- 04 февраля 2012, 09:51
Pakistan are in charge of the third Test and England are facing a whitewash after Younus Khan scored a brilliant century
Good morning, good morning. Seconds out, round 25, and this fight is as fascinating now as it was way back on January 17 when the series started. England, we can assume, are going to come out swinging. They have five wickets in hand, but only three batsmen among them. As Jimmy Anderson has just said "hopefully Straussy and I will set a platform and then Broady and Swanny will come out and be at their destructive best." This, ladies and gents, is going to entertaining to watch.
And that, it seems is all the preamble we are going to have time for, because here come the players.
44th over: England 106-6 (Strauss 41, Anderson 3) Rehman will bowl the first delivery of the day, to Jimmy Anderson. He promised earlier this week that today's IPL auction "would not be a distraction for the team". Little did he know how right he was - Jimmy attracted no bids, and has not been bought. He has though been bowled...
WICKET! Anderson 4 b Rehman (England 106-7) Well, I guess you good say he did his job in that he got through the night, but so far as night watches go, Anderson's effort here was no Rembrandt. He rashly decided to drive against the spin, but the ball landed in the footmarks and span back through the gate into the stumps.
45th over: England 109-7 (Strauss 43, Broad 2) This is the key partnership of the morning. Ajmal is on now, bowling around the wicket to Broadm and Strauss immediately gives him the strike by taking a single off the first ball. Broad paddle-sweeps two runs away fine, surviving an optimistic LBW appeal as he does so.
46th over: England 110-7 (Strauss 44, Broad 2) "My american cricket-loving girlfriend who will be keeping YOU company while I go to bed in a few overs, has just asked me: "is this how it feels to be an England fan, cherishing every run without a wi... oh - damn, Jimmy'." You're leaving me alone with your cricket-loving girlfriend, Simon Bereton? Oh, mercy. It's a good thing you've got the married OBO writer doing the first shift, rather than the single (and devastatingly seductive) Mr Robert Smyth. Hack-hack-hack, ahem. Excuse me, I've something tickling the back of my throat. Just a single from Rehman's second over.
47th over: England 112-7 (Strauss 44, Broad 3) The score is on Nelson, and the old curse almost strikes as Broad is forced to dive full-length into the crease, bat stretched out in front of him, to beat a throw from the outfield and complete a quick single.
48th over: England 114-7 (Strauss 46, Broad 4) "I've got a Mexican, cricket-hating wife," says James Gordon. "You're safe with her Andy. Not a cat in hell's chance." Somehow this riff seems to be stumbling blindly into territory I have no desire to go near. I'm not sure the world is ready for an OBO Readers' Spouses special just yet, hard as times are at the grauniad. Here's Gary Naylor, steering us in an altogether more wholesome direction: Waqar seems as classy with mic in hand as he was with ball in hand. "I"m still ill though, so I could be hallucinating all this."
49th over: England 116-7 (Strauss 46, Broad 4) England's lead grows a little more, up to 17, as Strauss cuts two runs to deep point. Here's Ian Forth, who I can't help but notice seems to be emailing from his wife's account, with a Smyth-esque piece of statgazzary: "Had a quick fossick through statsguru today. A side batting first and scoring less than 100 has only gone on to win in 4 test matches. The last time it happened was 1907. So there really is almost nothing whatsoever to worry about." A quick fossick? What a delightful turn of phrase. As for your conclusions, well, I'm sure Disraeli would have something to say about lies, damned lies, and emails from optimistic OBO readers.
50th over: England 121-7 (Strauss 53, Broad 4) Four! And, more important still, fifty! Well played Andrew Strauss. It has taken all of 141 balls, ands has been quite the ugliest half-ton he has scored in Test cricket, if also one of the most useful. It is only his second fifty in his last 15 Test innings, a run stretching back over 12 months.
REFERRAL! Broad 4 LBW Ajmal Pakistan have one review left, and they have decided to spend it on this LBW appeal. The on-field decision was not out.
WICKET! Broad 4 LBW Ajmal (England 121-8) Oh dear, England. Broad has to go, though he's not all that happy about it. The delivery that did for him was a doosra, and despite what most people who saw it seemed to think when they saw the size of the stride he took down the pitch, Hawkeye shows it hit him in line, and would have gone on to hit the middle of middle stump.
52nd over: England 122-8 (Strauss 53, Swann 0) Swann has come out to bat in a baseball cap. His choice of headgear is, I'd guess, a portent of how he intends to play. Mike Selvey is gobsmacked by that decision against Broad. "How can that be out? It's hit him outside the line. And I would hazard beyond the 2.5 m mark too." Hawkeye says otherwise, but other than that I'm not sure you'll find many people who'll disagree with you about how wicket that looked.
53rd over: England 125-8 (Strauss 55, Swann 3) I have to say I find it a little hard to reason my way through all the permutations and complications of the DRS when I've had so little sleep, and the decisions come so thick and fast. It irritates me though that in this Test it has become such a regular feature of the play. Every other over seems to include a review of one sort or another, and, at the risk of sounding very fogeyish, it rather disruptes the rhythm of the play. "Watching proceedings this morning it's looking good - England looking likely to build a healthy first innings lead of at least 35," says Luke Ballard. "With that sort of monster to overhaul, what sort of target could pakistan conceivably set that would be out of England's reach? Do you think they would need to reach triple figures in their second innings?" After their performances in the last two innings, who could say? Anything more than 150 would be intimidating.
