I feel a big sense of deja vu. At the end of the third day of the first test, I wrote a piece called The Ed Smith Show. Jos Butler and Dominic Bess did well with the bat on that day. Today Butler batted Pakistan out of the match and Bess took three wickets. I still am not completely convinced about Bess. Shadab Khan turned the ball. Bess’s wickets seemed to have come because either the batsmen expected the ball to come at a different pace or they were playing for spin which was not there. At the end of the series, we can say that Bess may be able to bat and he may be able to bowl. This I am sure though; if Ed Smith had not picked Butler and Bess then England would have had a bigger loss in the first test and a smaller victory in the second.
Below is the progress of England and Pakistan in the two tests. The progress of the teams in the 2nd test was steady. There were no steep dips or rises as there was in the first test. This would reflect that England had the stranglehold from the start of the game and they just kept tightening their grip. I do believe that Buttler was the only person who attempted to go for the kill. Everyone else kept delivering slashing cuts without going in for the jugular. Everyone who watched Game of Thrones knows what happened when the Red Viper fought the Mountain. Luckily Buttler managed to deliver the killing blow. It would have been a fascinating game if Buttler was not dropped by Haris. The margin of victory is appropriately reflected in the difference in points of what England and Pakistan scored in this test compared with what they scored in the first innings. The interesting thing that I can infer from the numbers is that Pakistan still had a better chance of catching up with England than England had in the first test. Day three was when Jos Buttler went “F**k It” That took the game away from Pakistan and it probably was a signal to quite a few of his detractors. He is going to be rested for the ODI against Scotland. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the series against India.
England outplayed Pakistan in all areas. However it was the bowling by England that was the biggest difference between the sides. The biggest difference between my results and that of CricViz is the fielding. The other numbers seem appropriate.
I do believe that Buttler played an important role in changing the course of the match. I do believe that he deserved to be the man of the match. The problem I have is that the numbers indicate that Dominic Bess scored more points. The three wickets that Bess took are worth more than the extra 31 runs that Buttler made. I am sure that the Impact Index would rate Buttler’s inning as more impactful. I created the index. This does not mean I have to agree with it, The whole purpose is to objectively look at the performances of players in cricket and not the context in what they were made. We fans wear our hearts on our sleeves. This makes it even more important that subjectivity is taken out of the equation as much as possible. Below are the best players in the game.
My numbers have churned out a few surprises. The first and most controversial is obviously Dominic Bess. The next is the dominance of England in this test. I have gone through my results and there is no way that any of the Pakistani players can make it into a test XI for this game. Thirdly; Buttler, Broad, Cook and Root are the players who are solely in the list for their specialist abilities. The remaining have got their ratings boosted by their non core abilities. I was happy with the victory but for the first time I feel extremely hollow and no amount of beautiful dominating numbers can sugar coat it. The sanest answer I have is as LordCanisLupus said the win was Respectable. I have no other explanation.