Belatedly – Day 4 at Sharjah

As you are probably aware, yesterday wasn’t a great day. Thanks for the kind words.

The game appears to be slipping away from England. Hafeez is playing a match winning innings. Or at least series clinching. Is there a final twist?

Comments below.


47 thoughts on “Belatedly – Day 4 at Sharjah

  1. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 9:27 am

    Hafeez holed out to long-on (Bell’s 100th catch). Shafiq been hit on the shoulder by a bouncer and struggling a little.

    Effectively 185/6. One more wicket….


  2. Mark November 4, 2015 / 9:40 am

    Dmitri you don’t have to feel you must put up a new thread. It’s not a job. You have a life to lead.

    As for the match…. can England chase 200 odd on here? 250 must be pushing it a bit. It will be typical of Cook to score a hundred and win the game after another slap dash captains performance in the field.


  3. d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 10:32 am

    Courtesy of the rains (and the seeming certainty of the power company to fail when rains fall) in Nairobi I missed about 90 minutes of the action. Hafeez finally gone, but Sarfraz ensured that the tail would not be exposed too soon. The lead is now getting out of hand for England.

    Misbah, Younis, Hafeez and Shafiq all have 300+ runs for the series. Malik did not even get there, despite getting a headstart with 245 in the first innings of this series. He has been a useful option with the ball though, taking 8 wickets at 25.

    Sarfraz has mildly disappointed in this series thus far. As I type this, as he manages to get himself out to Samit Patel. Still it is effectively 240/7, and if either Wahab, Yasir or Babar hangs in for a bit, it could still balloon to a target of 300+.

    For England, only Cook has passed 300, and Root is fairly likely to do so (he is on 281 right now). The others would need a minimum of 142 runs (Bell) to get there: the stats simply bear out that England are overreliant on Root, and to a lesser extent on Cook.

    As tea is not that far away, that would mean we’re facing the prospect of a chase of about 300 in 120 overs. If England bat the overs, they should get close then, since scoring at 2.5 / over should be doable on this pitch.

    Oh, and now Jimmy has dropped Asad Shafiq, of the bowling of Patel. That is not going to help the cause …


  4. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 10:32 am

    Patel bowled Sarfraz with a jaffa and had Shafiq dropped at mid-on.


  5. d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Since England need a win to draw the series, Cook’s captaincy seems rather puzzling at the moment. Did some joker rename the ground Headingley?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Narelle November 4, 2015 / 11:27 am

    100 catches for Bell but how many drops to compare it to??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Escort November 4, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      What a nice way for you to mark Bell’s achievement


  7. d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 11:35 am

    Shafiq gone to a beaut from Broad, but the lead is 282 now, with just one pair left.


  8. d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 11:40 am

    Pakistan 355 all out. Target is 284 from 112 overs, at just over 2.5 / over. 22 overs tonight. Any predictions who will be there at stumps for England?


  9. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 11:41 am

    Riaz runs himself out so 284 required in 112 overs.


  10. d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    Moeen gone to Malik, and Cook barely survives an lbw against Babar two balls later, courtesy of an umpire’s call.


  11. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    With England 1-0 down and requiring less than 3 RPO?

    What would Brendon McCullum do?


    • d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      Bat himself at #1, and bat better than Moeen. Certainly not dig in, since that relieves the pressure on the fielding side.

      It may have gone unnoticed, but Malik has taken more wickets than any of the English spinners. At an average for which England would be absolutely delighted with (current series tally: 10/208).


      • SteveT November 4, 2015 / 1:32 pm

        Some damning stats from TMS: “In this series England’s pace bowlers have taken 31 wickets at an average of 24 and an economy rate of 2.28 an over. Their spinners have taken 20 wickets at 59 apiece, at at 4.07 an over.”

        Would take a monumental effort from England to win this from here. Can’t see it happening, especially not with a batsman down.


  12. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    Pakistan use up both reviews in under 19 overs. Both ‘umpire’s call’ LBWs to Babar.

    Babar has some admirable qualities but he’s positively Broad-esque in his conviction that every time he hits the pad it’s out.


    • d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 1:16 pm

      To be fair, if Babar was English, and Ravi was umpiring, England would be disappointed to only get one wicket courtesy of Ravi.


      • BoredInAustria November 4, 2015 / 1:25 pm

        “Only clipping”


  13. Mark November 4, 2015 / 1:26 pm

    Bell gone for 0. England need 238 with 8 wickets left.

    Moeen has failed hopelessly as the opening batsman on this tour as many people predicted. Who’s idea was that then Mr Strauss? Mr Cook. Bell back to normal.

    Go and win this match Mr Cook with the bat because you sure as hell will never win a match with your captaincy or selections.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Benny November 4, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Getting in the Christmas goodwill to all men spirit, England with a non opener, unreliable number 3, new boy at 5, 3rd seamer injured and 3 average spinners – ain’t doing badly

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH November 4, 2015 / 2:09 pm

      You forgot no keeper 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark November 4, 2015 / 2:56 pm

        It’s a master class of duff selection. Has been all tour. Now what do we do in South Africa? Who’s going to open? Don’t tell me, Bell? The good news is they won’t have to concern themselves with all these spinners. They can go back to one spinner (Mooen Ali) who can also bat at 8. Back to the tried and trusted.