54th over: England 129-8 (Strauss 55, Swann 7) Swann flicks four runs away to fine leg. It's going to be interesting to see how he plays this - and as I type this he has just executed a dapper forward defensive. It has irritated me for years that he squanders his batting talent by giving himself licence to play shots and then brushing his dismissals off as "just the way I play."
WICKET! Strauss 56 st Akmal b Rehman (England 133-9) Strauss goes! He was trying to slog away towards the leg side, but missed the ball and was stumped by Akmal. It was good 'keeping from him, and a rather embarrassing end to a fantastic innings by England's skipper. And Rehman has his fifth wicket. He'd never had a five-wicket haul in Test cricket before this series, now he has two in two matches. Well, scratch what I said about Swann trying to play sensibly, he has to hit out now.
55th over: England 137-9 (Swann 11, Panesar 0) Swann sweeps four more away to fine leg, and then...
REFERRAL! Swann 11 LBW Ajmal Steve Davis shakes his head, and though Hawkeye shows the ball would have knocked over off-stump, it's not so very sure of itself that the third umpire thinks he can overturn the on-field decision. So it is not out and Swann bats on.
WICKET! Swann 16 c Rehman b Ajmal (England 141 all out) Well, it only costs them four runs. Swann sweeps one more four, and then lofts a catch out to the deep. England are all out with a lead of 42.
The game, as they say, is afoot. I'll be back in five minutes for the start of the penultimate chapter.
1st over: Pakistan 0-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 0, Taufeeq Umar 0) Goodness me this is all starting to feel a little familiar. Hafeez is taking strike, and Anderson has the ball. "So once again, England's bowlers have to drag the team out of a batsmen-induced mire," writes Chris Langmead. "I wonder, despite all the bland clichés about team spirit in press conferences, whether Messrs Broad, Anderson, Swann and Panesar aren't getting just a bit ticked off that the batting line up isn't pulling its weight, especially as it's the bowlers who seem to get ultimately dropped as a result? I'm sure Matthew Hoggard would agree." I suspect you are right. There were some rather pointed comments about the apparent innocuousness of the pitch made by both Broad and Anderson yesterday. (Note: Somebody needs to silence the folk singing Jerusalem. Silence them permanently.)
2nd over: Pakistan 0-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 0, Taufeeq Umar 0) trail England by 42 Taufeeq takes strike, knowing he's one good ball or bad shot away from bagging a pair. There's plenty of carry off the pitch for England's opening pair, and Baroad rips a short ball past Taufeeq's dangling bat, but you still wonder whether Bumble has a point when he says "there's nothing at all in this surface". A batsman who can master this pitch and score the first hundred of the series would win his team the match.
3rd over: Pakistan 0-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 0, Taufeeq Umar 0) trail England by 42 on the first innings A little swing for Anderson, whos is bowling quite beautifully. "Tough old game this cricket," sasy Ken Danbury. "Strauss is top scorer in the match so far. If you listen to Boycott you would think he had cost England the game." Did you mean to say "Tough old game this cricket," Ken? Or would "miserable old bugger this Boycott," have been more accurate?
4th over: Pakistan 5-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 4, Taufeeq Umar 1) trail England by 42 on the first innings At last, a run. Five of them, in fact. Taufeeq pushes a single to the on side, and Hafeez flicks four to fine leg. Compared to the slapdash approach of the opening overs of the first innings, the openers are looking altogether more resolute here. As Rameez Raja has just said, only half in jest, "even a partnership of six looks pretty substantial." If Pakistan can muster 200 between them, they will be well on their way to a whitewash.
5th over: Pakistan 7-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 5, Taufeeq Umar 2) trail England by 42 on the first innings "No wickets so far," harrumphs Bumble. "Why not?"
6th over: Pakistan 11-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 9, Taufeeq Umar 2) trail England by 42 on the first innings An lbw appeal from England, lead by Broad. Of course he thinks it is out, but Strauss decides not to refer it, rightly pointing out that the ball hit Hafeez so high up on the pads that it would have gone over the top. Broad's line drifts out well wide of off-stump, and Hafeez pounces on the rare opportunity to score some easy run. He creams a drive away square for four so thunderous that the sound should reach me here in the office any second now.
7th over: Pakistan 11-0 (Mohammad Hafeez 9, Taufeeq Umar 6) trail England by 42 on the first innings Another terrific shot, as Taufeeq latches on to a similarly loose delivery to the one that Broad gifted to Hafeez in the last over. Anderson's bad ball was a little shorter and a little wider, and Tauffeq cut it away for four off the back foot. England appeal for off the next ball, but Anderson has drifted so wide on the crease that it is a no ball.
WICKET! Taufeeq 6 c Strauss b Anderson (Pakistan 16-1) That's not a no ball though, it's a brilliant piece of bowling by Anderson, who has been using the width of the crease to cause the batsmen different, difficult problems. This ball, as Bumble points out, was delivered from a little closer in, and Taufeeq edged the ball through to first slip.
8th over: Pakistan 17-1 (Mohammad Hafeez 10, Azhar Ali 0) Strauss brings Monty into the attack, and he hurries through six balls for the cost of just a single.
9th over: Pakistan 18-1 (Mohammad Hafeez 10, Azhar Ali 0) "What's wrong Andy? Dreaming of bed at 6:30 on a lovely sunny Saturday evening," asks Peter Kunzli, who is seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is 7.30am on Saturday morning, but still... "I thought you OBO'ers went to bed at 8pm ready for the off next day." Indeed we do, Peter, that's exactly right. And then when we get there we lie awake all night torturing ourselves with thoughts of the little typos and miscalculations in the scores we made during that day's play. After all these years Smyth and myself are still searching of the perfect OBO, a little like Patrick Swayze with his wave in Point Break. Of course we'll never find it, but the pursuit of the ideal is what keeps us sharp, on the edge, where we need to be, if you'll excuse me mixing my movie references.
