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Old 23-01-2012, 05:21 PM
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Default Who can stop the new murali?

LIKE Muttiah Muralitharan, Saeed Ajmal is never short of a smile, and he had plenty to grin about after sending England spinning to a humiliating defeat in Dubai.

Pakistan off-spinner Ajmal and the Sri Lankan magician have something else in common – they both bamboozle England’s top order.
Murali took 112 wickets in just 16 matches against England, and although Ajmal has some way to go to match that – his 10-wicket haul in the first Test took his total against Andrew Strauss’s men to 22 at an average of just over 20 – he has already laid down an ominous marker in this three-match series.
All the talk before the clash was of Ajmal’s famed teesra – but it was the doosra that did for England.
Ian Bell – traditionally one of England’s best players of spin – was like a little boy lost as Ajmal deceived him twice with a variation that will give the Warwickshire man sleepless nights for a long time to come.
That deception is second nature for a man who brought his magic to Worcester for the second half of last season.
And his county colleague Vikram Solanki believes that Bell and Co will have their work cut out to master Ajmal in the final two Tests.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that what he does is sheer artistry,” said the former England one-day opener Solanki. “To retain the control as he does, given the number of variations he employs, is brilliant. It’s extremely hard to pick those variations.
“If you spend any length of time playing with him, you get the opportunity through trial and error of figuring things out.
“You don’t get that luxury if he’s in the opposition and you’re turning up and taking guard against him in a match situation. Picking him straight away is very difficult.”

England’s batsmen looked to sweep their way out of trouble on a pitch that, in reality, offered him very little assistance. But England’s lack of resistance surprised Solanki.
“Our batsmen are good players of spin, and again that just speaks volumes for how good Ajmal actually is,” he said.
“He’s an outstanding performer at the top of his game. The toughest time is when you’ve just walked in to bat. If you can get through that initial period, then you start to work things out but he has got guys out fairly early in their innings. The fact that he can spin the ball both ways means he doesn’t have to spin it a lot to plant seeds of doubt in the batsman’s mind.”
A lack of certainty underpinned a miserable display that saw England’s top six score just 143 between them in both innings. And a hugely confident Ajmal will ensure those batsmen are given as rough a ride in Abu Dhabi.
“He’s one of the best spinners in the world. He’s a special kind of bowler,” said Worcestershire coach Steve Rhodes. “He has got there through a lot of hard work. He has had to put a lot of time in, and he’s getting the reward for it.
“He’s a jovial character and fitted in really well here at Worcestershire.
“Spinners get better with age, we’ve seen that with Murali, Shane Warne and Graeme Swann.”
Despite his four wickets in Pakistan’s first innings, Swann would be the first to admit that he was out-bowled by a man who didn’t make his Test debut until the age of 31.
Ajmal needs just seven wickets to bring up his 100th wicket in Tests, so he’s clearly making up for lost time.

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