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ljkeane

Cricket 30: World Twenty20 and beyond

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After two days I think it's fair to say that the Third Test isn't going as well for England as the Second Test did. The Pakistan selectors are having a good game, with one of their changes taking 5 wickets and the second only being denied a first century by being run out by his partner. Aslam looks like a great find for Pakistan, he seemed to have a very solid technique and temperament which isn't something you can always say about Pakistan's openers. It was a great innings for Azhar Ali as well (the unfortunate run-out excepted), England will be glad to have dismissed him with the final ball but I'm not sure Misbah walking to the crease tomorrow will be the best sight given that they've only got a lead of 40.

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Fantastic fight back from England, though I still think they're eminently capable of collapsing like a house of cards and leaving Pakistan with 200 to win in the fourth innings.

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3 hours ago, Hereward said:

collapsing like a house of cards

A description more apt to the Australian batting performance of being bowled out for 106 and then being 3/25 (albeit one of them the nightwatchman Lyon) chasing a target of 400+. In home conditions with their spinners, the Aussie batsmen are being completely outfoxed by the Sri Lankans.

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It doesn't look like it's going to make much difference with the pitch looking this flat. It's this sort of situation were having a frontline spinner would be nice.

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20 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

It doesn't look like it's going to make much difference with the pitch looking this flat. It's this sort of situation were having a frontline spinner would be nice.

The Pakistani tail is quite long and very fragile. Numbers 8-11 could all go in a flash against some quality bowling on the pressure of a fifth day. If England can get it down to needing four wickets with an hour to go, I'd give them an even chance of doing it.

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Hopefully that'll give Moeen a bit of confidence. Vaughan is getting increasingly annoyed with the field arrangement.

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Anderson picks up a wicket and, perhaps more importantly, he's getting some reverse swing. That might make things interesting.

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46 overs left to get 7 wickets. I say England are in the box seat to get this.

If they can pick up Misbah cheaply, there's not much left protecting that long tail.

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Nope. Overturned. Still four wickets to gol

OK, and NOW the seventh wicket falls.

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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Last real batsman gone. He gave it a good shot got more than half their runs by himself.

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You'd think that's probably it with all the recognised batsmen gone, it'd be a great effort to salvage a draw from here.

On the plus side for Pakistan they seem to have found themselves a good player in Aslam. Test quality openers aren't easy to come by these days, as England have found.

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Real gutsy from Sohail and Rahat. Pleasing symmetry for 2 each for the bowlers, and good to see Finn finally get going again.

The 3-4% thing keeps getting mentioned but that includes massive deficits as well, and England were only just over 100 behind, be nicer to see stats on a 100-150 deficit.

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Great win for England, it's particularly impressive because they did bowl really well as a unit to dismiss Pakistan, it wasn't a case of the other team self-destructing (aside from Hafeez's embarrassing dismissal). Pakistan must feel very low after losing from what had been a strong position, but given the swings in momentum throughout the series I wouldn't bet against them striking back at The Oval.

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Pakistan are slowly pulling away in this Test.

It must be infuriating as an English bowler...a few dropped catches and this tail is really wagging. 77 runs for the 7th wicket partnership, 37 for the 8th wicket, and this 9th wicket partnership is worth 92* so far.

At 6/320 England must have thought they could wrap up the tail without conceding too much of a lead, but now the lead is 200 and Pakistan may be even thinking if they can stretch this out for longer, they may only have to bat once.

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England look pretty screwed here.

Credit to Pakistan though, they've really stuck at it in this series which a lot of teams don't do away from home anymore.

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4 hours ago, ljkeane said:

England look pretty screwed here.

Credit to Pakistan though, they've really stuck at it in this series which a lot of teams don't do away from home anymore.

It does seem hard to see England saving this match, they really needed Cook and/or Root to stay in. There's still Bairstow and Moeen to come so it's not entirely hopeless, but it'll be a miraculous performance if they do get out of this situation. Their top/middle order batting hasn't impressed in this match at all, surely Vince has had his last chance at Test cricket for the moment after such a limp dismissal?

Younis Khan has turned round his series in impressive style, I was amused by this description of his batting earlier in the series:

Earlier in the tour it hasn't been like this, it has been a horror comedy. At times it was as if gremlins were biting him, he was hopping across a road dressed as an elf, he had fallen off the back of a truck, a man who has forgotten how gravity works. He has five limbs, his left and right feet are in an eternal dance off against each other, and he's auditioning to play the plastic bag in the American Beauty reboot. That's what Twitter thought. Batting coaches and cricket analysts probably just combusted upon watching it.

He's definitely turned it round now, that was a match-winning innings if ever there was one.

 

 

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Pakistan really closing in now. 4 more wickets to get and England still aren't in positive territory yet. To be fair, Woakes and Broad have scored first-class centuries and Bairstow is looking good, so an optimist could see a path to England setting a 100+ target.

Regarding Younis Khan, he's never been the sort of player who has looked incredibly languid elegant at the crease. Don't get me wrong, he has some great shots (a couple of those cover drives stand out, as well as the ease with which he lifted the spinners into the stands) but even at the best of times he bats in a workman-like manner, can be jumpy and offer a few nicks and other chances. Sort of almost makes it more impressive that he makes the most of his obvious talent as opposed to so many others who might look more natural but keep on throwing it away cheaply.

Edited by Jeor

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You're right Younis has never been the kind of player who looks elegant, I think he's just flat out been poor in the first three tests though so, fair play, to dig in and get a potentially match winning score like that was a great effort.

I think it's pretty clear at this point England need to sort out their top order. Hales and Vince just don't look like test batsmen at the moment and I'm still not convinced by Ballance either.

I think I'd probably bump Ali up to 5 with him showing in this series he's still got a bit to offer with the bat, especially considering they'll probably want to play Rashid as well in India. Opener is a problem but maybe give Robson another go? I've got no idea what they'll do at 4, they might give Ballance a bit more time or maybe pick one of Bairstow or Buttler as a batsman.

ETA: Woakes and Bairstow gone with England still trailing. That's pretty much the nail in the coffin of England's chances then.

Edited by ljkeane

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