Learning the lessons from the Lord's Test


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  1. #1
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    Learning the lessons from the Lord's Test

    Immense thanks to @Markhor for this well-written piece.


    The genius and frailty of Pakistan cricket was all on show over the four gripping, see-sawing days of Test cricket at the prestigious Lord's Cricket Ground. Jekyll and Hyde in equal measure. Perhaps doctors should prescribe a strong dose of blood pressure pills for every Pakistani cricket fan. The Pakistani boys truly started the series with a magnificent win. There are plenty of lessons to be learned. Without any shadow of doubt, this is a very famous victory which will remain in the hearts of many Pakistani cricket fans for plenty of years to come, but there’s always some room available for making improvements.

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    Despite Misbah-ul-Haq’s stabilizing influence, even this golden oldie is not immune to the insanity that can be par for the course in Pakistani batsmanship. Misbah has supporters and doubters aplenty. His supporters point to a superb hundred in the first innings after Pakistan were creaking at 134/4 and the ease in which he played Moeen Ali who looked in requirement of some form of psychological evaluation after the mauling he received in the desert last winter. Ali’s average of 48 and economy of 4.08 in UAE were large part due to Pakistan’s captain. His many detractors will point to the wild heave to Alex Hales on the boundary second ball during a tough phase for Pakistan in the second innings and against of all people – England’s bearded spinner who said in his press conference after the Third Day that Misbah was nearly ‘impossible’ to bowl at. His supporters will reply that Azhar Ali and Younis Khan’s block-a-thon created unnecessary pressure on Misbah to up the ante. The irony of that argument will not be lost on Misbah’s detractors – who levelled that criticism at Pakistan’s skipper in the one day format. To drop Misbah in this series would be ludicrous, however one feels England may be his final swansong.

    However Misbah is not the only one after Lord’s requiring cross-examination. The other golden oldie, Younis Khan, was described as a 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' by Geoffrey Boycott on BBC’s Test Match Special in the first innings in a usual blunt Geoffrey Boycott manner. The fear amongst many Pakistani fans was whilst no doubting Younis’s mastery against spin in Asia, his technique against pace has regressed over the years and his reflexes are too slow as he is aged to cope against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in their own den. Those criticisms will not be negated by two scratchy innings of 33 and 25 where Younis Khan hopped, skipped and jumped throughout. The England bowlers had a strategy – bowl full to Younis Khan to get him out LBW, particularly with Younis Khan shuffling across the wickets. It's unlikely for Younis Khan to be dropped in this series but Babar Azam’s exploits for the 'A' team also on these shores will not go unnoticed by Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and will be one for the future.

    Our two openers are not only in the dock but readying to face a proverbial firing squad. To find the last Pakistani opener to score a century in England, you have to go back to Saeed Anwar’s majestic 176 at The Oval in 1996. Clearly, Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood are not going undergoing a Damascene conversion overnight into Saeed Anwar. The technical issues were glaring. The feet of both openers were stuck on the crease with hard-handed pokes outside the off-stump; Mohammad Hafeez was particularly guilty of playing away from his body. Not wise with Jimmy Anderson’s impending return. Despite blunting the new ball for an hour in the first innings, the openers always looked vulnerable. What to do? One suggestion is to promote Azhar Ali up the order, given he’s practically opening anyway. Another is to introduce young Sami Aslam, a promising batsman with a formidable U19 record but still raw and England has no hiding place for an opening batsman. One area not for dispute is the quality of Asad Shafiq. His technique and shot selection were widely praised by commentators, with two knocks coming at vital stages.

    What have we learnt about our bowling? Mohammad Amir looked every bit a bowler inching his way back from a six year absence from Test cricket. With the new ball, he struggled to get his length right but there were enough glimpses of quality to remain hopeful the best is yet to come, especially against Alastair Cook who notably struggled against him in 2010. However the pacers took too long to realise Cook will gobble up deliveries on his pads all day long and that the key is to bowl fuller and wider outside off-stump against him.

