Dubai Test review: Yasir Shah's presence made a big difference

Tags: Pakistan Vs England in UAE 2015, England Vs Pakistan 2nd Test at Dubai , Oct 22 - 26, 2015, Pakistan, England

Published on: Oct 27, 2015

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England would have been buoyed by the manner in which they turned around the Abu Dhabi Test, and almost pulled off a spectacular victory.

England would have been buoyed by the manner in which they turned around the Abu Dhabi Test, and almost pulled off a spectacular victory. At the end of the day though, the scoreline read 0-0, which meant Pakistan had an opportunity to fight back at Dubai. This is exactly what they did, achieving what England narrowly failed to do in the first Test. To their credit, England put up some stubborn resistance on the final day, almost taking the team to the brink of a draw. But, Pakistan had enough resources to stave off England's fight back, deservingly winning the game. Not that England did not deserve the same in the first Test, but luck and light are not on their side.

The one player Pakistan missed in the first Test as Alastair Cook piled on the agony for the Pakistanis was leggie Yasir Shah. The others in the match just weren't penetrative enough. As soon as Shah returned to the side, the bowling received an edge. His eight wickets in the Test, made a major difference. Shah picked up some crucial scalps during the course of the Test, none bigger than that of opposition skipper Alastair Cook, and that too in both innings of the Test. On the subcontinent, England struggle when their skipper fails to get a big score, for they don't have any other player, who can dig in and play the long innings.

For the first couple of days, the match hung in the balance, but it was England's batting collapse in the first innings that widened the gulf between the teams. In response to Pakistan's first-innings total of 378, England found themselves in a decent position at 206 for 3. From that point, it all went wrong for England, and that is where they lost the Test. Yasir and Wahab Riaz came up with inspired spells to blow away England. From 206 for 3, they crumbled to 242 all out and gave Pakistan a significant lead. It was always going to be an uphill task for England from thereon, and in spite of a trying hard on day five, they fell short.

Pakistan had plenty of reasons to cheer from their efforts at Dubai. As mentioned above, both Yasir and Riaz were in fine form with the ball. In Yasir's presence, Zulfiqar Babar also made a greater impact. They were big positives in the batting as well. Both the veterans, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan shone, proving that they are still not finished. While Misbah came up with a hundred in the first innings, Younis added one to his tally in the second. Both were crucial in their own respect. Further, Asad Shafiq shone with half-centuries in both innings and added to England's woes.

England faltered mainly because they could not get a big score in the first innings. They needed someone to play the big knock, but not a single player reached three figures. While Cook was out for 65 in the first innings, Joe Root was dismissed for 88, and Jonny Bairstow just short of a fifty. This is where they fell behind. Root, in particular, is getting into a not so good habit of falling just before his hundred. The collapse that followed made matters doubly difficult for England. Their bowling also failed to make much of an impact, as England were made to rue missed opportunities.

-- By A Cricket Analyst

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