Cow Corner

  • Series ratings for England flops

    England were left humbled and humiliated after Pakistan rounded off a convincing 3-0 series whitewash after their 71-run victory in the third Test in Dubai.

    It was a thoroughly chastening experience for Andy Flower's side, and South Africa can now usurp England at the top of the world Test rankings with a 3-0 series victory over New Zealand. The tour as a whole could hardly have gone worse.

    The batsmen were primarily to blame. It was England's first Test series since India visited back in 1986 when only one of the batsmen averaged over 30, and that was wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

    Meanwhile,

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  • Records set to tumble in Dubai

    It would be fitting if one of the craziest Test matches in recent years had a place in the record books as a number of startling stats already hinge on the breathless encounter in Dubai.

    From the moment that Mohammad Hafeez became the 22nd player to be dismissed for the cost of just 268 runs, the potential records have been coming in thick and fast.

    A staggering 15 lbw's have been given so far in this match alone, and that is before England's second innings has been allowed to progress beyond the 20-over mark.

    An incredible tally of 41 lbw dismissals have now been made in the three-match

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  • The value of using the bat

    Perhaps England's batsmen will finally take heed of the advice given to them about using their bats instead of their pads to play against spin after having toiled through two gruelling sessions in the field.

    England have contributed handsomely to the staggering tally of 37 lbws in the series (the record in any length of series is 43) and it took a match-changing partnership from Younis Khan and Azhar Ali to demonstrate the value of using the willow to avoid a DRS downfall.

    After having been repeatedly told how flat the wicket was at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, evidence of it was

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  • Cricket goes crazy in the desert

    Any day that produces a scoreline of 203 for 16 over two innings is certainly not normal.

    Day one of the third Test in Dubai saw some frankly crazy cricket and it will not be remembered affectionately by the batsmen of both sides.

    Indeed, one suspects that a hastily-arranged net session will be swiftly followed by a tot or two of a robust spirit after stumps for the misfiring frontline batsmen.

    Of the 16 wickets to fall in the day, nine were lbw as the bowlers gleefully capitalised upon the batsmen's growing uncertainty and mental fragility in confronting the opinion-splitting Decision Review

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  • It only happens twice a lifetime

    Pakistan crush England

    Test cricket never ceases to amaze and England managed to achieve something today they had only managed once before in the last 110 years.

    It was just the second time in that period England had lost, having been set less than 150 to win.

    Old Trafford in July 1902, Wellington in 1978 and now Abu Dhabi 2012 - defeats of spectacular ignominy.

    And in truth England got nowhere close, dismissed for 72 in less time than a Pro40 innings: it is never a good sign when the boy L E G Byes is your third top scorer.

    The skipper did get to 32 but half of those runs came after Andrew Strauss was inexplicably
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  • Is Broad England’s genuine all-rounder?

    There are few roles more important and yet elusive then a genuine world class all-rounder.

    England have always been more transfixed with the role than most other sides, heralding the status of Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff beyond all measure.

    Since Flintoff hung up his size 14 boots after the 2009 Ashes, the nation has awaited the next instalment of the all-rounder phenomenon with bated breath. It is an obsession which consumes even the most pragmatic of cricket followers.

    Stuart Broad's bowling has improved dramatically since he ditched the ill-advised role of England enforcer and

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  • Strauss far from finished with England

    The lonely walk back to the pavilion (well, the big white building)

    It seems that there must always be at least one member of the England team fighting for their place in the side with their selection under threat, or that is simply how it is perceived.

    England's best performers during their rise to the top of the Test rankings have all endured torrid patches of form with their status as international players put under intense scrutiny.

    Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad, in particular, have had to put up with hearing countless suggestions: that they step back into county cricket; forget about representing their country for a while; and completely change their

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  • Monty puts a spring back in England’s step

    Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann lead the celebrations

    There are some players who contribute significantly more than the mere sum of their runs and/or wickets to their team: either in terms of tactical acumen, motivational gusto or positivity and spirit.

    Monty Panesar offers a great deal to every team he plays in due to his unquenchable enthusiasm and ebullient character, and England were the beneficiaries of his influence on day one in Abu Dhabi.

    He may have finished with just one wicket, but the 33 overs bowled by the 29-year-old enabled his captain Andrew Strauss to employ England's more attacking bowlers in roles more suitable to their

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  • Can England improve in the desert?

    A very bad three days at the office...

    It would be disingenuous to simply explain away England's abject failure with the bat, citing rustiness and a lack of experience in unique conditions.

    England were unceremoniously thrashed inside three days at the hands a side in apparent transition and undertaking a steep learning curve.

    Make no mistake, Pakistan were clinical, ruthless and professional; meanwhile, England's showing was inept, uninspired and insipid.

    England's dire showing with the bat in this Test match was so devoid of substance that scant constructive analysis can be offered.

    The facts are not in the tourists' favour:

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  • The second spinner debate

    Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar

    England have been branded "stubborn", "inflexible", "bloody-minded" and "short-sighted", but is a rigid belief in a system and the make-up of the ideal Test XI something to be criticised?

    Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss have been lauded for the way they have galvanised and led a group of players in their successful partnership; but with every strength lies a potential weakness.

    Would England have less apparent revulsion at the concept of picking a second spinner if they had one of greater ingenuity and guile than the current cab on the rank, Monty Panesar? It is hard to speculate.

    But there

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