Shamik Das

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catches win matches. Fact


The Oval, third Test: England v Pakistan (18-22 August)

ON THE eve of the third Test, as Pakistan digest the blow of losing wicket keeper Zulqarnain Haider - and the forced recall of Calamity Kamran - the team face the very real prospect of a four-nil whitewash with defeat in the London Tests this week and next.

To win a Test, you need a bit of luck (the luck of the toss), helpful conditions (weather, the track) and you need the decisions to go your way - and then there are the factors you can control - you need to be disciplined, settled, in the right state mentally and physically, and you need to take your chances: catches win matches, as a simple scroll through the archive of the two Tests to date will attest.

Pakistan have dropped 11 catches in the series so far (compared to England's four) for the addition of 197 runs - exactly one in five of all runs scored by England thus far. The most shocking attack of the butter fingers occurred in England's first innings at Edgbaston, with six chances going begging - three of them off Kevin Pietersen.

Here is the roll of shame in full (commentary from our friends at Cricinfo):


First Test

First innings

4.3 Mohammad Amir to Strauss, no run, dropped! Kamran, what have you done? Perfect outswinger from Aamer, Strauss edges and Akmal puts down the simplest of chances. Kamran kept so well against Australia - relatively speaking, anyway - but this is the worst possible start for him against England.
Strauss on 15; goes on to make 45

94.5 Mohammad Amir to Morgan, no run, dropped! Farhat lets a regulation chance to slip go begging! Aamer did well to find the edge of Morgan's bat once again. This time the edge carried to the slips, where Farhat had set himself in the perfect position to take it... but didn't! That could be another costly lapse for Pakistan, and one really feels for Aamer.
Morgan on 129; makes 130

Second innings

36.5 Anderson to Shoaib Malik, no run, oooh, dropped, it was a very tough chance, England persisting with two slips, despite the dreamy bowling conditions, and it found a thickish outside edge which Swann had to dive a long way to his right with one hand, he held it but lost control as his body hit the ground. Would have been a dolly for a third slip.
Malik on 35; makes 38

Third innings

22.4 Umar Gul to Collingwood, no run, oh no! Kamran has gone from hero back to zero! Dropped! After just pulling off a stunner he's put Collingwood down first ball, it was wide, Collingwood flashed a cut and edges it towards first slip, Akmal flew across and dropped the chance.
Collingwood on 0; makes 1

Second Test

First innings

30.3 Broad to Umar Amin, no run, dropped! Broad swings one from leg to off and a thick edge from Amin flies to second slip, where Graeme Swann puts down what he certainly should have taken.
Umar Amin on 10; makes 23

Second innings

15.5 Mohammad Asif to Trott, no run, first slip drops a sitter! That was a gentle, regulation chance. Thick edge, it went to Farhat at the perfect catching height and wasn't travelling too quickly either. "An absolute dolly," says Bumble, and that's what it was! Inexplicable, and no reward for Asif's wonderful bowling.
Trott on 8, makes 55

21.6 Saeed Ajmal to Pietersen, FOUR, dropped at mid-on! Pietersen skipped down the track and tried to loft down the ground, the ball came off the toe of the bat and didn't get up, looping towards mid-on... where Umar Gul made a half-hearted attempt to take the catch, but ended up just palming the ball away. Not great cricket with the bat or in the field...
Pietersen on 9; makes 80

26.1 Umar Gul to Pietersen, no run, oh no! Dropped by Haider! Almost identical to Pietersen's second-innings dismissal at Trent Bridge, length ball outside off stump, Pietersen tried to force it through cover and got a big inside edge, Haider dived down the leg side but spilled the chance. Bring back Kamran Akmal!
Pietersen on 20; makes 80

36.3 Mohammad Amir to Pietersen, no run, another big appeal! This time for lbw as this comes back from off stump and they again decide not to review. Took an inside edge, otherwise that was out...actually it's dropped. Oh dear, gully ran in and made a half-hearted effort to take it. That really was the easiest catch you'll see, but he didn't seem bothered.
Pietersen on 36; makes 80


75.4 Saeed Ajmal to Swann, no run, dropped by Hameed at slip! It was full, took the edge and went at a regulation catching height to slip, who just put it down! Ajmal looks as though that's really hurt his feelings. Another chance goes begging for Pakistan.
Swann on 0; makes 4

81.2 Saeed Ajmal to Swann, no run, Salman Butt has dropped an absolute sitter at mid-off! It was another switch-hit from Swann, but he didn't execute it well at all, and the ball lobbed gently towards Butt... but he put it down! Inexplicable.
Swann on 4; makes 4

Third innings

19.5 Anderson to Imran Farhat, no run, dropped well, would you believe it, Paul Collingwood has shelled one at third slip. He had to move to his right a touch, it was quite low but you'd expect him to swallow those. Farhat pushed hard outside off, a good line from Anderson and a rare blemish from England.
Farhat on 15; makes 29

Fourth innings

7.3 Saeed Ajmal to Strauss, no run, dropped, the keeper has shelled one. Strauss forces off the back foot and it's a big edge, was a very tough chance.
Strauss on 10; makes 53 not out


24.4 Saeed Ajmal to Strauss, 1 run, dropped by Haider! It was another tough one - not quite as hard as the last one that went down - but a thick edge that found the edge of Haider's glove but burst through and looped over the slips!
Strauss on 38; makes 53*

To have any chance, especially away from home against a major power like England, you need to be on top in the majority of sessions in all disciplines. The bowling attack can be brilliant at times, witness the blowing away of Australia for 88 earlier this summer, yet they have been badly, badly let down by their fielding unit, both against the Aussies and as illustrated above, against England.

And as for their batting? They've only topped 300 three times in their past 19 innings, and not once in eight innings this tour, skittled for 148, 289, 258, 182, 80, 72, 296 and chasing down 180 for the loss of seven wickets against Australia at Headingley. Still, at least they've got Mohammad Yousuf back in the side; if he can recapture his form of that glorious summer of '06, Pakistan could yet pull this one out of the flames.

Thursday, November 30, 2006: Yousuf bats his way to immortality


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