England well beaten in Dubai
Umar Gul claimed four second-innings wickets and Saeed Ajmal finished with 10 in the match as Pakistan completed a 10-wicket victory over England in the first Test at Dubai.
After working so hard to restrict their opponents to 338 on a true surface seemingly providing few demons, the tourists, who were dismissed for 192 on day one, once again failed to come to terms with Pakistan’s varied attack as they posted 160 all out at the second time of asking.
Gul was chiefly responsible for England’s struggles today. The rangy seamer removed Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen with the new ball and then returned to oust Jonathan Trott en route to figures of 4-63.
Trott, who looked in good touch before falling for 49 shortly after tea, was the only specialist batsman to offer any notable resistance. His eventual dismissal, like so many of England’s in this match, could best be described as soft.
Both Strauss and Cook were caught down the leg side, the former failing with a review despite HotSpot showing no mark on his bat, and Pietersen fell without scoring when he top-edged a pull to Abdur Rehman at deep backward square.
Graeme Swann contributed a counter-attacking 39, and received useful lower order support from Stuart Broad and James Anderson as England avoided the follow-on.
Yet fittingly, it was Ajmal - England’s scourge on Tuesday - who had the final say, dismissing his fellow off-spinner to finish with outstanding match figures of 10-97 from 42 overs.
It took Pakistan just 22 deliveries to knock off the 15 they required to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Mohammad Hafeez scoring all of his team's runs.
The world’s number one Test team, who last suffered defeat in Perth more than 12 months ago, now face the challenge of bouncing back with an improved performance in Abu Dhabi next week, as they look to keep the series alive before returning to this venue for the final Test.
Adnan Akmal had proved the primary source of frustration for the tourists this morning as he helped Pakistan add 50 to their overnight score of 288 for seven.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, dropped on nine yesterday by a diving Pietersen at cover, rode his luck on occasions but also exhibited an array of impressive strokes en route to 61 - his highest Test score. He was finally dismissed by Swann, who returned 4-107.
When England batted for a second time, Strauss, who had survived a number of early scares at the hands of Aizaz Cheema, fell to Gul in the fifth over, third umpire Steve Davis ruling there was not sufficient evidence to overturn Billy Bowden’s initial verdict.
Trott got off the mark with a streaky outside edge through the vacant third man region, but soon settled down with confident drives for four on either side of the wicket.
England faced a further setback after lunch, however, when Cook, playing a half-hearted pull at a delivery that appeared to stick in the pitch, gloved Gul through to a jubilant Adnan.
Pietersen provided Gul with a third wicket in the seamer’s next over. In trying circumstances, the batsman’s stroke seemed reckless.
Ian Bell avoided a pair, but then fell victim to Ajmal’s doosra for the second time in the match. On this occasion he was lbw, and his decision to call for a review proved misguided, with replays suggesting the ball would have gone on to hit middle stump.
Trott, strong off the front foot throughout his innings, did his best to lead an England recovery and had collected six fours by the end of the afternoon session.
Yet he lost his fourth partner shortly before the interval; Morgan feathering an edge behind after being trapped on the crease by an arm ball from Rehman.
Pakistan’s bowlers continued to dominate immediately after tea. Trott was caught behind off Gul, having flashed lazily outside off stump, and Matt Prior, who contributed a battling unbeaten 70 on day one, was plumb lbw to Ajmal without addition to the score.
Gul looked to have picked up a fifth wicket when he won an lbw verdict against Swann, but his joy was short-lived as replays showed the bowler had overstepped.
Swann made the most of his reprieve and swiped Rehman high over midwicket for six during an eighth-wicket stand of 48 with Broad.
After Broad, who holed out to long-on, and Chris Tremlett, snared at slip by Mohammad Hafeez, had fallen to successive Rehman deliveries, Swann and Anderson then combined to ensure Pakistan would have to bat again.
Anderson even slog-swept Ajmal for a maximum, but the innings ended three balls later when Swann, deceived by the doosra, popped a simple catch to Asad Shafiq at cover.
Gul had earlier fallen to the ninth delivery of the day when he pushed at a full, outswinger from Broad - the pick of England’s attack - and provided Morgan with the simplest of chances at backward point.
Adnan found a willing ally in Ajmal, however, and the duo added 30 for the ninth wicket before Swann struck in somewhat fortuitous fashion.
Ajmal immediately called for a review after being given out caught at short-leg. Unfortunately for the batsman, HotSpot could not be used on this occasion - with Ajmal having moved so far down the wicket - and, although replays appeared to indicate the ball had missed the glove, umpire Bowden’s decision was upheld.
Unperturbed, Adnan reverse-swept Swann to the third man boundary for a second time and soon moved to his second fifty in Tests, from 117 balls, before running past an off-break down the leg side to be easily stumped.