ISLAMABAD: Since his return to international cricket, Mohammad Amir faced critique for losing the swing which was his primary weapon alongside 140kph-plus pace before he was banned, but on Monday Pakistan left-arm pacer put on a show for Essex to remind everyone of why he is compared with Wasim Akram. Operating in windy conditions, with swing at his disposal and fair bounce in the pitch, Amir returned figures of 5-18 in just 11.2 overs - two batsmen bowled for naught and three caught - as Yorkshire went down for a meagre score 113 in 35.2 overs on Sunday. Essex also found it difficult to score on a tricky pitch, but captain Ryan ten Doeschate’s top score of 88 was enough to help them reach 231 in 69 overs. With a lead of 118 in the bag, Amir was asked to share the new ball with Jamie Porter (3-44 in first innings, 4-41 in second). Porter drew first blood, but then Amir snared the next two Yorkshire wickets. Porter added one more to his tally, but Amir looked hungrier for wickets than his new-ball partner and accounted for two more batsmen reducing the Yorks to 37-6 in the 22nd over. Porter and Essex right-arm off-break bowler Simon Harmer brought Yorks to their knees with the next two strikes - 86-8 in the 35th over.
Amir then came in for his last spell to dismiss Ben Coad (28) and completed a second fifer in the same match. Jack Leaning (70 off 131) was the last Yorkshire batsman to be dismissed as they set a 32-run target for Essex to win the match. With a 10-for in the match, Amir registered his best-ever career figures by giving away just 72 runs in a duel which ended in less than two days.
Published in Daily Times, August 9th 2017.