“This collective effort will be the key for Pakistan in the upcoming Test matches. But, Pakistan has to maintain their consistency because, traditionally, they are always habituated to dish out sloppy performances after one brilliant show”

 

This collective effort will be the key for Pakistan in the upcoming Test matches. But, Pakistan has to maintain their consistency because, traditionally, they are always habituated to dish out sloppy performances after one brilliant show.

A full, quick, and straight delivery from Mohammad Amir disturbed the woodwork of Jake Ball off the fifth ball of 75th over on day 4 and thus, triggered an amazing celebration among the Pakistani cricketers.

They cheered with joy, hugged each other, and paid rich tribute to their army by doing push-ups on the green canvas of Lord’s. Pakistan has reaped the rewards for which they have been waiting over the last six years.

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Pakistan had buried the ghosts of that nightmarish tour of England in 2010 took Pakistan cricket to the doldrums. Six years ago, the spot-fixing saga had put the existence of cricket in Pakistan under scrutiny and it took a while for them to turn the tables around.

Under the guidance of Misbah-ul-Haq, this Pakistan team has come a long way in Test cricket, while that young man Amir is a relieved man at the moment, as he finally has started to feel his existence in the international arena after years of absence from cricket. Amir has regained his lost pride at the same venue which saw his downfall in 2010.

The Pakistani fielding at Lord’s was scratchy while the batsmen performed in patches. But yet again, it was their bowling that propelled them to defeat England at Lord’s after twenty years. Pakistan has never been short of match-winning bowlers, but more often, their bowling display had been about individual charisma rather than a tight-knit-unit.

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Either an Imran Khan or Wasim Akram would unleash a devastating spell to bring an end to the Test match in a ruthless manner and such a trend had somewhat become an issue taken for granted in Pakistan cricket culture.

But at Lord’s, in the first Test, the Pakistani bowling was not heavily dependent on the charisma of just one individual. The hype and buzz have been all about Mohammad Amir and it seemed that the contest would be between Amir and the rest of the English batting lineup. In reality, it turned out to be a different story.

The four-man Pakistan bowling attack hunted in packs and while bowling in tandem, they complemented each other brilliantly to stranglehold the English batting line-up.

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In the second innings, Amir was struggling to pitch the ball on a back of a length and thus, looked less threatening, but he was never allowed to feel the pressure because, from the other end, either Rahat Ali or Wahab Riaz continued to dish out a staggering spell of high-quality pace bowling to baffle the English batters.

Rahat Ali was a revelation at Lord’s. Throughout the Test match, he was operating behind the smokescreen- publicity of Amir generated by the media. With the new-ball, Rahat was efficient with his impeccable line and length. He was running in with raw energy and pitched the ball in-and-around the off stump consistently at a sharp pace – a tough task to handle such deliveries.

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Wahab Riaz’s volatility with the old ball was simply breathtaking. Especially, when he was operating from round the wicket and tried to make the ball leave the batsmen. Wahab was swinging the old cherry like a boomerang. When a left-arm fast bowler unleashes his repertoire of skillful bowling in Test matches, it becomes a spectacle for the cricket fans and during the stubborn resistance of Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes, the bowling display of the Pakistani pacers were nothing but a spectacle and one could spend the whole day watching such beautiful crafts in a spellbound fashion.

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Then there was a leg spinner named Yasir Shah, whose job was to support the pace bowlers, but he ended up as the highest wicket-taking bowler for his team. He varied his pace smartly and impart enough turn and drift to remind everyone about the legendary Shane Warne. He has a dangerous flipper and googly under his armory and his wicket-taking abilities at such an astonishing rate have already made him the choice of the new generation.

Despite the struggle to rediscover his mojo in Test cricket, Amir played a key role in setting up the batsmen, while Wahab bamboozled with hostility and Rahat spooked, and finally, Yasir hustled. It was a destructive cocktail. Each of them never let the pressure release but continued to attack with intensity. It was a collective effort that paid rich dividends.

This collective effort will be the key for Pakistan in the upcoming Test matches. But, Pakistan has to maintain their consistency because, traditionally, they are always habituated to dish out sloppy performances after one brilliant show.

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