10th over: Pakistan 24-1 (Mohammad Hafeez 21, Azhar Ali 0) "That stroke excited you, didn't it?" says Aamer Sohail to his viewers, in a way that makes it sound very much like an order rather than a question. And he's right, it did. What a duel this is between Hafeez and Monty. Monty lunges out and lands a glancing blow, as Hafeez survives an LBW appeal. He then counters, stepping out and slashing a six down the ground over Monty's head. Having won the advantage, Hafeez makes another thrust, steering four through third man.
WICKET! Hafeez 21 LBW (Pakistan 28-2) But Monty wins in the end, landing the killer blow with a faster, flatter delivery that broke off the pitch just enough to slide past Hafeez's attempted sweep shot and hit him on the pad in front of off-stump. Touché. That was an enthralling little spell of cricket.
11th over: Pakistan 28-2 (Ali 0 Younus 0) Azhar Ali plays out a maiden against Anderson. "They just used Ian Forth's stat on the telly and gave no credit! Shameful plagiarism! "They just used Ian Forth's stat on the telly and gave no credit!" points out Andrew Hulbert. "Shameful plagiarism!" They did indeed. But then, to be fair, we crib an awful lot off them in return here on the OBO. Including, you know, the footage of the cricket.
12th over: Pakistan 30-2 (Ali 1 Younus 1) Two singles off Monty's latest over, but I'm lagging behind the over-rate, so if you'll excuse me we'll move swiftly on.
13th over: Pakistan 30-2 (Ali 1 Younus 1) Stuart Broad replaces Anderson, for a final little spell before the break. Ali continues to bat with admirable circumspection, and it is another maiden. He now has one run off 23 balls.
14th over: Pakistan 30-2 (Ali 1 Younus 1) Another maiden, the third in the last four overs as these two try to draw the sting from England's bowling.
15th over: Pakistan 30-2 (Ali 1 Younus 1) The last over of the morning is, perhaps unsurprisingly, another quiet one. Azhar Ali has played a dogged little innings here, blocking out another maiden.
So, at lunch Pakistan still trail by 12 runs. Rob Smyth will be here from 8.30am or so for the afternoon session. Send your emails to him now, please, on [email protected].
Morning. The Decision Review Series hurtles towards its conclusion. There were six more wickets in the morning session, with Pakistan tucking into their innocent smoothies on 30 for two, 12 runs behind England. This match will probably be over before grandma's put the roast in the crock pot. The ghost of India v England 1981-82 is weeping at this crazy series. I've given up trying to explain it, so will settle purely for description in this session. This will, if the rest of this match is anything to go by, largely entail use of a six-letter word beginning with W.
16th over: Pakistan 30-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 1, Younis 1) It would be interesting to know the mindset of the Pakistan batsmen just now Logically in this situation you'd think, bat carefully and get to around 300. But lurking deep in their subconscious, just alongside the bit about wanting to sexually possess their mothers, must be the thought, we can set any target against this lot and win; we could declare now FFS. Maybe not the FFS bit. Anyway, it's Monty Panesar to bowl the first over after lunch. "Fun in the sun here lads!" says Matt Prior. It's a maiden to Younis Khan. "So, Rob," says John Starbuck, "if you had a hatful of money would you have bought anyone for an IPL side from The Best Test Team In The World?" I could barely care less, although it seems a bit surprising. Isn't it simply because they are only available for a small window?
17th over: Pakistan 31-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 2, Younis 1) Stuart Broad's second ball brings a huge shout for LBW against Azhar Ali. I said 'out' instinctively, but Simon Taufel said not out and he is a marginally better umpire than I am. Replays show the thinnest of inside edges, and that's an exceptional piece of umpiring. "Though there are few unplayable deliveries, the bowlers have found the way to get wickets and have stuck to their plans with great discipline," says Gary Naylor. "I don't know if it's great cricket, but it is great bowling, and an example of how shorter Tests offer so much more than Tests that go the distance on shirtfronts." Can't argue with that, although scarcity is a significant factor in the joy of these Tests. We'd not want them to become the norm.
18th over: Pakistan 31-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 2, Younis 1) Panesar has a lovely rhythm here, and is working on Azhar Ali. Another maiden. "I am a bit confused about some of these reviews," says Andy Moore. "I thought that if a batsmen is struck more than 2.5m from the stumps then a not out decision should not be overturned, yet in all the reviews in this series I haven't seen this looked at once. Stuart Broad's dismissal this morning was clearly a case in point. I'm all for DRS but the anomalies in the system are undermining it, and this seems to be another. Surprised it's been forgotten about really." You won't be surprised to hear me say that I don't know. I thought the 2.5m rule was simply another thing for the on-field umpires to consider and reject if they wish. But I'm not sure. Certainly Broad's dismissal left a feeling of unease, and for the first time yesterday there was a sense that maybe DRS has created a monster. I don't know.
