The highs and lows come thick and fast in Pakistan cricket and over the years followers have come to accept that their team will be heroes one day and more than likely zeros the next. The Pakistan squad that came to England for a 2-Test series was widely accepted as the most inexperienced ever to come to England and many were fearful that it could be an embarrassing affair for Sarfaraz Ahmed and his young squad. A 2-0 defeat at the hands of hosts with some superior fire-power was a given in some eyes and only a miracle of sorts could have changed that outcome.
However one thing that Pakistan cricket has proved over the years is the ability to surprise. Their performance at Lord’s was incredible and close to perfection. In a strange sort of way it was an un-Pakistani like performance as they dominated in all areas of the game throughout the match and even out-fielded and out-caught the hosts. Pakistani fans were overjoyed, satisfied and at the same time in a state of shock at what had transpired at the Home of Cricket.
But in Pakistani cricketing circles, like in many other aspects of life, what goes up must come down. Pakistan in their next game at Headingley came across a fired-up England team who were smarting from criticism after the Lord’s debacle, and were duly thrashed by the hosts by an innings. The only thing that went right for Pakistan was that they won the toss, but it was all downhill after that. England’s bowlers swung the ball right from the start, while Pakistan’s batsmen who showed patience, courage and determination at Lord’s, this time were found wanting at the home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Pakistan struggled to form any partnerships, showed a lack of technique and resolve, albeit in tough and alien conditions and looked the complete opposite of what they were as a team at Lord’s. 174 all out was not what the doctor had ordered for Pakistan and as Head Coach Mickey Arthur alluded to, after making such a low total in the first innings you are always chasing the game and in a perilous position.