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England collapse gives Pak series win

Associated Press
Jan 28, 2012 at 06:48pm IST

Abu Dhabi: Leftarm spinner Abdur Rehman led Pakistan to a crushing 72-run over England and a convincing victory in the series on Saturday, taking a career-best six wickets for 25 as the world's top-ranked Test side was embarrassingly skittled out for just 72 runs.

Victory on the fourth day of the second Test earned Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The last match will be played next week at Dubai, where England were trounced by 10 wickets in the first Test.

England never looked in any real pursuit of the 145-run victory target after Pakistan were bowled out for 214, with Monty Panesar taking 6-62 in his comeback match after an absence of nearly three years.

England collapse gives Pakistan series win

Rehman grabbed 6-25 to dismiss England for 72 and clinch a 72-run win on Day 4 of the 2nd Test.

In reply, only captain Andrew Strauss (32) and Matt Prior (18) managed to reach double figures.

"I don't have words to describe how big this victory is for us, because it has come against world's No. 1 team," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.

"It's difficult for any team in the world to bat against the likes of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman on this wicket."

It was England's lowest ever score in Test matches against Pakistan — and far worse than the 130 registered at the Oval in 1954 and at Lahore in 1987.

Rehman started the England slide in the penultimate over before tea when he removed Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan to reduce England to 39-4.

He left the batsmen guessing in his remaining 7.1 overs after the break, claiming the wickets of Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Stuart Broad and last man James Anderson.

Strauss made no secret of his feelings after losing his first series since West Indies beat England in 2009.

"Pretty down and disappointed," he said.

"We must acknowledge how Pakistan bowled.

"They thoroughly deserved the win."

Strauss led a grim battle with a 100-ball 32 before he was trapped on the backfoot and even his DRS referral could not help England's cause.

Misbah deployed his slow bowlers from the outset after England began their run chase midway after lunch.

Alastair Cook had a torrid 45 minutes before Mohammad Hafeez caught a clean low catch as the ball flew back to him off the leading edge.

England had to shuffle their batting order after Trott could not bat at his usual No. 3 position due to a stomach upset that kept him away from the field in the morning.

But that mattered little for Rehman when he had Trott lbw for just 1 when he came out to bat at No. 7.

Earlier, Panesar had successfully led the bowling attack before Pakistan's tailenders frustrated England for nearly two and a half hours.

Pakistan resumed at 125-4 in foggy conditions but kept the scoreboard ticking against some disciplined bowling from Panesar and Graeme Swann.

Azhar Ali, 46 overnight, waited until the third over before turning Swann to square leg for two runs to complete his 13th Test half century, while Asad Shafiq, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday, had to wait 24 deliveries before scoring his first runs of the day.

Panesar finally broke the 88-run stand when James Anderson held onto a sharp catch at slip to dismiss Shafiq for 43, giving the recalled English offspinner his fourth wicket of the innings.

Pakistan almost slipped to 160-6 when Australian umpire Steve Davis adjudged Ali lbw off Swann but TV umpire Billy Bowden overturned the decision as the hawk eye showed the ball would have turned too much and missed leg stump.

But England did not have to wait long enough to get rid of dangerman Ali once they took the second new ball.

Anderson banged one in short which got a faint edge of Ali's bat and flew to wicketkeeper Prior. Ali's 68 included eight fours.

Pakistan reached 172-7 when Broad won a psychological battle with Adnan Akmal. Just one ball after the pair exchange words, Akmal tried to drive a wide delivery and was out, caught by Strauss.

Ajmal and Rehman then added what might have proved to be an invaluable 26 runs before Panesar struck again. However, England's subsequent batting performance meant the extra runs were never needed.

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