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Neil Fairbrother: Reflections on Parkistan
Article posted: 06 November 2015

The Pakistan batsmen would have struggled batting last against their own bowlers and that was the major, major factor in the series.

- Neil Fairbrother

As we reflect upon the three-match Test series against Pakistan it is easy to see why in the column before the series started, there was a warning of how hard it would be out in the UAE.

Having been to the first Test in Abu Dhabi, where I believe the heat in the stadium was the hottest that I have encountered in my 34 years around professional cricket, Alasdair Cook’s two-day marathon innings is right up there with the great innings that I have seen.

Clearly our opportunity at the end of that first game was ruined by the light. I have to say it was very, very dark when the umpires took the players off. In the second and third games, England had fleeting chances to grab the throat of each Test but unfortunately those opportunities quickly slipped away.

It didn’t help matters that Captain Cook didn’t win a toss in three matches and it makes things even harder when you’re having to bat last on wearing, turning pitches.

There has been a lot said about our batsmen, other than Messrs Cook and Root, not playing very well but the biggest and clearest difference between the two teams was in the quality of the spin bowling, especially the Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah.

I believe that the Pakistan batsmen would have struggled batting last against their own bowlers and that was the major, major factor in the series.

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have once again been absolutely fantastic. Their skill sets with both the new and old ball are right up there with the best in the game. They were ably supported by Mark Wood and Ben Stokes who you can see visibly improving game by game.

Let’s hope Ben’s injury is not as bad as was first thought and that over the next month the ECB medical staff can get Ben ready and fit for the South Africa trip.

It’s obvious to all that the Moeen Ali experiment didn’t quite work but I think it was understandable that the management tried to keep the team balanced and have two spinners in there.

Presumably Alex Hales will come in at the top of the order at the start of the South Africa trip and then there will be a big battle for the spinner’s spot where I believe Moeen still just has his head in front.

On to the one-day games which will be just as tough. But with a few days to regroup and some new fresh legs coming in, let’s hope for better results.

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