19th over: Pakistan 41-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 5, Younis 8) Younis Khan eases Broad through mid-on for four, a gorgeous stroke. He has been struggling like an Englishman all series but he could take the game away from England with 70 or 80 here. Azhar Ali completes a good over for Pakistan – 10 from it – with a flowing cover drive for three. Cook saved four with a brilliant dive on the boundary, although he is now feeling his knee as a result. "I am not sure what all the commotion is about regarding the number of LBW decisions in this series," says Brian Rafferty. "Padding a ball away is now risky business, no matter where it pitches or how big the batsman's stride. Perhaps, just perhaps, it might be an idea to learn how to consistently get bat on ball." I know what you mean, but that feels like a glib thing to say: it is bloody hard if you have been a brilliant batsman for years and suddenly you find that everything you know is wrong. Pietersen's ongoing radge on the balcony yesterday felt much more significant than a batsman whinging about a dismissal.
20th over: Pakistan 41-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 5, Younis 8) "So," says Ken Danbury, "is Monty our number one spinner now? Swanny doesn't seem to be getting much of a look in on a spin friendly wicket. Pakistan seemed to have done alright with their spin twins. Or is that spin triplets?" Monty is bowling better at the moment, but Swann is definitely still No1. Swann's form is a slight worry, though. He has lost a little of his joie de vivre in the last 12 months.
21st over: Pakistan 47-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 6, Younis 13) Here's Swann, to bowl only his second over of the match. Younus tickles him very fine for four. Pakistan are in the lead now
, and Misbah-ul-Haq declares safe in the knowledge that England's batsmen have the yips and the only thing they can chase is their own tail. "Just so as we are clear," says Mike Selvey. "ICC have increased the 2.5 m limit in UDRS to 3m. So rather than address the more fundamental issue of ridiculously anomalous reviewed decisions according to whether or not the batsman was given out, they have actually increased the way a batsman can be out." It's a problem, for sure. Yesterday you had one batsman (KP) given out after a review when 0.00001 per cent of the ball was hitting stumps, and another (Umar Gul) given not out after a review when 30th over: Pakistan 67-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 21, Younis 18)99999 per cent of the ball was hitting the stumps.
22nd over: Pakistan 53-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 12, Younis 13) Azhar Ali, having scored six from his first 51 balls, scores six from his 52nd ball with a lovely on-the-run drive over long-off off the bowling of Panesar. I was half-joking at this point yesterday when I said that England were going to lose. I'm not joking now. England are up a notorious creek, and they don't got no paddle. "I have recently admitted defeat and joined the gym," apologises Duncan Haskell. "Is it generally accepted that people are allowed to fill up the lockers with their stuff but not put their (refundable) pound in? It drives me Larry David insane, I am tempted to start locking the offending units myself and charging a hefty ransom/getting beat up." You're asking me about gym etiquette. You'd be better off asking Kojak about shampoo.
23rd over: Pakistan 58-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 16, Younis 14) Cook is still struggling a little with his knee. England are struggling a little with their bowling; Azhar Ali takes a half step forward and then rocks back to cut Swann for four. The mood of the match has changed in the last 10 minutes.
24th over: Pakistan 59-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 16, Younis 15) "When Lara broke Sobers' record, ," says Gary Naylor. "Though an overstatement, his point was substantiated a few years later in that SL series when Lara was a one-man batting unit. If DRS makes more batsmen play like Lara, that'll be fantastic." True. But imagine having to change your entire game mid-career.
25th over: Pakistan 60-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 16, Younis 16) Pakistan were 39 for six in this game as well. They look ominously comfortable just now, relative to the rest of the match/series at least. Younis touches Swann to fine leg for a single. "It has got to be worth a quid of anyone's money to have a bit of locker fun in the gym changing room," says Mike Selvey. You can have your beefcake and eat it. Honk.
26th over: Pakistan 62-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 17, Younis 17) A couple of runs in that Panesar over. There have been no centuries in this series. If it ends that way, it'll be the first instance in a series of three Tests or more since the rain-affected India v NZ series in 1995-96, when Lee Germon did a Tony Lewis and made his Test debut as captain. "The UDRS is writing cheques that Test cricket can't cash," writes Tom Marlow. "Maybe to balance the odds of getting out the next thing will be to make the wickets smaller."
27th over: Pakistan 65-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 18, Younis 17) The Sky chaps point out that Swann is bowling a DRS line – much straighter – rather than his usual line. Mind you, the moment I typed that he tossed two up outside off stump, the second of which was driven for a single by Azhar Ali. "Re His Selveness' point, I understand it depends if you are struck in line or not," says Andy Moore. "Nonetheless I haven't seen this aspect of the review laws taken into consideration since the World Cup, and I think Broad could have been 3m forward in any case." In happier news, .
28th over: Pakistan 65-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 18, Younis 17) "Matter of time here Pan, matter of time," says Matt Prior during another Panesar maiden, but the issue here is not the so much as the tick of the scoreboard. Pakistan are 23 ahead; it feels quite absurd to say that if they get another 150 they will probably be favourites. "The Beard Liberation Front reviewing the third day of the third Test note an intriguing battle between ball, bald and beard," says Keith Flett. "Strauss lacked the follicles to detect the flight of a ball in the first session and was stumped. However Panesar's beard is not fully aligned in the second session. BLF Organiser Keith Flett said 'despite discussion about whethe Geoffrey Boycott may stand for Parliament on TMS we can confirm that he is not eligible to be a BLF candidate'."
29th over: Pakistan 67-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 21, Younis 18) England are in trouble here. Nothing is happening. You'd have got long odds on Pakistan 3-0 England before this series. "Morning Rob, morning everybody," says Guy Hornsby. "I have just finished the magnificent A Confederacy Of Dunces, which surely should be an apt title for the batsmen in this series, with Pakistan's recklessness and England's cluelessness. Any other literary titles that the OBO faithful would advocate for these two fine teams? To be honest, I'd be happy with anything to keep out the cold today." It sure wouldn't be 766 And All That, unless you're talking about the number of stiff brandies that were necked in disgust around England in the 15 minutes after last Saturday's collapse.