        If we lose tomorrow and then in South Africa does Cook stay as captain? Maybe Cook can win us the match tomorrow. A 120 not out Cook speciality.


    • Grenville November 4, 2015 / 4:00 pm

      Whatever happens tomorrow I think that team ECB has done very well this series. Pakistan are in home conditions have two bloody good bowlers in Shah and Wahab. The back up is pretty good. Khan, Misbah and Shafiq are damn fine players. Sarfraz is a quality keeper-bat. England are up against one of the best teams in test cricket at the moment. England has given them a run for their money despite being poor in the spin department.


      • d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 4:46 pm

        If you assess it by those standards Grenville, it is hard to disagree.

        Just about everyone has contributed something in the course of three Tests. Wood was good, Bell had his moments (though only Cook and Root have made more than 1 fifty (3 50s for Root, 1 50, 1 double ton for Cook), and the same can be said of Taylor, Bairstow. Rashid and Moeen combined to give England a surprise shot at victory on Day 5 of the first Test. Patel’s bowling was as effective as his FC record would have suggested, but it is thanks to him, that England even got a substantial first innings lead to begin with.

        The opening experiment with Moeen really did not work. His bowling suffered, and his batting became practically non-existent. It would be unfair to judge him too harshly though – I doubt that Stokes for instance, another #6, would have done significantly better than Moeen, if he’d be tasked with opening just to slot another batting-allrounder in / bowler. If he does get dropped, that is hard to reconcile with Strauss’ utterances on trust.

        However if you compare it with all the triumphialist bleating in the press about how England could be #1 in the world after the tour of South Africa, then this tour has been disappointing. If you actually believed in Pringle’s predictions (5 won series, 11 won Tests out of 17, if my memory serves), then this tour has been disappointing.

        I don’t blame the players for that. The players are doing the best they can. I blame the cricket journalists for hyping England up, beyond what they could be reasonably expected to achieve.

        As much as Taylor offers a real silver lining, in the batting department, Bell’s continued struggles seem to suggest that a slot in the batting order will be available soon. The injury to Stokes is really unfortunate. It remains to be seen when he can bowl again, and if he can, how effective he will be. I had a massive shoulder injury myself six years ago, and the result is, that I cannot even bowl two balls if my life depended on it.

        So that potentially means, England will have to find YAO (Yet Another Opener), a #3, and a replacement for Stokes at #6, since he is probably not among the best batsmen in the country (and it is doubtful that he’ll be bowling much by then). If Moeen slots in at #6, that means more tinkering with the bowling attack. Four pacemen? Three pacemen and Rashid? There is the question of the wicketkeeping as well.

        Now, if the ECB actually had some long-term thinking, rather than basing their thinking on only what is the next international fixture, many of these problems could have been avoided. And that is what gets supporters angry. This is not the best that England could have done. Probably not even close.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mark November 4, 2015 / 6:04 pm

        I don’t think this Pakistan team is a patch on the one that beat England 3 years ago. If England had got their selection right from the start (eg) had more than 2 functioning batsman, and 2 proper openers, and had a captain who could do more than painting by numbers I think we could have got at least a draw and maybe a win.

        I can’t belive we keep a captain who is so hopeless on anything other than green tops.


      • d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 6:21 pm

        Well, Mark, at least on green tops he wins the occasional toss.


      • SimonH November 4, 2015 / 6:22 pm

        Pakistan are a good side but not a great one. Two points:

        1) They’ve not been at full strength in any Test. Azhar, Yasir and IK2 have all missed games.
        2) We’re going to hear a lot about England missing chances but Pakistan have as well. I can think of five catches they’ve dropped. How different might Abu Dhabi have been if Masood had caught Bell on 1?


      • Grenville November 4, 2015 / 11:25 pm

        I don’t think that Pakistan are an all time great team, but they are better than everyone else (bar South Africa) currently playing. I thought that England were lucky to beat Aus this summer. There performance has surprised me. Now I’m reconsidering.

        Could they be a better team? Sure, KP could be playing. I think that Carberry (and probably Compton) would, with an extended run, solve the YAO problem. Monty got hung out to dry (out). He should never have been there with decent management. Root, KP or Bell could be captain. (Bell should have been an all time great. That he did as well as he has is testament to his talent and application. He has never been at home in team ECB. He is, teste, Dobell vocal at Warwickshire and quiet with the ECB. That silence speaks volumes). I hate thev ECB with a passion. I also think that the current team is performing well and getting better.


  15. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    No mention from Selvey of Cook’s captaincy. No mention of the short leg that wasn’t. No mention of the second slip that wasn’t. No mention of the three over spell for Anderson with the second new ball. Yet he finds time to mention again the DRS overrule for Hafeez yesterday.