    With Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz, it was a familiar story. Both men capable of a superb wicket-taking delivery, the former’s triple strike on Sunday morning prime example, but never far from a pressure releasing half volley. Too used to bowling a shorter length in UAE, it took time for our pacers to pitch the ball up as one must in England. England raced to fast starts in both innings. A solution could be to introduce Imran Khan who could play a containing role. Maybe Hasan Ali as a left-field call who can also shore up the lower order? Such doubts are non-existent for Yasir Shah. The leggie from Swabi bamboozled the English batsmen in a way reminiscent of Abdul Qadir’s wizardry in the 1980s. Shah relied on natural variation and subtle changes of pace rather than raging turn and thus became the first leg-spinner to take a 5-fer at Lord’s since his mentor Mushtaq Ahmed in 1996. Zulfiqar Babar must acquaint himself to the splinters on the bench for now.

    If Pakistan are to compete in this series, sturdier opening partnerships, fewer soft dismissals, more disciplined new ball bowling, and less butterfingers behind the stumps are a must. A 67 run lead ought to have been a 167 run lead on a pitch with few demons. England are far from invincible and Pakistan have shown they are beatable. Alex Hales, James Vince and Gary Ballance are yet to cement their spots in a batting order that whilst deep, relies heavily on Alastair Cook and Joe Root. As the legendary ITV commentator Brian Moore said after Arsenal famously clawed their way into the title decider at Anfield in 1989, it’s all up for grabs now.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 18th July 2016 at 22:44.

  2. #2
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    Barring a major reversal at old trafford, and injury the same team is required for all matches.
    The other remarkable thing about this was how much steel this batting line up has. When we were 4 down in the second innings with the captain gone: teams of yester years (cape town 2006 Cape Town 2013) would have folded up in no time.
    pakistans bowling might have delivered the impactful blows but the match was set up by our batting in both innings.

  3. #3
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    Excellent analysis

    Pakistan need to guard against complacency. The pushup celebration was good but it cannot hide some issues with the teams fielding which almost cost the game


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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Excellent analysis

    Pakistan need to guard against complacency. The pushup celebration was good but it cannot hide some issues with the teams fielding which almost cost the game
    Not to mention our openers who have failed time and time again - yes, even Hafeez outside the subcontinent.

    Azhar Ali is also ill-suited to playing outside the subcontinent (hope he proves me wrong though)

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    We have to keep in mind that this is the same Hafeez who played reverse swing and spin in the UAE with uncommon ease en route to his 151 against England. Regarding Azhar as an opener, it sounds like a decent idea but he's done so well at 3 over the last few years, we have to consider that Pakistan would be losing their long-term no.3 batsman so who will replace him? No.3 is the most important batting position and Azhar has developed in to the role over the course of 6 years, e.g. developing his game vs spin using the paddles.

    I'm wondering how Babar can fit in to this team.

    Hard to drop Rahat as he took wickets, Amir is Amir and Riaz is a must if the pitch will be dry as it is predicted. Times like this I realise what an asset Hafeez was as an all-rounder, especially with a team like England that has 3-4 left handers.

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    Fantastic article @Markhor!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Wristy_Shuffler View Post
    We have to keep in mind that this is the same Hafeez who played reverse swing and spin in the UAE with uncommon ease en route to his 151 against England. Regarding Azhar as an opener, it sounds like a decent idea but he's done so well at 3 over the last few years, we have to consider that Pakistan would be losing their long-term no.3 batsman so who will replace him? No.3 is the most important batting position and Azhar has developed in to the role over the course of 6 years, e.g. developing his game vs spin using the paddles.

    I'm wondering how Babar can fit in to this team.

    Hard to drop Rahat as he took wickets, Amir is Amir and Riaz is a must if the pitch will be dry as it is predicted. Times like this I realise what an asset Hafeez was as an all-rounder, especially with a team like England that has 3-4 left handers.
    When can hafeez bowl again as his ban is already finished. I think he would hv go through the test again and clear it in order for him to bowl again.. any news on that ??

