Crushing defeat for Pakistan

Who would have thought this was the same England side that were thrashed so badly by Sri Lanka a few weeks ago. England once more have a spring in their step and what’s more, there was no Andrew Flintoff to help them to storm back. Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar produced excellent performances to bowl Pakistan out for 222.

Pakistan resumed on 12 without loss, but it was not long before England made their first breakthrough. Steve Harmison, with no sign of any injury, makeshift opener Kamran Akmal gloved one that reared viciously off a length. Akmal’s opening partner, Imran Farhat, struggled against Harmison’s pace and bounce, understandable as he was nursing a broken finger. It was Monty Panesar who proved to be his downfall though, Farhat was caught at short leg.

Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf saw Pakistan safely to lunch. If Pakistan were to get anything from this match, these two and Inzamam Ul-Haq would need to score big. Yousuf has often excelled with his back to the wall, but Panesar proved too good for him today. Deceiving him with flight, Yousuf overbalanced, his foot on the line as Geraint Jones whipped off the bails. Panesar also removed the other key figure, Inzamam, but not before he was given a painful going over by Harmison. After the Durham bowler’s fiery assault, he edged Panesar onto his boot and into the hands of Alistair Cook at silly point.

Younis Khan was the one Pakistan batsman who impressed; he scored a resilient 62 before becoming Panesar’s fourth victim. The Northants spinner soon completed his five-wicket haul with the wicket of Faisal Iqbal. This was undoubtedly Panesar’s best showing in England colours yet. He was accurate, used flight intelligently and found prodigious turn, more than the wrist spin pairing of Danish Kaneria and Shahid Afridi.

Pakistan were now six down, and Harmison returned to skittle the lower order. He found little resistance from the lower order, and was able to complete his first career ten-wicket match as well as secure a thumping victory for England. He and Panesar both bowled superbly throughout the game and aside from one run out, took all the Pakistani wickets between them.

Pakistan now have plenty of thinking to do before next week’s clash at Headingley. Their batting performance really needs improving, and their spinners lacked penetration. However, with several injuries in the squad it will be hard for them to bounce back.

Pakistan 119 all out
Younis Khan 44, Mohammad Yousuf 38
Steve Harmison 6-19, Monty Panesar 3-21

England 461-9 dec.
Alastair Cook 127, Ian Bell 106*
Umar Gul 3-96, Abdul Razzaq 2-72

Pakistan 222 all out
Younis Khan 62, Imran Farhat 24
Steve Harmison 5-57, Monty Panesar 5-72

England win by an innings and 120 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Steve Harmison

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Alex Crampton