ABU DHABI: Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman took a career best 6-25 to help Pakistan humble England by 72 runs in the second Test here on Saturday, to give them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The 31-year-old twice took two wickets in successive overs to dent England’s chase after they were set a 145-run target on a weary fourth day Abu Dhabi Stadium pitch, bowling them out for 72 – their lowest against Pakistan in all Tests.
Rehman’s effort overshadowed Monty Panesar’s 6-62, in his first Test for 30 months, which finished Pakistan’s second innings at 214 in the morning.
This is England’s first series defeat after being unbeaten in their previous nine since their loss to the West Indies in early 2009 — a sequence which saw them rise to world number one in the Test rankings in August last year.
Pakistan won the first Test in Dubai by ten wickets. The third Test will also be played in Dubai from February 3.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq said Pakistan wanted to make a match out of it after setting a tricky target.
“We knew that it would be difficult so we wanted to make a match out of it,” said Misbah, who has now won eight Tests with one defeat since taking over in October 2010.
“Our bowlers led by Rehman responded well and this is a great win.”Strauss showed his disappointment at the woeful effort.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” said Strauss, whose side last lost two Tests in a row against South Africa in July 2008.
“We must acknowledge how well Pakistan bowled and they thoroughly deserved the series win.”Rehman was ably assisted by off-spinners Saeed Ajmal (3-22) and Mohammad Hafeez (1-11) in a match which saw spinners dominate from the first day.
England lost their top four batsmen in the space of just 37 balls after an extra cautious start on a difficult pitch.
England captain Andrew Strauss topscored with 32 before he became one of Rehman’s victims during his maiden five-wicket haul.
In the penultimate over before tea, Rehman trapped Kevin Pietersen (one) and two balls later bowled Eoin Morgan (nought) to raise hopes of an unlikely win for Pakistan.
Sensing they could only upset their rivals through early wickets, Pakistan opened the bowling with off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez who responded well by catching Alastair Cook (seven) off his own bowling after England had edged cautiously to 21 by the 15th over.
Bell, promoted to number three after Jonathan Trott was unwell, was all at sea against master spinner Ajmal and his tentative push went through his legs to hit the stumps. He made only three.
Pietersen, who has been woefully out of form making just 16 runs in the series, managed one before Rehman trapped him and in the same over had the equally out of form Morgan bowled to dent England’s hopes of a victory.
Rehman then accounted for Trott (one) and Stuart Broad (nought) in the same over to leave England 7-68.
Ajmal dismissed Graeme Swann (nought) and Matt Prior (18) to complete his 100 Test wickets in his 19th match before Anderson was caught off Rehman to give Pakistan a sensational win.
England’s previous lowest against Pakistan was 130 — made on two occasions at The Oval in 1954 and Lahore in 1987.
Earlier, Pakistan lost their last six wickets with the addition of 89 runs after resuming at 125-4, with all hopes pinned on Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.
Panesar took three of those wickets to finish with his eighth five-wicket haul in Tests.
Azhar Ali (68) and Asad Shafiq (43) added 88 for the fifth wicket before Panesar struck.
But England’s decision to take the second new ball as soon as it was due paid rich dividends as Anderson removed the dangerman Ali with a sharp rising delivery which caught the edge and was caught behind by Prior.
Broad then had Adnan Akmal (13) caught by Strauss in the slips off an ambitious drive in the next over as Pakistan wilted.
Rehman (10) and Ajmal (17) added an invaluable 36 for the eighth wicket before Panesar wrapped up the innings by taking the last two wickets. [DAWN]