Pakistan looking for Test whitewash against England
Dubai: Pakistan will again rely on spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman to run through an underperforming batting lineup in the team`s search of a first Test series whitewash against England.
Jonathan Trott (141) and Alastair Cook (109) are the only English batsmen to have crossed the 100-run mark in England`s two heavy defeats in the first two Tests.
Ajmal`s offbreaks and the left-arm spin of Rehman exposed England`s inability to bat on subcontinent-like turning wickets in this Gulf country by taking 29 wickets between them.
And Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq would like to see his spinners bowl with the same intensity in the third Test, which starts tomorrow.
England had an ideal opportunity to level the series at Abu Dhabi but the team was out for 72 while chasing a target of 145 runs.
Pakistan has never recorded a clean sweep against England, but Misbah`s men are firm favorites to make a history at Dubai after two superlative performances.
England needs a win to receive the USD 175,000 jackpot awarded by the ICC to the team that finishes top of the Test rankings by April 1. But captain Andrew Strauss is more concerned with his team`s capabilities to counter spin and rectify its mistakes.
England has undergone long training sessions in the past five days facing spin at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, the site of the team`s 10-wicket loss inside three days in the first test last month.
The renowned English middle-order batting lineup comprising Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan have scored just 94 runs combined in two tests, and their early dismissals was one of the reasons for England`s defeats.
Strauss himself is struggling against the spinners with a top score of 32, made in the last innings at Abu Dhabi.