Sensational England hammer Pakistan by 74 runs at Rawalpindi to take 1-0 lead in Test series
England produced a victory for generations to remember and talk about in their first Test in Pakistan after 17 years, defeating the hosts by 74 runs on a dead and benign pitch for the bowlers to produce a masterclass that will never be forgotten. England created several records along the way and challenged the ideology and skills of the Pakistan team, which was at the end, beaten fair and square after five days of intriguing and challenging cricket.
A match that looked unlikely to start on time given that England were struggling with the health of several of their players until the last evening, eventually got off on time and England hammered Pakistani bowlers on the first day to record 504/6 at stumps – the highest ever total generated by any team in Test cricket ever on the first day of play.
England eventually finished at a massive 657, against which Pakistan came up with yet another slow but steady approach to make 579, conceding a lead which eventually proved too much for the home team. The 78-run lead acquired in the first innings was followed by another brisk approach with the bat as England improved their run rate, scoring at more than 7 runs an over to declare their innings at 264/7, setting Pakistan a target of 343 runs to win in about four sessions.
Pakistan, who were resolute with the bat in the first innings, could not show similar determination in the second leg as batsmen could not find enough resolve and application when it mattered the most. Pakistan batsman Saud Shakeel was able to threaten the English side with a fine 76 from 159 balls, but he was in a way, the only batsman who could resist the unstoppable visiting team which stormed towards a victory that will be remembered for generations.
Pakistan were bowled out for 268 in the second innings, losing the game by 74 runs with James Anderson taking 4/36 and his fellow right-arm seam bowler Ollie Robinson returning with 22-6-50-4. England captain Ben Stokes had his opponent captain Babar Azam out on the fourth day evening for 4 while Jack Leach took the 10th and final wicket of the Pakistani innings to record a sensational victory for the England team.
In the first innings for England, as many as four batsmen scored centuries with Zak Crawley scoring 122 from just 111 balls and 21 boundaries, Ben Duckett scoring 107 from 110 balls with 15 boundaries and No 3 batsman Ollie Pope, who also kept the wickets for England in the match, finished at 108 from 104 balls with 14 boundaries.
However, the most belligerent of them all was Harry Brook, who slammed 153 from just 116 balls while smoking 19 boundaries and 5 sixes along the way.
England captain Ben Stokes (41) and Joe Root (23) in a way missed out on cashing in on the opportunity of rake up big runs but Will Jacks (30) and Ollie Robinson (37) contributions helped England push on with their run-scoring spree in the first innings as far as possible. England just took 101 overs to make 657 in their first innings, which is indeed one of the quickest any Test cricket team has batted in history.
Pakistan did well with the bat in the second innings with three of their batsmen — Abdullah Shafiq, Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam smacking centuries. However, Pakistan were not as good in their scoring rate as their opponent.
Abdullah Shafiq made his 114 runs from 203 balls with 3 sixes and 13 boundaries, Imam-ul-Haq made 121 from 207 balls with 15 boundaries and 2 sixes where of Babar Azam was quicker than the two opening batsmen, smacking 19 fours and a six to make 136 from just 168 balls. Agha Salman did well at the end of the innings to make a quickfire 53 from 67 balls with 7 fours and a six as Pakistan finished at 579 from 155.3 overs.
The second Test will be played from December 9-13 at Multan.