Originally Posted by wpdavid
Yeh - Saqlain cleaned up at the end of Day 5 on one of our more spin-friendly surfaces.
As I recall he barely got a ball off the straight all game, and the tail-end wickets he picked-up were due to England ineptitude rather than his own skill. Only Waqar Younis came close to bowling well that Test, for mine.
Pakistan winning that Second Test was more about England doing a Pakistan (dropping ****loads of catches, bowling dangerously but waywardly, batting brilliantly then diabolically in the same innings, having fortune conspire against them with the wickets off no-balls to compound their own ineptitude) than Pakistan playing especially well.
If England had played at Old Trafford as they had at Lord's - ie, caught the catches, bowled accurately and batted consistently through the order rather than one or two top-order doing the job and everyone else falling off the radar - then Pakistan would've been wiped off the turf same way everyone else who'd faced England for the previous 12 months (except Sri Lanka at Galle) had been.
BTW I agree that they were streets ahead of any other two-Test-pre-Ashes series we've had - but when that amounts to Bangladesh and a West Indies who were only pitched there on a random whim and clearly had precious little interest, or quality, then that's really
no achievement. Pakistan of 2001 were still very much not strong or strong-ish. Wasim and Waqar were past it; Shoaib was ill; Saqlain was neutered by the pitches; Saeed Anwar was past his best; Mohammad Yousuf was then what he is now, a flat-track bully; the also-rans were either hopeless (Azhar Mahmood) or being completely mismanaged (Abdur Razzaq being asked to open the batting?
). The only quality players on that tour were Inzamam and, of all people, Rashid Latif, who was never more than a decent wicketkeeper-batsman.