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Pakistan win Third Test by 71 runs to wrap up series 3-0

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A target of 324 proved to be 71 too many to chase for the visiting English batsmen as they slid to their third consecutive defeat to Pakistan, thereby putting their world no.1 ranking in serious jeopardy. Starting day 4 of the final test looking for a further 288 runs with 10 wickets in hand, England did decently well in the opening session before some quality swing bowling from Umar Gul saw the fast bowler pick up 4 wickets to bring the English middle order to their knees. The Pakistani spin twins - Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman - kept chipping away too, sharing 6 wickets between them to hasten the end. A few England batsmen got starts today with Alastair Cook and Matt Prior both scoring 49s and each of their top 8 getting into double digits, but failing to kick on and making the most of what were easily the best batting conditions they had this entire series.

The England openers - Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook - started the day rather conservatively, but in a much more confident manner as compared to their previous outings. Strauss though was able to add only 7 runs to his overnight score, falling for 26, trapped leg before by an incoming delivery from Abdur Rehman. Strauss reviewed the decision but it turned to be a lost review for England.

Jonathan Trott came in to give the well set Alastair Cook some company. The calm headed duo looked quite sure with their foot work, tackling the spinners and started to build up a steady partnership. Cook was also a bit proactive in patches when he hit Rehman's natural orthodox spin over mid wicket for four. He soon got a reprieve though as an airy shot to deep mid wicket led to Umar Gul grassing a tough chance.

Meanwhile, Ajmal at the other end started to get into his groove and had a close leg before appeal turned down against Cook. Pakistan used their final available review only to discover that the ball pitched outside the leg stump, exposing their ignorance to the DRS again.

Ajmal, finally got the reward for his persistence when he had Trott caught by Abdur Rehman for 18. In came Kevin Pietersen to join Cook with a tough task at hand for England.

KP (1*) and Cook (41*) played the remainder of the session safely to avoid any further casualties for England as the score progressed to 89/2 with the Poms still needing another 235 runs for victory.

Cook and Pietersen started the post lunch session for England needing to survive the post launch spin assault which has rendered them helpless all too often in the series. Their 31 run partnership ended when Pietersen (31) was bowled by the wily Ajmal. Cook (49) also couldn’t wait long after his partner’s departure and he lent a simple catch to Younus Khan at first slip off the bowling of Ajmal leaving England reeling at 119/4.

The two new batsmen at the crease, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan, tried to bring some resolve to the English chase by getting some a partnership going. Both men though were trouble by the magical fingers of Saeed Ajmal, especially Bell who looked clueless against the wily off spinner. Morgan tried to play the aggressor by smashing a few boundaries including a six off Ajmal.

A smart piece of captaincy by Misbah-ul-Haq saw him toss the ball to Umar Gul to see if there was some reverse swing on offer. This proactive move was rewarded when Gul got both Bell (10) and Morgan (31) caught behind. England survived the rest of the session to head to tea at 173/6 with Matt Prior (10*) and Stuart Broad (4*) at the crease.

The game was there for Pakistan to win after Tea, and they wasted no time getting the job done. Stuart Broad fell for 18, trying to hit his way out of trouble, with Umar Gul picking up a freebie. Gul made it a double blow by getting rid of Graeme Swann for 1 in his next over.

The writing was on the wall, but the tail wagged briefly with Matt Prior launching some big blows in the company of the competent James Anderson. The spinners was brought back to perform the last rites on the English batting, and Ajmal and Rehman delivered, removing Anderson (9) and Monty Panesar (8) respectively. Prior was left high and dry on 49 with England's second essay wrapped up for 252.

In the end it was a comfortable 71 run win for Pakistan, thanks largely to that crucial third wicket partnership worth 216 between Younus Khan and Azhar Ali. The man of the match honours belonged to young Ali, who batted almost 9 hours for his 157 runs, while the man of the series was no surprise either with Saeed Ajmal picking up 24 wickets.


England: A Cook, A Strauss, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, E Morgan, M Prior, S Broad, G Swann, M Panesar, J Anderson

Pakistan: T Umar, M Hafeez, A Ali, Y Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, A Shafiq, A Akmal, A Rehman, U Gul, A Cheema, S Ajmal

Mini Scorecard:

Pakistan 1st Innings 99 all out (44.1 overs, 2.24rpo)
M Hafeez 13 (30) S Broad 4/36
A Shafiq 45 (78) J Anderson 3/35

England 1st Innings 141 all out (55 overs, 2.56 runs per over)
A Strauss 56(150) A Rehman 5/40
K Pietersen 32(62) S Ajmal 3/59

Pakistan 2nd Innings 365 all out (152.4 overs, 2.39 runs per over)
Y Khan 127 (221) G Swann 3/101
A Ali 157 (442) M Panesar 5/124

England 2nd Innings 252 all out (97.3 overs, 2.58 runs per over)
M Prior 49* (58) Gul 4-61
A Cook 49 (187) Ajmal 4-67