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    Well written article.

    One area where Pakistan have really improved is in planning how to play a test match and then in the execution of the plan. With a few exceptions, they remained patient throughout the game and let the game come to them as opposed to England who tried to be too aggressive and eventually paid the price for it.

    In the second test, I expect England to make adjustments and play the game a lot more like Pakistan.. That they have decided to bring in Rashid suggests the pitch will help spinners. Pakistan will need to out think and out fox them again.

    I don't expect much from Shan but if Hafeez plays within himself and improves on his shot selection I believe he can score runs on this tour. He has the talent.

    Azhar needs to show his 2 centuries in the side matches were not a fluke and is due for a big score. As far as Asad is concerned, this could be the tour where he tops the batting average and provides real return on the investment made on him so far.

    The games will be close and every bit of contribution will count.


    Similar to the 1st test winning the toss will be key and odd are against Misbah as his streak of winning the tosses will eventually be broken.


    Pakistani batsmen - An endangered species?

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    Vince is a bigger threat than anyone that will be inducted next game. Do not let him gain confidence.


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    How can Pakistan perform better in the 2nd test?

    As the team begins to look forward to the 2nd test, it is easy to ignore what didn't go Pakistan's way and follow the tradition by simply sticking with the 'winning combination'.

    I hope the team management team realizes that Pakistan won without any contribution from the openers. The third pacer, Wahab Riaz, was largely ineffective with only 2 wickets at an average of over 55. And when you factor in 2 ducks in both innings, the picture looks even grimmer. It may make sense to bring in Z. Babar given England' not so impressive performance against spin.

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    Small sample size.

    You have to give everyone the next test.

    The warm up game after the 2nd test can be used to test bench strength. Plus, the coach and skipper will have more information about how the openers are doing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    When can hafeez bowl again as his ban is already finished. I think he would hv go through the test again and clear it in order for him to bowl again.. any news on that ??

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    His ban is not finished. Because it was a second failed test, he was banned for one year, but is not allowed to return until he passes a test of his reworked action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junaids View Post
    His ban is not finished. Because it was a second failed test, he was banned for one year, but is not allowed to return until he passes a test of his reworked action.
    So when is likely to take the test again? I know he can't bowl unless he clears the test and what will the repercussions if in case he fails the test again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    So when is likely to take the test again? I know he can't bowl unless he clears the test and what will the repercussions if in case he fails the test again?

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    He could - and should - have done it already. He only squeaks into the team on merit if he bowls off-spin into the rough created by the three left-arm quicks.

    As a specialist opener he is not worthy of a place in the starting eleven outside Asia. Not even close.

    I'm not sure how long Mickey Arthur's patience will last.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junaids View Post
    He could - and should - have done it already. He only squeaks into the team on merit if he bowls off-spin into the rough created by the three left-arm quicks.

    As a specialist opener he is not worthy of a place in the starting eleven outside Asia. Not even close.

    I'm not sure how long Mickey Arthur's patience will last.
    Couldn't agree more. He's a liability on the team outside Asia but with his off spin he can make the cut.

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    All the expected frailties we had before the series are all for there to see in the 1st test despite winning. However Pakistan have shot themselves in the foot with some sqaud selections which wont help us across the series.

    The opening pair, Hafeez was always going to be a liability in these conditions and he may have 1 good inns but will be out fishing most of the time. Shan masood? well ive said this before how can such a technically inept player be continually picked when its clear he was worked out by england in the UAE, pakistan cant afford to be 20/2 every single test inns espcially when Azhar Ali has no intention of showing any intent and seems happy just blocking at number 3. Then we are left with an untested opener in sami Aslam or open with Azhar and if thats the case we have ifitkar as the back up middle order batsmen and am sorry to say hes not the best reserve middle order batsmen in pakistan right now, but has been picked because he can just about hold a bat and turn his arm over. If pakistan start both inns as poor as they did at lords at old trafford they will lose the game.

