Ajmal will knock Poms off No 1 spot on his own

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was in mesmerising form on day one of the first Test against England in Dubai, taking career-best figures of 7-55.

Pakistan dismissed England for 192 before their openers reached stumps at 0-42.

Ajmal won five lbw decisions after England had won the toss and elected to bat at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, with Matt Prior’s gritty knock of 70 to rescue his top-ranked team from a precarious 7-94 the sole innings of substance.

“It’s just a reminder that subcontinental cricket is slightly more attritional,” Prior said after facing 154 balls and hitting just three boundaries.

“You have to play longer.

“”The batters will have to hold their hands up and say: ‘We didn’t get it quite right today.’

“We know we have got the bowlers to bring us back in the game.”

Ajmal did not deliver his promised “mystery ball”, but he and Prior dismissed questions that the hype about “teesra” had played on the batsmen’s minds.

“I can’t comment on whether they have problems with the talk of teesra,” Ajmal said.

“I bowled wicket to wicket, and it was my good day.”

Prior said: “I don’t think he got in our heads.

“Obviously we spoke about him. He’s a big threat. He’s had a good day today, he’s bowled well … I don’t think it’s a case of us overthinking or fearing him … we just didn’t quite get it right.”

Ajmal said: “I did try to bowl that mystery delivery but I am not confident about that.

“Maybe after one or two innings, it will come.”

The off-spinner was the top Test wicket-taker in 2011, with 50 wickets, but has been often criticised for his vulnerability against left-handed batsmen.

“Everyone blames that I can’t get left-handers out, so I proved that wrong,” he said after dismissing four left-handedEnglandbatsmen.

England struggled to handle Ajmal’s offspinners and doosra, the delivery that spins away from the right-handed batsman, and he had some advice for the world’s top-ranked test team.

“They should have played on the front foot but they played bad shots to my advantage,” he said.

The Dubai Test is the first match between the teams since a controversial 2010 series after which threePakistanplayers were charged and later jailed in England for spot-fixing.

Buford Balony says: You can see the Poms won’t last long at No1.


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