Pakistan examine England`s Ashes credentials
London: Pakistan should provide a further searching Test of England`s Ashes credentials in the final Test starting on Thursday after twice exposing their batting at the Oval.
Lord`s has replaced the Oval as the venue for the final Test of the English summer this year with Pakistan on a roll after their four-wicket win in the third Test.
Victory at Lord`s would mean a share of the four-match series for Pakistan after they drew 1-1 with Australia, who begin their campaign to regain the Ashes in Brisbane on Nov. 25.
Pakistan will field what has evolved into the best-balanced attack in world cricket against a batting lineup with plenty to prove.
Mohammad Asif`s late movement from a probing length has delighted the connoisseurs of swing and seam and evoked comparisons with Australian Terry Aldermann and New Zealand`s Richard Hadlee, who both proved so deadly in English conditions.
His new ball partner Mohammad Amir, still only 18, combines high pace with reverse swing while a second left-armer Wahab Raiz displayed speed and disconcerting bounce in his debut at the Oval.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal completes the attack with a doosra which none of the English top order has consistently picked.
Pakistan received another boost on Tuesday with the news that pace bowler Umar Gul, who missed the Oval Test with a hamstring injury, was likely to be available for selection.
Gul, who took five wickets in the first Test against Australia at Lord`s, had a full workout in the Lord`s indoor nets.
England coach Andy Flower agreed that conditions in the first two Tests, which his team won comfortably, made batting difficult for both sides. But he said the England lineup had underperformed in better conditions at the Oval.
"On a good Oval pitch, scores of 230 and 220 weren`t good enough to win a Test match and we need to produce better results, simple as that," Flower told reporters this week.
"Lord`s should provide us with a very good opportunity to put things right and it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that happens.”
"At the Oval, although we won the toss and batted, they were still quite trying conditions.”
"But in the second innings there were no excuses whatsoever. We set up a brilliant platform through Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott and we performed poorly after that. Any batting collapse is concerning and there have been too many of them."