Pakistan win third Test, sweep series

Updated: February 6, 2012, 2:08 PM IST
Pakistan win third Test, sweep series

Dubai: Pakistan recorded their first-ever whitewash against England on Monday after a 71-run victory in the third Test sealed a crushing 3-0 series win over the world's top-ranked team.

England - chasing an imposing 324-run target - were dismissed for 252 on the fourth day of the final Test with fast bowler Umar Gul grabbing 4-61 and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal 4-67.

Matt Prior delayed the inevitable with an unbeaten 49 off 58 balls before he ran out of partners as last man Monty Panesar was lbw by left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman.

Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets and the second by 72 runs when they bowled out England for 72 while chasing 145 runs.

The whitewash has now put England in danger of missing out on the ICC's annual jackpot of $175,000 which is awarded to the top Test team in the rankings by the April 1 cut-off date - a position they could lose if second-placed South Africa beat New Zealand 3-0 in March.

"Wonderful performance," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who has lost only one of the 15 Test matches since being appointed captain in 2010. "The victory means a lot to us because not many people gave us a chance after we were bowled out for less than 100 in the first innings."

England's struggle against Pakistan's top spinner Ajmal and Rehman continued throughout the series as they ended up with bulk of wickets with 24 and 19 scalps, respectively.

"We have to learn important lessons from the series - most importantly to put runs on the board and how to play spinners," England captain Andrew Strauss said. "Whenever Pakistan had their noses in front they never allowed us to make a comeback throughout the series."

Ajmal struck in his successive overs after lunch, triggering the England collapse when he ended Alastair Cook's four-hour knock of 49, with Younis Khan taking a brilliant two-handed diving catch to his left in the slips.

A sorry series for Kevin Pietersen (18) in which he scored only 66 runs in six innings ended with Ajmal's brilliant delivery that went between bat and pad.

Gul also rattled the middle order in the space of four deliveries by removing Ian Bell (10) and Eoin Morgan (31) that brought Pakistan closer to a historic win by tea - for 173-6.

Gul, the lanky right-arm fast bowler, had Stuart Broad caught at long off when he returned with the second new ball soon after the break before Graeme Swann scooped a catch to Asad Shafiq.

Pietersen lofted Rehman over the head for a four and a six in one over, but it was the only brief highlight in an otherwise struggling England on a wearing wicket.

Earlier, Pakistan fielders had a scratchy morning after England resumed at the overnight score of 36-0.

Cook, who was dropped on 4 on Sunday evening, survived again on 28 when Gul misjudged a top-edged sweep in the deep that went for a boundary.

Pakistan wasted their last DRS referral when Ajmal thought he had Cook lbw on 37, but the television replays clearly showed that the ball pitched outside the line of leg-stump, much to the disappointment of Pakistan captain Misbah.

Strauss and Cook resumed England's pursuit of the 324-run target with some confidence before Gul found the outside edge of the England skipper's bat, but wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal dropped a regulation catch.

Strauss was out soon after when he was trapped lbw by Rehman off a delivery that spun back sharply from the rough.

Even the DRS referral couldn't help Strauss and he began the long walk after replays showed the ball would have hit the top of middle stump. Trott then swept high to Rehman in the deep off Ajmal as England went to lunch at 89-2.

Along with completing Pakistan's first Test series whitewash of England, it was also the first time for 105 years that a team had won a Test match after being dismissed for less than 100 runs in their first innings.

Pakistan had been bowled out for 99.

The victory feat was last achieved by England, who defeated South Africa by 53 runs at Headingley in 1907 after being bowled out for 76.

The 3-0 triumph is also the latest step in Pakistan's transformation under Misbah, who was appointed captain after a spot-fixing scandal in 2010 in England that led to three Pakistan players eventually being sentenced to jail in London. His team has only lost one Test match since then, to the West Indies.

England and Pakistan will now compete in four one-day internationals, starting February 13 in Abu Dhabi, and then three Twenty20 games.

First Published: February 6, 2012, 2:08 PM IST

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