakistan are one game away from ending that streak following their win at Lord’s. It is fair to say that it is in Pakistan’s DNA to go from the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous in a matter of moments. They are flying high at this moment in time. Primarily because of p for preparation.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s side showcased how to bat, bowl and field, a formula Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss have been trying to find for months and months.
What the toss!?
Root’s decision to bat first on a green pitch with overcast conditions left many scratching their heads. Perhaps the only thing missing from the toss was Nasser Hussain interviewing the two captains. Nonetheless, the Pakistani captain would have been jumping for joy when Root decided to send Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman out to bat. Regardless of what people thought of the decision at the time, as batsmen you still have to do your jobs.
P for preparation, not Pakistan
Upon their arrival in England, Pakistan played three matches against domestic sides, including Ireland’s inaugural test match in Dublin. Despite surviving a scare against the Irish, preparation leading up to the main event paid off. And what do you know? Pakistan didn’t just win, but they performed at their very best. Are England watching? In previous years, Pakistan would have turned up for, bowled some no-balls, got walloped and gone back home. Now, with former captain Inzamam Ul-Haq as chief selector, the very strict Micky Arthur as the coach and the very demanding Sarfraz Ahmed as captain, things are changing and paying off.
The inexperienced ones
Following the retirements of Misbah Ul-Haq and Younis Khan, the Pakistani team had found themselves losing valuable experience and knowledge, both on the field and in the dressing room. Despite its inexperience, the manner in which the Pakistani team batted as a unit has to be applauded. In particular the partnership between Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail. Even though it lasted only 75 runs, they saw off tricky conditions early on day 2 setting a strong platform. Are you still watching England? The biggest compliment you can give Pakistan is that in May, in typical English conditions at Lord’s, you couldn’t tell who the home side was.
Everyone needs variety
Prior to the game, many would have questioned Pakistan’s inexperience, their batting, and even their fielding, but never their bowling. Even though they were asked to bowl in favourable conditions, they still showed the cleverness to read the pitch correctly. With superb skill they showcased their ability to hurt a brittle England batting line-up. Three of England’s top five were clean bowled in first innings; indicating pitching it up was the way to go. But when you have a left-arm paceman in Mohammed Amir, the Mohammed Asif-like swing bowling from Abbas, the rough natured Hasan Ali, the accurate Faheem Ashraf and the unpredictable leg-spin of Shadab Khan, as a captain you are going to have a lot of fun. Many teams, including England, struggle away from home. One area these sides should look at is adding variety to their line-up.