Asian cricket is a tough gig. Blistering heat, long days, dusty wickets and pugnacious batsmen. You don’t sleep because you spend all night in the captain’s hotel room trying to figure out a plan.
How do we get these blokes out?
That question goes up on the white board in any team meeting ahead of a tour to Asia. Three sides have commenced difficult Asian tours and they must all answer it.
In fact, with NASA’s recent find in mind, there’s probably more moisture up there. And life too. But that’s another discussion.
Pakistan are a good Test side. Misbah is world class. But he didn’t get runs here, which demonstrates there are others. Shoaib Malik nailed 245 from 420 balls while Asad Shafiq scored an excellent ton at number 6.
England ran out of ideas. All-round hard man Ben Stokes even sauntered in off a few paces and tossed up ‘spin’. Stokes is a good cricketer, not great, just good. As solid as Uluru. His character and desire to fight are his best assets and he was justly rewarded with four wickets (none from spin).
England had picked leg spiner Adil Rashid. Got to Asia they said, spin friendly decks out there they reckon. The poor lad took 0/163 from 34 overs, officially the worst figures for any Test debutante.
Moeen Ali has been promoted to open the batting with serial career ender Alistair Cook. How long before Moeen is out and attending counselling with the 15 other openers Cook has played with? On this occasion both got a start but it is hard to see how England can win the match. A draw would be fine effort, something Australia was unable to achieve there last year.
West Indies are also staring at the white board and thinking; How do we get a wicket mon?
Meanwhile Ireland has defeated Zimbabwe in an ODI in Harare and South Africa were defeated by India in the second ODI of their series. The real stuff on the Proteas tour of India gets under way in a few weeks.
Four Tests between two very good sides. Tantalising stuff for Test cricket maniacs.
Can any of the tourists take enough wickets to win away?