PAKISTAN captain Misbah-ul-Haq taunted England’s demoralised batsmen last night by claiming his side’s astonishing 10-wicket victory in the first Test in Dubai was “easy”.
The tourists started day three hopeful of limiting Pakistan to a first innings lead of just over 100, but a spirited rearguard effort from Adnan Akmal (61) ensured England began their response a distant 146 adrift.
Ambushed on day one by the off-spin of Saeed Ajmal, this time England were largely undone by the pace of Umar Gul and their own indiscipline, with Kevin Pietersen particularly culpable – the South African-born batsmen holing out to deep backward square leg without scoring.
Indeed, it took some lusty lower order hitting from bowlers Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad to ensure England at least avoided the ignominy of an innings defeat, but after they were bowled out for 160, it took Pakistan only 3.4 overs to score the 15 runs they required to take an early lead in the three-match series. “We had not expected that it was going to be so easy for us, but it was a wonderful performance by the team, especially Saeed, because the way he took those seven wickets in the first innings really put us on the way to victory,” said Misbah (inset).
Having seen Pakistan make a mockery of their world No1 Test ranking, England must go back to the drawing board ahead of the second Test which starts in Abu Dhabi next Wednesday.
With England needing to force a result they would do well to at least consider the inclusion of a second spinner at the expense of one of their underperforming batsmen. But Strauss, who himself scored a combined total of just 25 runs in the match, insists there is no need for panic.
He said: “We’re obviously disappointed. But we’re not going to push the panic button by any means. We need to come back strong and show our character and resilience.
“Our bowlers did a pretty good job but obviously in both innings our batsmen should have done better. We need to learn the lessons. We won’t be panicking; we’ll come back strong in the second Test match.”