30th over: Pakistan 67-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 21, Younis 18) Panesar. Maiden. You know the drill. "If Pakistan declared now, England would still lose, right?" says Sara Torvalds, proving that being Finnish is no barrier to a deep awareness of the essential nature of English cricket.
31st over: Pakistan 69-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 22, Younis 19) Two spinners are on, the OBOers' Kryptonite. That and Saturday mornings. I can't really keep up, but rest assured that little is happening. The odd single here and there but, ominously for England, no oohs, aaahs or false strokes. I suppose the old Boycott mantra (No12 on here) applies in these conditions. Talking of Geoffrey... "There must be a picture somewhere of Bearded Boycott," says John Starbuck. "In the late 70s-early 80s, especially under Brearley, you stood out as a freak if you didn't grow a set. The Aussies, even more so." A set of beards? Brearley's Ayatollah phase was wonderful. You can even get a T-shirt of it. "I'd actually quite like that..." mutters Bull.
32nd over: Pakistan 71-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 23, Younis 20) Yesterday we were looking up when a team last lost after bowling the opposition out in double figures on the first day. (It was 1907.) Now I'm tempted to look up the heaviest defeats after bowling the opposition out in double figures on the first day. (It's 210 runs.) This is weirdly dispiriting. England are only 29 runs behind, but it's all starting to feel a bit futile. Futility, like gravity, always wins.
33rd over: Pakistan 73-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 24, Younis 21) Swann goes around the wicket. This is the kind of cricket we expected: England's spinners sitting in the game, Pakistan manoeuvring the ball around for the occasional single. There are two more in that over.
34th over: Pakistan 74-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 25, Younis 21) Prior appeals for a stumping against Younis Khan off the bowling of Panesar, but the back foot did not leave the crease at any stage. "Morning Smyth, morning everybody," says Josh Robinson. "I reckon Pakistan should declare to set England . That'd teach even Steve Waugh a few things about mental disintegration."
35th over: Pakistan 75-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 26, Younis 21) With nothing happening for the spinners, Andrew Strauss returns to the excellent Jimmy Anderson (6-2-8-1). What a bittersweet tour it has been for Anderson and Stuart Broad, who have bowled quite beautifully throughout. I wonder when a pair of seamers last bowled so well when their team was whitewashed. Richard Ellison and Greg Thomas in 1985-86? Paul Jarvis and Paul Taylor in 1992-93? A decent over and it's time for drinks. I can't even be bothered to go to the loo. I'm fed up.
36th over: Pakistan 77-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 22) Panesar continues after the drinks break. He's bowling fairly quickly, too quickly for the liking of some of the Sky commentators. Azhar Ali comes down the track to drive a single to deep mid-off, and then Younus sweeps another. Pakistan are playing well here, just taking the odd single here and there. It's like the Boring Middle Overs of an ODI on downers. "England tour of 1898-99 – Lord Hawke," says Owen Rees, throwing random words into the mix in the hope they will magically resolve this sorry mess. "He batted No11 and did not bowl in that Test match. In for his captaincy. Brilliant." On that subject, I love this story. It's a bit like the Guardian employing Tom Lutz not for his writing or his sub-editing but for his jaunty presence about the place.
37th over: Pakistan 78-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 23) Younis pulls Anderson round the corner to bring up the fifty partnership, only the second of the match. They've played with an admirably even heartbeat. "As an expat Aussie who has been on the wrong side of English crickets supposed dominance recently, it's quite gratifying to see it returning to its roots," says Andrew Wright. We'd heard about this 'regression to the mean' thing, but nobody expected this. Mind you, as depressing as this is, we shouldn't get carried away. England are a lot better than this, and they will show that over the next few years. They've just had a bit of a shocker with the bat. It happens.*
*It'd better not bloody happen in Sri Lanka, mind, with the mania-inducing 4am starts, or I'll put one in the brain of my monitor.
38th over: Pakistan 79-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 24) Younis misses a sweep at Panesar, prompting a huge LBW appeal. He was outside the line. Monty has DRS fever and wants thie review, but Strauss is one of the better DRS captains (what a perverse thing to type) and decides against it.
39th over: Pakistan 80-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 25) Pakistan are in no hurry. It's quite endearing to see a team choose to bat time. It's one of cricket's dying arts. Younis steals another single off Anderson. They have dealt exclusively in single since the 27th over. "Talking of 'the type of cricket we expected'," says Jo Davis, "I can't think of another occasion where everyone's got the likely nature of the matches so wildly wrong." I know. I'm still haunted by the words 'with their depth of batting England shouldn't lose a Test' on the pre-series Cricinfo podcast.
40th over: Pakistan 81-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 26) Panesar continues to wheel away. He's bowled 30 overs in this Test to Swann's eight, and 101.2 to Swann's 53 in the two Tests they have played together. "Looks like England are in for some Hard Times if these two keep going," says Gary Naylor. "With all these LBWs in this series, there's no chance for the keepers to Catch 22. And if Pakistan can pull off a whitewash, will that count as Atonement for the Lord's shenanigans last time round?"
41st over: Pakistan 82-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 27, Younis 27) Giles Clarke is sat in the stand. He's wearing a shiny suit. Somebody needs to tell him he's not Ryan Gosling. Anyway, Pakistan's scoring rate in this series is 2.48 runs per over – their lowest in a Test series since 1989-90. That's quantitative confirmation of their intriguing approach under Misbah-ul-Haq.
