DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Abdur Rehman is enjoying bowling in the company of Saeed Ajmal as Pakistan has put England in a spin in their test cricket series.
The left-arm spinner Rehman joined offspinner Ajmal in the test bowlers’ world top 10 rankings this week after they claimed a combined 12 and 17 wickets respectively from the matches at Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We support each other so much that we always think that anyone can get a wicket,” Rehman said on Tuesday.
England will face both again in the series finale beginning on Friday in Dubai with Pakistan eyeing its first ever whitewash of England.
Rehman, who has moved to No. 9 in the rankings with Ajmal at No. 2, was man of the match in Abu Dhabi last week with a career-best 6-25 to help skittle England for 72 in the second innings.
Rehman’s eight wickets in the test were his most since his test debut in 2007 against South Africa at Karachi. He played once more against the Proteas, then was dropped for three years until Pakistan opted for a two-spinner attack.
He reached 50 wickets in his 11th test last month, and offers no sign of slowing down with his 32nd birthday approaching on March 1.
The 34-year-old Ajmal has been a regular for Pakistan since his debut in 2009, and he claimed his 100th wicket when he dismissed Matt Prior, the second-to-last wicket of England’s brief innings.
Ajmal promised before the series to reveal a mystery ball, but he might not require it after seeing England struggle against his doosra which spins away from right-handed batsman.
England has been baffled on how to counter the spinners on pitches where the ball has helped slow bowlers from the outset, surprisingly.
The likes of Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell came into the series on the back of some impressive knocks last year that lifted England to the top of the world rankings.
But the capitulation of the England batsmen inside three days at Dubai and within four days at Abu Dhabi summed up their deficiencies.
“We had no idea the test matches will finish in three or four days,” Rehman said.
“The gameplan of the coach and captain was to contain them so that they make mistakes and it’s worked. We have done well against the world No. 1 team and if we play like this we can become No. 1.”
Rehman said the team has not talked about a clean sweep.
“We want to play the third test in the same manner,” he said.