A long term prospect in the making
There were plenty of memorable and joyful moments at the Oval this time round
Pakistan managed to achieve something which many doubted prior to the Oval Test Match following two comprehensive defeats at Nottingham and Edgbaston by winning the 3rd Test Match by 4 wickets on the fourth day's play to bring the series standing to 2-1 with one to go and all to play for at Lords, commencing on Thursday 26th August. It will be Pakistan's second visit of Lords for the summer so there should be limited problems adapting to the atmosphere and famous old slope. Also, as traditionally would be the case with England they play 2 Tests per year at the illustrious venue.
Pakistan had two left armers with 5 wicket hauls in the match in debutant Wahab Riaz and teenage pace sensation Mohammad Aamir who both triggered batting collapses with the quality bowling performances. Ajmal was phenomenal and bamboozled the English batsmen in the second innings with some magical craft and guile.
Azhar Ali impressed with his 92*and demonstrated his batting credentials. His determination, willingness to stay at the wicket, patience and solid defence was wonderful as for the first time this summer in 5 test matches Pakistan managed to reach 300. Mohammad Yousuf returned with plenty of class and character and played 2 significant knocks, scoring 56 and 33 respectively.
The difference in this match in contrast to the other two was that Pakistan actually managed to hold on to their catches with Kamran Akmal holding 8 against many people's surprise. Batting wise, Kamran's appalling form continues and his weaknesses continue to get exploited with ease. This needs to change.
Pakistan made hard work chasing the modest total of 148 but eventually managed to reach the target with the young starts Mohammad Aamir and Umar Akmal hitting the winning runs which was would have been an important experience for the two by getting their nation over the line after a slight collapse.
There is now some news from reliable sources that Younis Khan is set to make a comeback which will only make the team stronger and better. I have the belief that Pakistan can become world beaters and on their day they are unmatchable. Salman Butt rightly dedicated the victory to the flood victims.
Irrespective of the result at Lords, Pakistan can rate the summer of Test Cricket as a success with plenty of bright moments to come in the foreseeable future. The learning curve for the debutants and youngsters must have been like no other. Well played Greens, keep it up!