Both the teams are in an unusual position because at the start of the series England were tipped favourites.
They won both the warm-up matches in Dubai and they were confident to keep their top position in Test arena contact.Pakistan have been playing well for last two years but it was the first real test for Misbah-ul-Haq’s side.Saeed Ajmal was touted as trump card for Pakistan and his ‘teesra’ talk played on the minds of English batsmen.Pakistan are leading the series 2-0 after winning both the Tests and they looked like a more settled team now. They will go for a kill and on the other hand England have to play to save No. 1 place.England will also win the $175,000 jackpot for topping the Reliance ICC Test Championship table. The award is presented on an annual basis to the side which finishes the Test Championship table on April 1 cut-off date.But England need an uphill task to win the third Test in Dubai as most of their batsmen had no clue how to handle Ajaml and Abdul Rehman.
Andrew Strauss (68 in four innings) is going through a bad patch while his partner Alastair Cook (109) also failed to live up to his reputation as run machine for England.Jonathan Trott (141) has played well but he is down with stomach bug and Ian Bell (36) looked struggling against Ajmal.Kevin Pietersen (17) is proved a big disappointment on the tour and he needs a slice of luck to counter marauding Pakistani spinners.Eoin Morgan (41) might be a very good player in shorter version of the game but Test cricket needs a different temperament which he lacks at the moment. England might replace Morgan with Ravi Bhopara because they want to get ready for the upcoming tours of Sri Lanka and India.England batting needs to improve. They need to sort out issues soon or face the consequences. England’s bowlers have done well and put Pakistan under pressure in Abu Dhabi. Their fast bowlers can make a difference in Dubai by getting Pakistan out cheaply
.On the other hand Misbah is as cool as ever. He is feeling no pressure of clean sweep and wants to treat this Test as another game. He wants to remain positive and win the game for Pakistan.No team has ever registered a clean sweep in the 58 years of Pakistan-England cricket and Misbah’s team stand a good chance of making history.
His main weapons crafty Ajmal and dependable Rehman are among the top 10 Test bowlers.This is after 23 years year that two Pakistan spinners figure inside the top 10 of the Test player rankings.In September 1988, Abdul Qadir was ranked fifth and Iqbal Qasim 10th, along with Imran Khan (third), Wasim Akram (eighth) and Tauseef Ahmed (13th).The Dubai International Cricket Stadium pitch, which helped spinners from the first day of the opening Test, is likely to continue its assistance to slow bowlers. Though during the Press conference on Thursday Misbah said the pitch looks lke more batting-friendly. Pakistan may consider replacing left-arm pacer Junaid Khan with Wahab Riaz. – khaleej times