The Over: Pakistan v England – Day 2

Day deux. Well that proved to be about as enjoyable as having one’s teeth pulled out didn’t it? Reasons below.

Yesterday we reckoned England wouldn’t be able to chase 60. They now trail by 180, after Younus Khan played a really rather good innings to finish on 115 at the close. Bearing in mind the travails of the batting line up so far, this one is as good as gone too – based on series averages so far, it would take Ian Bell on his own 22 innings just to make that deficit up. Nevertheless, we’ll still be awake at 6 tomorrow morning, praying for a remarkable clatter of wickets, followed by an Alastair Cook monster century. Or even just him and Trott boring the Pakistanis to tears when they start batting for a draw at tea on day three. After all, Cook’s mindset, somewhat channelling the spirit of Violet Elizabeth Bott, is “I’ll bat and bat and bat till you’re all sick. And I can you know”. He really can, but, by ‘eck do we need it.

After yesterday’s triumph where we helped KP rediscover if not form, then something that at least looked like competence, we thought we’d turn to Graeme Swann to see if we can work our magic again. He’s not looked at his happiest this series by any means, and today’s return of 58 runs off his nineteen overs for absolutely zip was another disappointing performance in a series where he’s been outbowled by the brilliant Ajmal (aided and abetted by England’s ineptitude) and, whisper it quietly, Panesar.

We also started to wonder what on earth was going when, about fifteen minutes after tea, we realised the world (or series at any rate) had turned on its head and not a single wicket had gone down for hours. Going back to sleep would surely lead to a collapse though? Er sadly no, which is a blow as it rules out one of our favourite ways of trying to provoke a wicket. After all the carnage, Khan and Azhar Ali had put together not one but two wicketless sessions by the close. The only other one in the entire series so far was that happy time when Cook and Trott were batting, and we still thought England had a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning the series.

This all really rather harrowing isn’t it? Especially as, at 28-2 we reckoned there was going to be another comedy collapse, followed by England’s best efforts to mangle this week’s three figure run chase. The hope we might pull a win out of the bag has gone, to be replaced the lurking sense of doom that is every England fan’s birthright. For the second time in six months, the number one Test side is looking at a bit of a pasting and a series whitewash. Bah.

And changing to over the wicket, now for some good news.

There remains a glimmer of hope. If anything can sabotage Pakistan’s seemingly relentless march to victory Nelson can. They’re resuming on 222-2. Fingers crossed! Yes, we are that desperate…

If they knock a quick single off the first ball tomorrow though, the game is definitely up. Sorry.

None of the England players were sold in today’s IPL auction. None. Not a single one was plucked from the seething cattle market of “talent” on offer, to be taken off to some loving home, where they’d be cherished as they made 20 runs by flailing around in an hopelessly co-ordinated fashion against some unknown Indian spinner. Instead, except those who already had contracts (which we think is just Pietersen and Broad) they’ve been shuffled back up into the truck that brought them to town, for a one-way trip to the ODI glue factory. Now although this won’t be a cause for celebration in the Swann, Anderson, Tremlett etc households, we’re pretty happy about this. Partly this is because we just don’t like Twenty 20 and, well, everything about it. Mostly though, heading off for a lucrative slog-fest isn’t going to be use in the long run when they’ve got serious cricket to play here, and their Test reputation will need a bit of rehabilitating after the last three weeks.

Over.

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