Pakistan’s bowlers sealed an emphatic 71-run win in the third and final Test against England in Dubai on Monday; inflicting a humiliating 3-0 series whitewash in the process.
Set a daunting 324-run target, England were bowled out for 252, with paceman Umar Gul taking 4-61 and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal 4-67 to help Pakistan achieve a first-ever Test clean sweep against their opponents.
With the ball turning again it was always a difficult task for England’s batsmen, who have been unable to play Pakistan’s spinners throughout the series, on a weary fourth-day pitch at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan won the first Test in Dubai by 10 wickets and the second by 72 runs in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan have also become the first team to win a Test after being bowled out for fewer than 100 runs since 1907, when England, shot out for 76, beat South Africa in Leeds.
It was England’s seventh series whitewash, their first at the hands of Pakistan.
So dominating have been Pakistan’s spinners been that Ajmal finished the series with 24 wickets and Rehman with 19.
England, 89-2 at lunch, were still in with a chance with Alastair Cook (49) and Kevin Pietersen (18) batting well, but they lost four wickets in the space of 84 runs. They went to tea on 173-6.
Pietersen, who struggled for runs in the series, hit Abdul Rehman for a boundary and then hoisted him for a six to post England’s 100, but Ajmal struck from the other end.
The off-spinner produced a beautiful delivery to bowl Pietersen through the gate for 18. He scored a mere 67 runs in the series, during which he was out to spinners on five occasions.
In his next over, Ajmal produced another sharp turning delivery which caught the edge of Cook’s bat and was smartly held by a diving Younis Khan at slip.
Ian Bell (10) and Eoin Morgan (31) added 37 for the fifth wicket, but again they failed to produce a big score in the series as Gul dismissed them in the space of just three runs.
Pakistan took the second new ball at 196-6 and the first ball saw Gul dismiss Stuart Broad (18) and then Graeme Swann (1).
Matt Prior remained not out on 49 when Monty Panesar was dismissed by Rehman for 9.
Pakistan could have wrapped the match up earlier had they not dropped two crucial catches, the first off Strauss on 26 when wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal grassed a simple chance off Gul.
However, that did not hurt Pakistan as Rehman trapped the England captain in the very next over.
Gul then let off Cook on 24 when he failed to hold a top-edge sweep off Rehman.
Ajmal then broke a dangerous-looking 37-run stand between Cook and Jonathan Trott (18) by forcing a top-edge sweep, which was smartly snapped up by Rehman at square-leg.