    Still, he played three Tests in 1976 and knows more than us know-nothings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez November 4, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      Apparently, Butcher’s 173* did not happen. And apparently, England drew the Manchester Test in 2008, when set a target of 294, by making 294/4. That is Selvey for you, always happy to oblige to even get facts wrong when they’re easy to establish. Apparently successful chases in England by England don’t count for Selvey. Fair enough if you bother to point out that you’re only looking at chases away from home, but if you don’t do that …

      Oh, and hilarious that he is still propping up the 5-men pace attack plan. It would not have worked. Pakistan would simply have milked Stokes and whoever else would be playing a bit more. Their plan had always been to go after the spinners, hence, they tried to make certain that they would not get out to the seamers, to allow themselves to cash in. The figures of the bowlers seem to indicate that it worked.

      Selvey’s remarks with regards to the 5-men pace attack are the equivalent of posting no slips, inviting the batsmen to steer the ball through the cordon, only to call it a moral victory, claiming that the batsmen would have been out if there was a slip fielder there. Never mind the fact that field placings influence the batsman’s shot selections. I thought they knew that in 1976. Or maybe Mike Selvey is suffering from a bout of amnesia / dementia. Who knows.


      • SimonH November 4, 2015 / 4:43 pm

        Selvey’s BTL fan club are already queuing up to proclaim his wisdom and announce that England should play no spinners at all in SA. Spinners don’t win games in SA apparently. The First Test is in Durban….


      • metatone November 4, 2015 / 4:55 pm

        Lack of perspective drives me insane.
        The excellent figures for Broad and Anderson are for our best bowlers.
        (Fair play to Anderson, he’s done better than I expected.)
        We don’t have 3 more (or indeed, 1 more) seamer of that quality fit and ready to come in.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) November 4, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      The timing of the changes of his bowling could be called into question during the series for sure. What hasn’t helped him is that Ali’s bowling really has gone to pieces. He’s run out of options this match with the injury to Stokes too. That said I noticed the first couple of things this morning before heading off to work.


  16. Mark November 4, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    Well no surprise there then. He is not a cricket journalist but an ECB/Strauss/Cook PR man.

    He wouldn’t know good captain if he met one on a golfing day out.


  17. SimonH November 4, 2015 / 4:09 pm

    Cook’s record in the fourth innings where matches were either won or drawn:;filter=advanced;innings_number=4;orderby=start;result=1;result=4;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

    Against the top eight he has one score of 70+ (against WI at home) and one score of 60+ (against SA in a dead rubber). That’s it of note in 100+Tests.

    As Downton would say – he’s due.

    Compare and contrast with the record of Graeme Smith:;filter=advanced;innings_number=4;orderby=start;result=1;result=4;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

    Four centuries (three away from home) plus seven fifties.


  18. man in a barrel November 4, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    Cook was looking very scratchy and uncertain against the spinners, expecially when Shoaib was skidding it through on leg stump. He is going to have to work very hard to get through tomorrow. Root’s back foot habit is also looking vulnerable to the ball skidding through low. It is set up for a fascinating day.

    Condolences to Dmitri.


  19. thebogfather November 4, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    Looking forward to listening to the whole of the Aus v NZ series on BBCR5livesportsXtra from around midnight tonight…


    • SimonH November 4, 2015 / 5:47 pm

      And India versus the Saffers the day after. Rumours around already that India have prepared a bunsen.

      All a veritable warm-up for the big one on Saturday – the Shane Warne All-Stars from New York!


  20. ArushaTZ November 4, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    Great T20 knock from our old friend in Durban tonight.


    • LordCanisLupus November 4, 2015 / 6:46 pm

      Nice to hear about. Hope there are some highlights to watch.


      • ArushaTZ November 4, 2015 / 6:53 pm

        The whole match is repeated at 10pm on Sky Sports 3.


    • BoredInAustria November 4, 2015 / 7:28 pm

      19.1 Pretorius to Pietersen, (no ball) 2 runs
      19.1 Pretorius to Pietersen, 2 runs
      19.2 Pretorius to Pietersen, SIX
      19.3 Pretorius to Pietersen, SIX
      19.4 Pretorius to Pietersen, SIX
      19.5 Pretorius to Pietersen, SIX
      19.6 Pretorius to Pietersen, 1 run

      KP Pietersen 115* 91min 66b 5×4 10×6 174.24 SR


      • escort November 4, 2015 / 8:09 pm

        sounds like he is in good form.


      • "Fete Him Properly" November 4, 2015 / 8:39 pm



  21. Ian November 4, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    Batted responsibly whilst wickets were being lost at the other end. Might be a domestic knock but still very good.


  22. Mark November 4, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    Just imagine if this series had been played over 4 day tests as some of the cricket ECB elites would like? Would there have been any point in bothering?


  23. man in a barrel November 4, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    Both Cook and Root very lucky to survive. I can think of umpires who would have called them out and the commentators seemed to think they were lucky to survive . Still you have to ride your luck. Hafeez needed luck. Can anyone explain why the spinners bowling on leg stump to Cook with 2 short legs disturbs him so? It is almost as if he doesn’t know what to do if one of his 4 shots is being focused on. He finds it hard to play the ball down off his hips and has no alternative shot. He also seems to have started to play round his front pad, in the manner of Gooch v Alderman.


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