    In regards to YK am hoping that the 1st test was just a blip and he actually proves his worth once again with some big runs.

    Also in relation to the bowling Yasir and Amir were always going to be Auto picks and the coach has already said wahab will get more leeway then others as he can do some damage with ball but be expensive. That means the 3 seamer has to be the guy who can bowl good tight lines and maybe take wickets. In both inns despite his 3 wickets in 2nd inns rahat bowled utter garbage, it was like watching malcolm sami bowl, just run up dont think and hope for the best and in end he got lucky with 3 bonus wickets. pakistan cant afford that rest of the series.

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    Pakistan has major issues off course- it is not ideal that our openers will be averaging about 25 and out tail can not bat.

    However this is not to say we can not compete. Given my expectations of Shaan I was pleasantly surprised with how he batted in the first innings. Hopefully he has Sohail Khan bowling to him from 19 yards to replicate Jimmy bringing the ball back into him!

    Pakistan are very big on the roles of each individual atm and I was generally pleased with how Shaan went about his business.

    The key for Pakistan in the next game is batting first and getting to 350 somehow. From there we are in the game whatever happens. I am expecting Amir to be alot better and Wahab will be lethal if he can keep up his second innings performance.

    The good thing is we didn't really have a proper Pakistan induced collapse of the England batting where we take 4 or 5 wickets in 4 or 5 overs and I see Wahab bringing this to the series at Old Trafford, the best place for reverse.

    So we need to score 350. This at the moment solely relies on Azhar and Shafiq and then the support and guts provided by Sarf YK and Misbah. Azhar and Shafiq need to stand up properly and score hundreds, something I feel that they are capable of.
    Wahab Yasir and Amir also need to stick it out when they bat.

    Every run is vital


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    Abdullah,

    We had collapses in both inns, We were 280/4 and ended up 339 all out and the 2nd inns our back end of the inns folded. The facts are if your middle order keeps having to face up to the new ball and our tail keep collapsing like a pack of dominoes then sooner or later we are going to get found out, We cant keep praying for our bowlers to keep bailing us out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amjid Javed View Post
    All the expected frailties we had before the series are all for there to see in the 1st test despite winning. However Pakistan have shot themselves in the foot with some sqaud selections which wont help us across the series.

    The opening pair, Hafeez was always going to be a liability in these conditions and he may have 1 good inns but will be out fishing most of the time. Shan masood? well ive said this before how can such a technically inept player be continually picked when its clear he was worked out by england in the UAE, pakistan cant afford to be 20/2 every single test inns espcially when Azhar Ali has no intention of showing any intent and seems happy just blocking at number 3. Then we are left with an untested opener in sami Aslam or open with Azhar and if thats the case we have ifitkar as the back up middle order batsmen and am sorry to say hes not the best reserve middle order batsmen in pakistan right now, but has been picked because he can just about hold a bat and turn his arm over. If pakistan start both inns as poor as they did at lords at old trafford they will lose the game.

    In regards to YK am hoping that the 1st test was just a blip and he actually proves his worth once again with some big runs.

    Also in relation to the bowling Yasir and Amir were always going to be Auto picks and the coach has already said wahab will get more leeway then others as he can do some damage with ball but be expensive. That means the 3 seamer has to be the guy who can bowl good tight lines and maybe take wickets. In both inns despite his 3 wickets in 2nd inns rahat bowled utter garbage, it was like watching malcolm sami bowl, just run up dont think and hope for the best and in end he got lucky with 3 bonus wickets. pakistan cant afford that rest of the series.
    You are being ultra critical. Of course what you say is not wrong and better squad could have been selected so that we are able to press home the advantage but in hindsight the view could also be taken that it's best not to experiment. Let me explain.

    Openers: yes Hafeez and Shan should not be there ideally but only two realistic alternatives spring to mind. Azhar opens with a rookie and all move up so a new guy can bat at 6 (or Hafeez ). Or just Accept that as has been the case for 20 years the openers are there to blunt the first ten overs, take shine off ball and leave it at that. There is no debate that they have to go, just not in the middle of series with no adequate back ups. It's been tried befor with India 12 years or so ago with akash chopra.

