Oh dear. That wasn’t what the doctor ordered. Pakistan are now firmly in position to dominate this game. And it’s mostly thanks to Azhar Ali, who scored a brilliant old fashioned test hundred. Hales and Vince please take note.
I wasn’t listening to TMS today as I was at home watching on TV. However, apparently Graeme Swann said he’d eat his hat if Pakistan made 400. It could have been his cat, not his hat, but I got this information second hand. I wonder if he’ll be eating it with chips and salad?
To be fair to old motor mouth, I also thought Pakistan’s chances of making a big score were very slim at the start of the day. Normally Edgbaston quickens up on days two and three. This time it died. I’ve seen more life at a cemetery.
As a result our bowlers toiled without reward. Indeed, they took just two miserable wickets all day. It was like going back in time and watching England play Australia in the 1990s … although we probably wouldn’t have created a bonus run out in the days when Fat Gatt was ‘patrolling’ the covers.
So where did it all go wrong? Although none of our attack bowled terribly, none of them performed particularly well either. Jimmy wasn’t himself – more about that later – and Broad had yet another day when he looked, well, a bit average to be honest. Meanwhile, Chris Woakes lost his golden touch until the very last ball of the day.
All eyes were on Steve Finn after an hour’s play and he couldn’t quite deliver either. He didn’t bowl badly – it was good to see him sprinting to the wicket and actually trying to bowl fast for a change – but it wasn’t really his pitch. Then again, it probably wouldn’t have been Ball’s pitch either.
Rather than making fateful predictions in the commentary box, I wish Graeme Swann had been out on the field bowling. You really need a quality spinner when the seamers struggle but England only have Moeen.
I don’t really blame Mo – he always does his best – but he’s learning on the job and still isn’t troubling the Pakistani batsmen. Where on earth was Adil Rashid? He might have gone for a few runs but the odd wicket would have been invaluable.
With Pakistan 257-3, now just 40 runs behind, it could be curtains unless we take quick wickets tomorrow morning. Pakistan’s batsmen really applied themselves – Sami Aslam was a revelation for someone so young – and he really put England’s top order to shame. I have no idea why the tourists’ selectors initially thought Shan Masood was a better bet.
The most frustrating thing for me, however, is that England looked so ragged in the field. There were mis-fields, overthrows, dropped catches, and James Anderson had an unsightly tantrum. That’s not what you want to see from your most senior bowler.
I don’t want to put the boot in too much, as Jimmy has been a brilliant servant for England. However, he really let himself down today. There’s no need for experienced campaigners to run down the pitch (Anderson was warned twice) and his reaction was petulant and embarrassing. Umpires have a tough job and Jimmy should’ve shown more respect.
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