Rebuilding Respect

Regardless of what happens now - and as I write England are well on the way to victory - there was, in a counter-intuitive, old-fashioned, slightly grim way, something uplifting about yesterday afternoon's proceedings at Edgbaston.

After their shambolic displays with the bat and in the field on Friday and Saturday, and with Graeme Swann wheeling away with a venom few in the current international game can match, Pakistan needed something different, both to preserve their own credibility and to revive a series which was beginning to look like a barely-twitching corpse a matter of days after it had started.

The combative, brave and occasionally stylish batting of Zulqarnain Haider, Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal, did just that, providing a template for their supposed superiors at the top of the order (although much of the devil seemed to have gone both from the pitch and England's bowling by the afternoon) and showing that all is not lost. On a ground that currently resembles a building site, this was the brick-by-brick rebuilding of Pakistan's self-respect.

God, they need to learn how to catch, though.

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