Why we enjoyed England being thrashed by Pakistan

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Saeed Ajmal's teesra was surplus to requirements

What about Pakistan, eh? Talk about feisty. They’ve just won a Test match after being bowled out for 99 on the first day. That’s exceptional.

Pakistan seem a really hard team. They’re not too flashy; not too dynamic with the bat; but they fight like a sack of drunk badgers. They’ve handed England a beating the equal of the one they themselves received the last time the two teams met.

No hundreds for England

England’s scores haven’t been quite as low as Pakistan’s in that 2010 series, but the batsmen’s failures have been perhaps more fascinating. We’ve actually really enjoyed these Tests, despite the outcome.

To be honest, we’d have welcomed a couple more matches. We’d like to have seen whether England’s top order could ever have identified both arse and elbow when a spinner’s been bowling. Sadly, the series ends with few high elbows and much high arse.

Have England’s batsmen progressed?

England batsmen v spin has been the main story, but it’s one that now feels fragmented. Spin challenges in Sri Lanka and India will be similar, but the interest here was in seeing how batsmen adapted when repeatedly confronted by the same bowlers.

A great many people have concluded that the batsmen are simply ‘shit’. This is a nice, unequivocal position to take, but misses half the point of Test cricket in our eyes. Compare how the top six have batted in this match with how they batted in the first match and it’s clear they’ve all made changes.

Not one of them has improved enough to be a threat to the opposition, but it would have been interesting to see whether someone could have finally reached three figures were it a longer series. That would have been a triumph in itself. A 4-0 defeat in a five match series would have been a result as well.

We’re not delighted that our expectations were lowered to this extent, but sometimes you just have to adapt.


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  1. That’s brilliant KC! It was subtle, the hint. Yes, indeed, but not impossible to pick up. Clearly you are indicating that the Pakistani spin bowlers raised their arses above the 18.125 degree ICC limit during their run-up. “It was not Ajmal’s teesra”, I hear you murmur ever so softly, “but his badonkadonk”. (Yes, I made you American.)

  2. I’m not convinced. I beg to differ, despite your occassional comedic series of articles being the second most culturally significant consequence of Battenberg.

    I like Pakistan, I always have, even when they are being objectionable. But their batting this series, with the exception of two stands in the 3rd inings of the 3rd test, has been pretty poor. If England’s batting had been even barely competant, we’d be talking about their huge collapses and their batsmen not supporting the bowlers.

    Unfortunately “collapsing like a drunk badger” doesn’t work too well because of their short legs (badgers, that is, not Pakistanis).

    I’m happy that Pakistan are a good cricket team again. They deserved this series, but I’m not sure they won this series due to their “fight”.

  3. There are plenty of positives to take from this series for England. Firstly, it’s finished, which is clearly a positive. Secondly, nobody came down with dengue fever, which can be a risk in the tropics. Thirdly, er… the batsmen didn’t, er no, er… did I mention that it’s finished?

    1. Oh I know. Sun Tzu said that one must know where one’s weaknesses are before one can address them. Or maybe he didn’t say that, but it is definitely the sort of thing that he is famous for saying, so let’s assume that he did say it. Anyway, the English batsmen definitely know where their weaknesses are now, so they are by definition better players than they were before. And clearly their weaknesses are in the United Arab Emirates. So by simply avoiding playing in the UAE in future, all of England’s problems will be solved.

      Maybe it was Confucius.

  4. I blame the BBC. Winning something on Sports Personality of the Year is a curse. Nobody who has ever won anything on Sports Personality of the Year has ever gone on to win anything else. Henry Cooper, Red Rum, Northamptonshire and England cricketer David Steele, Tim Henman, Princess Anne, Man Utd – none of these ever won anything after their success on SPotY, and they never will. In Tim Henman’s case, he hadn’t won anything before either! Is this what we pay our licence fee for? Is it? IS IT?

    1. I have no idea who any of those other people are, but I’ll have you know that David Steele made a invaluable contribution to Derbyshire’s 1981 NatWest Trophy triumph, scoring 0 runs and taking 0-31 off five overs in the final.

  5. Well i’ll be honest i am too excited as an Indian fan to read this blog post, even though i love King Cricket. The excitement comes from the fact that the Eng cricket team has given us an alternative to outrightly admitting that the Indian test team is shit and that it has been whitewashed twice since August 2011: “The top two sides in the ICC Test rankings have, between suffered, three whitewashes since August 2011.” Thank you England for rediscovering your inner self. And cheers to our two great countries that absolutely suck at sports.

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