Pakistan vs England Preview
Pakistan start as favourites against England in the third and the final Test match
Can he regain his form?
Although they arrived as the world’s top test side, they knew they will not be able to justify their dominance unless the Asian frontier is conquered.
And England have done nothing to dispel that phenomenon on the current tour, succumbing to a shocking 72-run defeat in the second test match. Pakistan are rejoicing in one of their most memorable wins in history but will be wary of an England fightback in the final test starting on Friday.
England were utterly defensive in their 145-run chase – a strategy that allowed Pakistan to dominate and get on top of the batsmen.
Abdur Rehman foxed the out-of-form batsmen with his guile and turn, picking up six wickets in the process. Most English batsmen have had a forgettable tour, with Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan and Andrew Strauss all averaging under 20. Morgan, with only 41 runs from four innings, may be replaced by Ravi Bopara though coach Andy Flower sounded apprehensive about ringing too many changes.
Monty Panesar announced his return in an imposing manner, as England look a settled unit in terms of bowling even though their squad has been hampered by injuries to Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan.
Pakistan have carved a reputation for themselves as a force to be reckoned with, in their own way, under the astute captaincy of Misbah ul Haq. The grit displayed by Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq in Abu Dhabi was ample proof of the determination of the team in winning more matches.
Though the series is in the bag, players would like to raise their individual games as well to ward off any potential threat of losing their place in the line-up. The bowlers have kept Pakistan on top, with Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman climbing the ladder on ICC Test Bowlers Rankings, making it the first instance in 23 years for two Pakistani spinners to feature in the top ten.
The match, starting on the weekly holiday of Friday, should attract a good crowd given the inspiring performances by Pakistan in what has become their home away from home.