On the first two days of the third Test against England, Pakistan were firmly in control. By the time the tourists finished their first innings, they had gathered a 103-run lead and looked set to dominate the latter half of the Test as well. But it all fell apart as England made a roaring comeback with the bat in their second innings before making full use of the fragile nerves of Pakistan batsmen on the last day to record an emphatic 141-run win on their way to an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series. The shell-shocked Pakistan middle-order caved in against reverse swing, with Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Sami Aslam perishing in a sensational collapse, which saw four wickets falling for a single run. Before the collapse was triggered, the woefully out of sorts Mohammad Hafeez and Younus Khan, besides the first-innings centurion Azhar Ali, had already been sent back to the dressing room.
But Pakistan had already lost their grip on the match by the third day allowing the hosts to first claw back in contention and then wrest firm control of the proceedings as the tired bowlers succumbed to the onslaught initiated by Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali. The Lord’s win now seems like a distant memory with Pakistan exposing their frailties with both bat and ball outside the familiar environs of the UAE.
The series is now on the line. If Pakistan are to salvage some pride, they need to turn the tables at their favourite hunting ground in England, at the Oval. Pakistan have four Tests here including a win the last time the two teams met at the venue in 2010. But before entering the Test, the team management need to work out their best combination. Can Pakistan persist with Hafeez whose batting form and poor catching has cost them dearly in the series thus far? Some tough decisions are the need of the hour and must be made to ensure that the tourists restore parity.
Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1158180/an-embarrassing-defeat/