42nd over: Pakistan 88-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 32, Younis 28) The run of singles is broken when Azhar Ali works Panesar for two to fine leg and three more through midwicket. England are in trouble here; Pakistan have a lead of 46.
43rd over: Pakistan 88-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 32, Younis 28) My colleague Simon Burnton has discovered this gem. I don't really know what to say. Anderson continues, and as ever he is showing supreme discipline. Azhar Ali, trying to work to leg, gets a leading edge just short of extra cover. It's another maiden, and Anderson's figures are 11-4-12-1. Shades of Adelaide 2003.
44th over: Pakistan 93-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 32, Younis 33) Swann replaces Panesar, who has bowled well for figures of 18-6-35-1. His second ball is a touch short, kicks up off the pitch and is pulled extravagantly for four by Younis. That's the first boundary for 21 overs. "I doff my cap to Mr Naylor for breathing life into my dead-before-it-began riff," says Guy Hornsby. "Desperate times and all that. This is soporific, life-draining stuff. We need to do something. I think we should take out The Third Man and attack a bit more, give Monty a rest. He's been a real Warhorse this match. Otherwise our chances of victory will reach a Vanishing Point."
45th over: Pakistan 96-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 32, Younis 36) "The Pakistan supporters sound in fine voice and confident," says Ken Danbury. "Probably rightly so. The pitch has been blameless without being a road. There have been so many low scores we are becoming disheartened by any sort of partnership developing. Is it really still only Day 2?" Only? It feels like Day 47 at the moment. (But yes, it does mess with the brain when Tests start on day other than Thursday, particularly a Friday. It also messes with the brain when 22 wickets fall in the first four sessions.)
46th over: Pakistan 97-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 32, Younis 37) Almost a wicket for England. Azhar Ali was sent back by Younis Khan and would have been run out by a direct hit from the England fielder at point. He missed. Of course he did. These two have added 69 now. Staggeringly, it's the fifth highest partnership of the series.
"I rather liked that link in over 43," says John Starbuck. "The guy's name being Toothman it almost seemed a case of nominative determinism. You have to wonder how many people attempt to act out their names."
47th over: Pakistan 104-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 33, Younis 43) Jonathan Trott comes on for Jimmy Anderson. He picked up Younis in the first Test, of course, a day of optimism that seems a long time ago. His first ball is a piece of filth that Younis pulls round the corner for four. That takes Pakistan into three figures and past their first-innings total. It's a daft thing to say when the lead is only 59, but it's increasingly hard to see how England can win this game. "If it's any consolation am at work too and have been since 8am and got up at 6 to walk the dog (was -5)," says Darryl Short. "Am really worried now think any lead over 175 and we are doomed to a humiliating white wash from a reasonable team who,back in England we would beat easily." Yes they would, and it's hard to recall the last time the top end of Test cricket was dominated quite so much by teams playing at home.
48th over: Pakistan 108-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 34, Younis 47) Younis, who is playing with increasing authority and aggression, sweeps Swann hard for four. "There was a lot of talk earlier in this series about how Bresnan's value was growing with each abject performance but this seems to have tailed off in the wake of such abject performances," says Dan Lucas. "Seems to me at the moment that Pakistan are able to take singles that bit too easily, and it'd be interesting to see if his tight line, the relief he'd offer as a fifth bowler, and the extra runs with the bat would actually make that much of a difference. Thoughts?" He's better than a fifth bowler, but I know what you mean. Before I didn't think they would play five bowlers but I reckon they will in Sri Lanka. Bresnan is gold, I'd pick him every time in all formats of the game. But England would be 2-0 down even if he was here.
49th over: Pakistan 115-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 34, Younis 53) Younis reaches his first fifty of the series with a lovely stroke, gliding Trott to third man for four. He has played really well, and you wouldn't be at all surprised if he went on to get the first hundred of the series. Few players are as accomplished at batting for long periods of time.
50th over: Pakistan 118-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 37, Younis 53) Azhar Ali forces Swann against the spin for a couple.
51st over: Pakistan 120-2 (trailed by 42 on first innings; Azhar 38, Younis 54) Panesar replaces Trott for the last over before tea, which passes without incident. It's been a dispiriting session for England, only the second wicketless session of the series. England didn't yield, and none of this is the bowlers' fault, but the game is slipping away from them. Pakistan lead by 78. Andy will be with you after tea; he's on [email protected]. See you tomorrow.
Well, that was desperate. Can England's bowlers rouse themselves for one last final effort to save their team from the ignominy of a 3-0 whitewash? And can your flagging and broken OBO team struggle through one more gruelling session? Here come the Pakistani batsmen, so we're about to find out...
52nd over: Pakistan 126-2 (Azhar Ali 38 Younus Khan 60) Younus opens the evening session with an emphatic drive down the ground for two runs. Two balls later, he flicks four runs through the leg-side. This loss - and it feels very much like England are heading for a loss - is even more dispiriting in its way than the one England suffered in the second Test. England's players were so adamant that they had a point to prove in this match, so strident in their statements about the lessons they had learned and the injured pride they were to trying to heal, and they've still, somehow, contrived to play themselves into a losing position after bowling the opposition out for 99 on the first morning.
53rd over: Pakistan 130-2 (Azhar Ali 42 Younus Khan 60) Monty starts at the other end, and concedes a couple of couples. By the end of the over Pakistan's lead is 88, and this partnership is worth 102, which makes it the fourth-best of the series so far.
