Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England pace bowler Stuart Broad and spinner Dominic Bess took three wickets apiece to help their side annihilate Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs on the third day at Headingley.
Broad and Bess were well supported by batsman Jos Buttler, who scored an unbeaten 80, as England finally secured their first Test win after enduring a frustrating eight-game winless streak in the longest format.
While England celebrated their drought coming to an end, Pakistan had to come to terms with the heartbreaking reality that their chance of securing their first Test series win in England since 1996 had gone up in smoke.
Starting off the day on 302/7, England added 17 runs to their overnight score before debutant Sam Curran was caught by Asad Shafiq off the bowling of Mohammad Abbas for 20.
Curran’s dismissal caused some controversy as the on-field umpires gave a soft signal that the catch had not been taken cleanly. However, third umpire Paul Reiffel thought otherwise and gave it out.
Broad fell shortly after for two runs, but Buttler upped the ante since England only had one more wicket in hand.
He began taking the attack to the Pakistan bowlers and raced past his fifty. However, he was left stranded on 80 off 101 balls, which included 11 boundaries and two sixes, when James Anderson was dismissed by Hasan Ali for five runs.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Thanks to Buttler’s superb innings, England made 363, which gave them a 189-run lead.
Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Abbas, Hasan and Mohammad Amir snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Shadab Khan, he took one wicket.
Trailing by 189 runs, Pakistan got off to a disappointing start as opener Azhar Ali was clean bowled by Anderson for 11.
Haris Sohail fared no better as he was brilliantly caught by Dominic Bess at extra cover off the bowling of Anderson for eight runs.
Shafiq was walking back to the pavilion a short while later as he was caught behind off the bowling of Broad for five runs.
Shafiq was not given out initially, but England captain Joe Root decided to review the decision. It ended up working out in his favour as replays showed that the ball had grazed Shafiq’s glove before being caught by Bairstow behind the stumps.
Imam-ul-Haq and debutant Usman Salahuddin temporarily kept England at bay with a 42-run partnership before Imam was given out lbw off the bowling of Bess for 34. Imam opted for a review, but it didn’t save him as replays showed the ball was pitching in line and hitting the top of middle stump.
Once Imam was gone, Pakistan began to collapse as captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab and Faheem were removed in quick succession.
Salahuddin, who had survived up to this point, ended up being caught by Root at mid-on off the bowling of Bess for 33.
With Broad taking out Hasan and Abbas in quick time, Pakistan were skittled out for a dismal 134.
Broad and Bess took three wickets apiece, while Anderson picked up two, and Curran and Chris Woakes claimed one wicket each.
Sarfraz was gutted to have lost, and said: “First we won the toss and batted, that didn’t work out for us. Good batting pitch, but the first two sessions they bowled well and we couldn’t capitalise. Not as disciplined as Lord’s, batting wasn’t up to the mark.
“[Hasan drop of Buttler?] You take some good catches, but catches dropped are part of the game. We were down 180, pressure on the batting side, but again we didn’t capitalise. We have a young side, we learned a lot and inshallah will improve. The way we came back at Malahide and Lord’s, I’m proud of my team.”
Root was thrilled to have won, and said: “[Pleasing result?] It was, we spoke as a group, it was a tough week and we responded well, spoke about character but wanted to play with pride and enjoyment. We learned quickly and adapted well to the conditions.
“Didn’t win the toss, ended up bowling first and it went in our favour. A few guys stood up, think that was a good thing for us. [Senior bowlers on first morning] They set the tone, were fantastic and backed up by the group. When it came to the batting we were disciplined, good balance of attack and defence and that’s the aim of the game. Came out and proved what were about as a side.
“Nature of the pitch, it offered a lot throughout the game, swung and seamed, made for some really good cricket. Credit to the groundstaff for producing the wicket, credit to the lads for their performance. I said we had a point to prove and a lot of hard work to do. We’ve got time to achieve that, this is a good step and chance to take it forward.
“[Three new players?] Think they did a really good job, Keaton played well first up, the two young lads performed exceptionally well, exactly what you want for your attack.
“[First Test?] We were below par, we know that. We were down on confidence from a tough winter, but we came back and showed the character, showed we were a better side.
“[Can you beat India?] I think so, absolutely, It’s about making sure we continue to improve and have good weeks like this, taking confidence forward.”
Buttler was named Man of the Match, and said: “Yeah, absolutely, great to be back in, brilliant opportunity, wanted to make the most of it and really enjoy the occasion. Think the bowlers were always in the game, there’s always a delivery that can take a wicket, made batting tricky at times.
“Some fantastic players around, we showed that after a tough week at Lord’s, showed everyone what the side is capable of, which is pleasing. Had the opportunity to try and slog a few, playing the situation. I think I’m lucky, for someone to take a punt on you, that gave me confidence, to say there’s a Test player in there, doesn’t matter what you’ve been playing. Quietly confident in my own ability but nice for someone to show that faith in me.”
Abbas was named Man of the Series, and said: “Thank you so much, disappointed not to get the five-for at Lord’s and get on the honours board, but if Pakistan had won the series it would have been the icing on the cake. But happy to be man of the series.
“Part of the game on a seaming track, sometimes you get the nicks, sometimes you don’t. [England attempts to combat movement] I’ll work on my bowling next time, they changed the ploy and got on the front foot, standing outside the crease, but I’ll keep looking to improve. Thanks, and happy birthday to Wasim Akram!”