Monty shines but England lose again

England slumped to their third successive defeat in the final Test in Dubai. Pakistan secured a 3-0 whitewash in the series, placing England’s current status as number one Test nation under threat.

Monty Panesar’s heroics with the ball, claiming his second 5 wicket haul, could not prevent another England failure. Set 324 to win, England never looked likely to reach the target, and were all out for 252, losing the match by 71 runs. Matt Prior and Alastair Cook offered a little resistance, but England could not hold out for long against Pakistan’s patient spin attack.

"There was a consistent failure on our part," the captain Andrew Strauss acknowledged. "You don't become a great side overnight and you don't become a bad side overnight, but there are lessons we need to learn. We played better in the third Test than at the start of the first but that's too little too late."

The weaknesses were not across the board. England’s bowlers played very well in the Tests, and Panesar’s form even threatens Graeme Swann’s place in matches where England play only one spinner. Batting has been the problem, and the most conspicuous failures came from England’s most gifted batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell.

Unless they can rediscover their form in the next series in Sri Lanka, Bell, Pietersen and Eoin Morgan might even find their own places in the side under threat. Several young batsmen in the England Lions set-up are clamouring for a chance in the Test team.

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