Wicketkeeper out to restore pride after first Test ‘slap in the face’

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WORLD-beating England have taken one “slap in the face” from Pakistan, and have no intention of letting their hosts land another blow in the second Test.

Andrew Strauss’ tourists, in their first series as the International Cricket Council’s official number one Test team, have not hidden from the fact their own batting let them down badly in the 10-wicket hammering in Dubai.

As they moved on from Dubai to Abu Dhabi yesterday, most with wives and girlfriends in tow having spent the first three weeks on tour as single occupants, there was an optimism and determination that they will quickly recover their composure and pride against Pakistan.

They must do that, of course, to stay alive in a three-Test series which decamps to the Zayed Cricket Stadium this week and will then conclude back in Dubai.

If England are to retrace their steps still able to open their tough 2012 schedule with a winning series, in alien climes, for a start they will have to come to terms with off-spinner Ajmal’s deceptions and variations.

They will not be obsessing about him, or his action, though - because England know the truth is they simply have to put their own house in order.

“This performance has given us a real good slap in the face,” wicketkeeper Matt Prior said of England’s three-day humbling at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“We’re a proud team. We’re a proud bunch of players. We’re used to walking off the pitch, having inflicted the sort of defeat they inflicted upon us - so it was a very bitter pill to swallow. No one in this team enjoyed it one little bit.

“It’s taken a few days to get over it, but now there is a steely determination that it will not happen again.”

He added: “The obvious thing is how we play spin and how we play Saeed Ajmal but it’s important we don’t get caught up with just one bloke.”

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