While Australia trounced India in Adelaide, cricketing audience around the world were transfixed by another test match in Dubai. That was Pakistan’s phenomenonal and completely awe-inspiring win over the No 1 test team in the world, England, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the second test match of the Jazz Cup 2012. “I wish I could explain it….we’ll have some regrets about that but it was an outstanding game of cricket”, was how a worn-out Andrew Strauss put it. Equally shell-shocked was England’s Monty Paneser whose excellent spin bowling could not prevent, what appears to be a preordained victory.

At first after the end of the Pakistan’s batting at 214, things were looking rather grim, leaving England to score 145 to win. But soon when the two sides stepped back into the stadium, Captain Misbahul Haq had a surprise up his sleeve for English batsmen; instead of opening the attack with a pacer, he started off with spinner Muhammand Hafeez. Nasir Hussain the commentator later observed that this exposed the chink in the armour of the English batting order. With Hafeez sending Alastair Cook back to the pavilion in only a few minutes, the full deftness of the spinners including Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman threw each one of the English batsmen totally off balance. Ramiz Raja rightly said that the batsmen were bowled like toddlers for such was the dexterity of the spin. Abdur Rehman’s skills with the left hand had the ball turning and spinning with over a foot long before finding its way to the bails and pads of the baffled batsmen in quick succession. He had six batsmen sent packing at a meagre score of 25. His partner in crime was the off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who took three wickets. And it was not long before the world’s best test team was bowled out at a startlingly low score of 72. How the entire team was converted into an ill-piloted wreck so soon was amazing because it had Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, who are regarded as one the best hitters in the game.

Congratulations have come from President and the Prime Minister along with comments and words of praise for Pakistan by cricketers from around the globe. The victory has given a weary public something to cheer for and most importantly the optimism that our cricket is finally coming back into top form. The win is also a huge morale booster in the wake of the shameful episode of match-fixing scandal involving three of our players. Well done Pakistan!