54th over: Pakistan 135-2 (Azhar Ali 46 Younus Khan 61) It's Bonnie Tyler time.
55th over: Pakistan 137-2 (Azhar Ali 46 Younus Khan 63) This pitch has turned into a real heartbreaker. The ball isn't doing much, and what it is doing it is doing very slowly. Younus chops two runs out to cover, where Jon Trott makes a good stop to save a boundary. "Loss?" says Gary Naylor, who has, apparently, not seen any of this series up till now, "300 would be a steep ask but Pakistan are a long way off that yet. England are in the game until then." Honestly, the way England's middle order has been batting I wouldn't back them to make 200 against this attack, never mind 300.
56th over: Pakistan 139-2 (Azhar Ali 48 Younus Khan 63) "You know what's confusing?" asks Ken Danbury. Umm, life, the universe and everything? "These wickets seem to be the exact opposite to what we expect in a Test match. They encourage spin in the first days then become flatter as the match goes on. No wonder that no-one has called it right." Azhar, who looks such a tidy little player, takes two runs off the sixth ball of Broad's over. knocking a straight ball out mid-wicket way.
57th over: Pakistan 141-2 (Azhar Ali 49 Younus Khan 64) Two more, this time in singles. "Any ideas where I can get a DRS from?" asks Dan Smith. "My decision-making has been p!ss-poor lately and would probably benefit from a third umpire review. The decision to get up this morning and follow the cricket, for example."
58th over: Pakistan 142-2 (Azhar Ali 50 Younus Khan 64) Broad traps a straight drive with his foot in his follow-through. He's look hot and bothered right now. And he doesn't get any happier when Ali knocks his next ball away for asingle to the leg side to bring up his fifty. It's taken him 165 balls, so has come at a strike rate of just 30.3. It also means that Pakistan's lead is now an even 100.
59th over: Pakistan 142-2 (Azhar Ali 50 Younus Khan 64) Graeme Swann comes into the attack, at the exact same time as Scott Murray saunters into the office. It's difficult to say who has the jauntier demeanour: Swann, after 11 fruitless overs in the hot sun on a thankless pitch, or Murray, after his stroll through the freezing streets of King's Cross to return to the thankless task of helming the grauniad's live sports coverage.
60th over: Pakistan 143-2 (Azhar Ali 50 Younus Khan 65) "Historically, many specialist inventions have seeped into the domestic sphere from industry (dishwashers, for instance, or really big cordless drills if you want something more macho)," says John Starbuck. "So it's only a matter of time before the DRS starts turning up on Xmas shopping lists. They'd be great as an app for TV mystery dramas and would save a great deal of argument. Or, of course, will generate more debate/rows." Mmmhmm.
61st over: Pakistan 143-2 (Azhar Ali 50 Younus Khan 65) A maiden from Swann.
62nd over: Pakistan 143-2 (Azhar Ali 50 Younus Khan 65) We've had two runs from the last 30 balls. No really. Someone have mercy on me and send an email, quick, before my eyes start to bleed.
63rd over: Pakistan 148-2 (Azhar Ali 54 Younus Khan 66) Younis snaps out of his torpor, sweeping a single away square. Inspired by this audacity, Ali lashes a pull away for four through mid-wicket.
64th over: Pakistan 151-2 (Azhar Ali 56 Younus Khan 67) Azhar sweeps two runs away square. He collapses with cramp at the end of the over. England take advantage of the break to send out Bunny Onions with a bunch of bananas to offer the bowlers.
65th over: Pakistan 157-2 (Azhar Ali 56 Younus Khan 73) Waqar is wondering whatever happened to Ajmal Shahzad, "he had talent, and seemed a very strong boy." Well you may ask, Waqar. Nasser explains that Shahzad has rather lost his way. Then Waqar slightly spoils his point by saying that "Saj Mahmood was another one, he had real talent and could reverse the ball." A lovely shot from Younus, a dainty reverse-sweep for four.
66th over: Pakistan 163-2 (Azhar Ali 62 Younus Khan 73) Azhar pads away another ball from Monty. "I've really missed that," sighs Selve. "The sight of a batsman kicking the ball away. Welcome back."
67th over: Pakistan 170-2 (Azhar Ali 62 Younus Khan 80) Strauss runs his hand over his face in embarrassment as he watches Younus take a quick two-step down the pitch and heave a six over to cow corner. Salt in the wound.
68th over: Pakistan 180-2 (Azhar Ali 65 Younus Khan 87) A beautiful ball from Monty, turning past Younus' outside edge. But that's the only glimmer of hope England can take from this over - from this session in fact. Younus is batting quite brilliantly now, and he sweeps four away to deep backward square. England are flustered. Later in the over there are two overthrows, to Strauss' huge irritation. This over cost ten, and Swann's 16 in this innings have cost 52.
69th over: Pakistan 180-2 (Azhar Ali 65 Younus Khan 87) James Anderson is going to come back into the attack now, with Pakistan's lead on 138. Anderson has been miserly so far, his 12 overs costing just 15 runs. "Got the family out to do the shopping using the negotiating skills of Henry Kissinger only to be out through this misery," says a mopey-sounding Nigel Smith. "I think all the enamel had come off my teeth in clenched abject misery."
