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Pakistan vs England, Edgbaston: Another day of fluctuating fortunes, embarrassing moments

It is going downhill (as usual) for Pakistan.

Saeed Ajmal took five wickets to end the England innings at 251 but Pakistan are still trailing the hosts by 160 runs and have nine wickets in hand. Given how Pakistan self-destructed in the first innings, there is every possibility of an innings defeat.

Saeed Ajmal's five wicket haul was a positive for Pakistan

Saeed Ajmal's five wicket haul was a positive for Pakistan

They could curse their luck for much of Pieterson’s frenzied innings of 80, but they would have to blame their fielding for much of what happened on Saturday; and if they had not messed up three clear-cut chances against Pieterson, including one in which Umar Amin did not hold on to a catch because he was more interested in a leg-before shout, Pakistan could still have a shout, or maybe atleast delay the inevitable. Some fantastic bowling from Saeed Ajmal gave them a hope.

Prior, Collingwood, Broad, Swann and James Andersen fell in a space of 8 runs to collapse from 243 for 5 at a time to be bowled out for 251. Saeed Ajmal took four of these wickets, and had another earlier to record his best figures in Tests.

It is a well known fact that Pakistan blows hot and cold, and mostly cold. They have all the talent in the world – couple of best bowlers bowling magically for them time and again, and quality batsmen like Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik. The problem is – something always goes wrong for them at crucial moments. Either it is their batting that lets them down, or it is their fielding. On some occasions if both these departments have clicked, their bowling lets them down (remember semi-finals of the T20 World Cup?)

And their policy of changing team like clothes does not allow them to settle.

On Saturday, they again proved all the above right. Their batting and fielding both did not click, they squandered chances at crucial moments, and they never seem settled as a team. Also, they blew hot and cold – Ajmal’s late burst was a testimony to it.

On Sunday, the men in green must be hoping their batsmen for once come good. Pakistan have to erase a deficit of 160 runs first, and then set a challenging target for hosts England.

An uphill task ahead. Only a miracle can save them now. Pakistan may take solace from an observation that teams have won from worse of situations. But that has not happened often.

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