If Pakistan’s performance in the first test was dismal, they tried their best to match that performance and succeeded, this time suffering a crushing 9 wicket defeat. England have thus taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 4 match test series and a whitewash is very much on the cards.

When Pakistan Captain (Yes I have to name him as they keep changing) Salman Butt won the toss and elected to bat, it was a bold decision in swinging, seaming English conditions on a first day of a test match, a decision that always comes with the danger of haunting you throughout the match. This is because if your batsmen can’t see off the new ball successfully, then you invariably find yourself in a precarious situation from which coming back is almost impossible. This is exactly what happened to Pakistan, who got bowled out for a mere 72 in just 39 overs without a semblance of a fight. England needed just 3 bowlers: Anderson (4 wickets), Broad (4 wickets) and Finn (2 wickets) and their spinner Graeme Swann was not even needed to bowl a single over.

England fought hard in trying conditions to reach 177/2 due to gritty knocks from Kevin Pietersen (80) and Trott (55) when Trott got out. After that wicket, it was Saeed Ajmal show for Pakistan as he took 5 wickets to bundle out England for 251. Despite his superb performance, Pakistan conceded a first innings lead of 179 runs. This is what I meant that Pakistan effectively lost the match when the decision to bat first backfired due to batsmen’s inability.

As Pakistan started their second innings, the first and foremost thing in their mind would have been to erase the deficit and atleast make England bat again. Well, it didn’t seem possible when they found themselves at 153/7, still trailing by 26 runs and debutant keeper Zulqarnain Haider (drafted into the team after Kamran Akmal was dropped) and tailender Ajmal at crease. But, giving credit where it’s due, the duo fought hard and made it as hard as possible for England bowlers. Haider scored an impressive 88 and Ajmal a determined 50 as Pakistan reached 296, taking a lead of 117 runs. If you are wondering who is Zulqarnain Haider, then do check out his interesting story at http://www.cricinfo.com/england-v-pakistan-2010/content/story/471256.html.

The hero of England’s second innings bowling effort was none other than Graeme Swann whose figures read 37 overs, 20 maidens, 65 runs, 6 wickets. Quite Amazing. Perhaps, he was a bit aggrieved at not being given a bowl in first innings and wanted to prove a point. He is definitely one of the best spinners in the world today.

A target of 118 runs was never going to trouble England and though they lost Cook early, they cruised to a 9 wicket win in 36.3 overs. Captain Strauss and Trott both remained unbeaten on 53, ensuring there was no drama in the chase.

Another embarrassing defeat for Pakistan and England continue their impressive run of results, which now stands at 6 consecutive wins. But Strauss isn’t satisfied yet and wants to keep the momentum going, which sends a danger signal to Pakistan as they try to salvage something from the series from now on.  The only department which looks decent for Pakistan is their bowling, while their batting and fielding are too vulnerable to inspire any confidence in the team. Let us see what Pakistan dish up in the third test beginning on 18th August. Before that, Pakistan have a 2-day practice game against Worcestershire to sort out their problems if they can.

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