70th over: Pakistan 189-2 (Azhar Ali 65 Younus Khan 96) Younus swats another four away square. He's moved into the 90s now, we may yet see a century in this series. Monty has, sadly, lost the plot a little bit. That delivery was fast and flat, and then he follows it up with as bad a ball as he has delivered this series, a short, loopy half-tracker that Younus dispatches through mid-wicket for four with utmost contempt. Younus takes a single off the sixth ball, which makes it nine off the over.
71st over: Pakistan 192-2 (Azhar Ali 65 Younus Khan 96) Younus eases two runs behind point, then knocks a single out to cover. He's now on 99.
72nd over: Pakistan 196-2 (Azhar Ali 65 Younus Khan 103) Younus takes off his helmet and hold his bat aloft in celebration of his century. He has played quite superbly, mastering the conditions and the bowlers in a way that no one else has been able to do in this series. Andy Strauss is enough of a sportsman to offer up a round of applause. Younus' second fifty runs have come off just 60 balls, as opposed to the 106 he took to make the first half of his hundred.
73rd over: Pakistan 200-2 (Azhar Ali 67 Younus Khan 105) That's Younus' 20th Test century, which puts him fourth on Pakistan's all-time list. Nothing about this is getting any cheerier for England. In the last ten overs Pakistan have been scoring at over five runs an over, which is almost double that of their innings as a whole. What can I offer England's fans by way of encouragement? Well, the new ball is six overs away.
74th over: Pakistan 201-2 (Azhar Ali 67 Younus Khan 105) Matt Prior has a relentless enthusiasm which, personally, I would find terribly grating, but I imagine is hugely appreciated by his colleagues on days like these. "Oh! There we go!" he shouts in excitement as Azhar Ali pads away another delivery from Monty.
75th over: Pakistan 202-2 (Azhar Ali 68 Younus Khan 108) Swann is back into the attack now. You have to wonder if there is ever going to a be time when anyone considers him to be the best spin-bowler in the world against after this series, given the emergence of Saeed Ajmal. In fact he's been out-bowled by Monty Panesar and Abdur Rehman in the last two Tests as well. He's still a fine bowler, of course, but his form has fallen away a little over the last 12 months.
76th over: Pakistan 205-2 (Azhar Ali 68 Younus Khan 109) Monty, I'm sorry to say, is bowling some real filth now, flat and fruitless from over the wicket.
77th over: Pakistan 206-2 (Azhar Ali 68 Younus Khan 110) Swann fields a return drive in his follow through and then throws down the stumps as Azhar Ali turns back into his ground. England appeal, and the decision gets sent up to the third umpire. It's not out. "Two positives to take from this situation: firstly there is now a big enough target for Strauss to get a century in his match-winning captain's innings chasing it down. Then he can start the next series with that monkey removed from his back. Second, err... it might make this afternoon's loss of the Calcutta Cup a bit less humiliating if the cricketers have been thrashed more soundly than the egg-chasers. Bit desperate that one though." There is a third as well, Robin: unlike Rob, I have tomorrow off.
78th over: Pakistan 210-2 (Azhar Ali 70 Younus Khan 111) Azhar Ali finally moves out of the 70s, where he seems to have been stuck since time immemorial. Younus immediately puts him back on strike by taking a single, and Azhar then contents himself with kicking away the rest of Monty's over.
79th over: Pakistan 210-2 (Azhar Ali 70 Younus Khan 111) A huge appeal from Swann and Prior, the bowler swivelling on his heels and dropping into a crouch as he roars question of the umpire. He's met with a shake of the head, but Strauss decides to review it.
REFERRAL! Azhar Ali 70 lbw Swann The ball was sailing well over the top of the stumps, by three inches and more. Not out. Next!
80th over: Pakistan 216-2 (Azhar 70 Younus 112) Monty tosses four byes down the leg side, turns on his heel and walks back to his mark in disgust. That about sums it all up for England.
81st over: Pakistan 218-2 (Azhar Ali 72 Younus 114) Strauss takes the new ball. He's betting his house on it, having already lost the shirt off his back. Broad and Anderson will get an over each. "This is still more fun than Premier League transfer deadline day," says Dan Smith. "Also, on balance, rupturing my spleen on New Year's Day was marginally more gruelling. Do those count as 'positives'?" Ah, I'm feeling a little better now it is all almost over. The sight of Azhar padding away yet more over the wicket filth from Monty was pretty rough work, but Younus has batted brilliantly, and England have got more and more ragged as the afternoon has worn on. Their bowlers can be allowed a bad session - which this has been - given how the batsmen have performed in the last two-and-a-half Tests.
82nd over: Pakistan 222-2 (Azhar Ali 75 Younus 115) One over for Broad then, and the curtain will come down on this sorry show. "I think Azhar Ali might be becoming one of my new favourites," says Alan Robertson. "Who cares if he bats like, er, treacle's too fast? Lava maybe? Underwater lava? And so what he doesn't score many 100s? He's remarkably consistent in his contribution and with the spate of 4 day tests recently a lot of teams could use him. Plus, I like a grafter." Aye, well the lad is certainly one of those. He and Asad Shafiq have both been very impressive in this series. Prior and Strauss both shoot Broad a filthy look as he asks them to consider referring a very unconvincing LBW appeal. Ali ends the day by punching three runs out to cover, a piece of punctuation accompanied by Smyth's droll announcement that "this partnership is now higher than any of England's three innings on this ground.
Younus walks off to a well-deserved standing ovation, and gets a kiss on each cheek from Mo Hafeez as a reward for his toil. He is on 115, Azhar, who gets a rather more manly handshake from Hafeez, is on 75. This partnership is worth 195 and Pakistan lead by 180. That's all from me folks. Cheerio.