    Bowlers: the lords pitch is an anomaly and Rahat couldn't adjust his line. I suspect he will be better at OT AND perhaps wahab. They've earned their chances let them bowl.

    I suspect England will play Yasir much better and get to the pitch of the ball more.

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    One thing I am pretty sure about now is that Shan Masood is not a long term option. He has way too many flaws in his batting not to be exploited by good bowlers , pakistan will have to look past him very soon. Bringing azhar to open could prove to be a very good decision. People argue that azhar ali has settled into the number 3 role so well that bringing him to open can disturb him but they have to see the fact that he almost always comes to crease when the ball is brand new and he is definitely doing the job of an opener at number 3. Hafeez at number 6 sounds a lot better than at number 1/2.


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    Thanks for the compliments guys !

    Definitely agree openers look vulnerable. Shan Masood was all at sea in UAE vs Jimmy Anderson so will be watching from behind the sofa to see how he fares at Old Trafford against him.
    Last edited by Markhor; 21st July 2016 at 23:16.

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    england have no right to win this series with no spinner, toss will be crucial but even if pak don't win at manchester they'll win at the oval as they always do. i see no way for england to claim back the trophy
    Last edited by majiz; 21st July 2016 at 23:44.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Amjid Javed View Post
    All the expected frailties we had before the series are all for there to see in the 1st test despite winning. However Pakistan have shot themselves in the foot with some sqaud selections which wont help us across the series.

    The opening pair, Hafeez was always going to be a liability in these conditions and he may have 1 good inns but will be out fishing most of the time. Shan masood? well ive said this before how can such a technically inept player be continually picked when its clear he was worked out by england in the UAE, pakistan cant afford to be 20/2 every single test inns espcially when Azhar Ali has no intention of showing any intent and seems happy just blocking at number 3. Then we are left with an untested opener in sami Aslam or open with Azhar and if thats the case we have ifitkar as the back up middle order batsmen and am sorry to say hes not the best reserve middle order batsmen in pakistan right now, but has been picked because he can just about hold a bat and turn his arm over. If pakistan start both inns as poor as they did at lords at old trafford they will lose the game.

    In regards to YK am hoping that the 1st test was just a blip and he actually proves his worth once again with some big runs.

    Also in relation to the bowling Yasir and Amir were always going to be Auto picks and the coach has already said wahab will get more leeway then others as he can do some damage with ball but be expensive. That means the 3 seamer has to be the guy who can bowl good tight lines and maybe take wickets. In both inns despite his 3 wickets in 2nd inns rahat bowled utter garbage, it was like watching malcolm sami bowl, just run up dont think and hope for the best and in end he got lucky with 3 bonus wickets. pakistan cant afford that rest of the series.
    Agree. What are the chances Zulfi is the replacement? He can keep it economical, shoulder more of the bowling burden than any seamer, and will likely be very effective in the last innings. Since he is usually capable of a quick 15 we could swap him for Hafeez.

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    Just don't take cricket too seriously, work on your basics, keep it cool, and we will win easily.

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    Will miss most of the test apart from day 2 and 3. But I hope we can improve on certain things and keep up what we did well. Lets do this!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Will miss most of the test apart from day 2 and 3. But I hope we can improve on certain things and keep up what we did well. Lets do this!!!
    If that's the case, I hope we can wrap it up by day 3, insha'Allah...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Will miss most of the test apart from day 2 and 3. But I hope we can improve on certain things and keep up what we did well. Lets do this!!!
    Can't you go to the stadium to watch it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Last Of The Stars View Post
    Can't you go to the stadium to watch it?
    At work brother. Gonna have to keep upto date on cricinfo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    If that's the case, I hope we can wrap it up by day 3, insha'Allah...
    InshaAllah brother! Day 4 and day 5 missing the full days. At least tommorow I can watch most of the evening session

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