A sombre day at Lord's as Swann completes rout

Graeme Swann's continuing pursuit of off-spinning perfection was overshadowed by a big black cloud at Lord's.

Graeme Swann's continuing pursuit of off-spinning perfection was overshadowed by a big black cloud at Lord's yesterday. England's reigning cricketer of the year had his name inscribed on the honours board at cricket's headquarters for the first time. His five for 62 in Pakistan's second innings was his ninth five-wicket haul in under two years of Test cricket, and laid the platform for a landslide home win. On his way to nine wickets in the match, he produced a delivery that was a mini-masterpiece: pitching on leg stump, and turning past the outside edge of the left-hander's bat to clip the top of the off stump. Yet it brought with it only a muted celebration as it was delivered to Mohammad Aamer, the 18-year-old fast-bowler who is one of the players at the centre of the spot-fixing scandal. The match had started so brightly for Aamer, who had enhanced his growing reputation by taking six wickets in no time to cut down England's top order. He ended it in ignominy - least of all because he bagged a pair of ducks.

The outlook could not be any more bleak for Pakistan, and they were eventually all out for just 147. The loss by an innings and 225 runs was their heaviest ever in Test matches, trumping by 27 runs their 2002 capitulation to Australia in Sharjah. The fact the margin of defeat was not the reason for the overwhelming atmosphere of depression told its own tale. Those romantics who were looking for a break in the gloom had a few morsels thrown their way. Stuart Broad signed off his own triumphant Test match in auspicious style, as he threw down the stumps at the bowler's end with a direct hit run out of Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan tail-ender, to bring victory within touching distance. The England No 9's maiden Test century had been the seminal innings of the game, and earned Broad the man of the match award.

And at least one Pakistan batsman could leave with a smile on his face. The prodigious Umar Akmal has had his wings clipped for much of a chastening summer in the UK, but he bloomed at last yesterday. All was already lost by the time he came to the crease. That gave him licence to entertain, and he blazed away for 79 from 68 balls, including a huge six off Swann. Akmal was apparently able to go about his work with next to no verbal accompaniment from the English fieldsmen. Jonathan Trott, in particular, was probably keen to get his own back on Akmal. Trott had been subjected to a running commentary of barbs from the young Pakistan batsman during his own defiant century. Even if the England players were advised not to sledge their opponents yesterday, they probably did not have the will to anyway, given the circumstances. Things were better left unsaid.

* Compiled by Paul Radley

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Directed by: Jon M. Chu

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Directed by: Jon M. Chu

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Rating: ****

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Directed by: Jon M. Chu

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Stars: Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manual Miranda

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Directed by: Jon M. Chu

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Rating: ****

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Directed by: Jon M. Chu

Stars: Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manual Miranda

Rating: ****

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