On a Headingly pitch, as ever not conducive to spin bowling, Monty got the best test match figures by an English spinner here for 31 years, hell they’ve only taken 1 in the last decade, to help England to the first home series win over Pakistan since 1982.
Yup on a ground that the best spinner ever – Shane Warne – has taken a whole 3 wickets Monty got 3 in each innings to end with figures of 6 for 156, that along with a couple of 5 not outs & a great catch should go a long way to stopping those damning with faint praise comments from England coach Duncan Fletcher.
And again they were top class wickets not mopping up the 9, 10, jack but the decent players Pakistan have including Inzamam-ul-Haq twice – in the first innings producing one of the greatest dismissals you’ll see as Inzy stumbled over his wicket (pictured), bringing back memories of Aggers and Johnners “just couldn’t quite get his leg over” crease up back in ’91 (Real Audio file) – and one of the best balls you’ll see curving in to pitch on middle then spinning to clip the top of Younis Khan’s off stump – I don’t think Younis could quite believe it, unlike England fans who when Monty is concerned believe, fully.
What made it better was the fact it would be hated so much by those that were taunting Sajid Mahmood, as he was getting a 4 for, with shouts of “traitor” that the first Sikh to play for England was getting their favourites out with such skill. These of course wil be the same idiots that are always claiming “I’m British” when screaming about their rights after another riot.
Still not sure about Sajid Mahmood, at times he looks the part but that’s mainly in his first couple of overs where he bowls some pretty good deliveries but he then seems to go off track with too much pitched short and going down leg. Will be a different story against Australia than here facing just the 3 good bats. If Kevin Shine can work with him a bit more, stiffen up that floppy wrist he might work out.
Harmison was again resting on the laurels of past deeds, just knew his first ten wicket haul at Old Trafford would lead to half pitchers and balls down the leg side. If only he could read a pitch and know what is required – Headingly pitch it up, always has been always will be.
But no Harmy reckons I got 10 with bouncers on the hard fast Lancastrian pitch I’ll do the same on the slower pitch over the Pennines. You’d think it was rocket science the way after a few balls causing the Pakistan batsmen no worries he carries on doing the same all innings instead of altering his length.
Good job Read kept well with all those Harmy leg siders, he had a good game with a bit of pressure on. Excellent with the gloves, but then that’s always been his strong point, his second innings 55 was just what was required and a very good innings in the situation, getting near a hundred with the tail. First innings 38 was a bit lucky really as Pakistan were looking to get through the overs to get the new ball so Read faced “11 of the worst overs in test match history”, as Sir Geoffrey of Boycott put it, from the Pakistan opening bats. So enough to keep him in the side for now.
I think the captaincy has had a positive effect on Strauss’ batting, unlike others who feel they have to lead from the front, it seems to have made Strauss more responsible. Instead of trying to compete shot for shot with the likes of Trescothick & Pietersen it’s made Strauss think more and play the balls on merit and try and bat through the innings, mind you didn’t stop him scoring 116 of 171 balls.
Another hundred from Bell, will it have cemented his place in the side ? One thing that has favoured him through this series is the lack of bounce the Pakistan bowlers get ’cause the thing I feel goes against him is his lack of height against someone who can get a ball to lift Harmison style. But saying that he’s played well against those he’s been put up against this summer, that’s all you can ask – that second innings 4 though will have dented the average a bit.
Overall a good test to win, especially after scoring 515 first and going into the second innings with a deficit and onto the Oval with the series won makes things a lot easier.
Come on Monty’s army.