Ben Stokes' men defeat Pakistan by 74 runs; next match in Multan
RAWALPINDI: Fast bowlers Ollie Robinson and James Anderson took four wickets apiece as England pulled off an exciting 74-run win over Pakistan Monday in the first Test in Rawalpindi.
Anderson took 4-36 and Robinson 4-50 on a placid Rawalpindi Stadium pitch to dismiss Pakistan for 268, with the stadium floodlights glowing as daylight faded.
Pakistan's last pair of Naseem Shah (six) and Mohammad Ali (nought) defied England for 35 minutes and 8.5 overs before spinner Jack Leach trapped Naseem leg-before, leaving England players ecstatic.
The win — giving England a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series — embellished England's newly adopted "Bazball" cricket, an aggressive style taken from the nickname of head coach Brendon McCullum.
Skipper Ben Stokes was also active throughout the day, keeping unrelenting pressure on the Pakistan batters with close-set fields and intelligent bowling changes.
He hailed the win as "special", figuring they had less then 10 minutes to seal victory before bad light would have been called.
"I think it's maybe up there with one of England's greatest away wins," said Stokes.
"We've done something very special this week."
The win is England's seventh in eight Tests under the new management of McCullum and Stokes, installed in May this year.
It was achieved after dangling the carrot-like target of 343 runs for Pakistan to win in a possible 130 overs.
For a while, Pakistan had their chance.
At tea, Pakistan were 257-5 — needing 86 runs to win in an intriguing last session.
England needed five wickets, and Robinson struck in the fourth over after the break, trapping Agha Salman leg-before for 30.
In his next over he claimed Azhar Ali for 40 to bring England close to victory.
At the other end, Anderson removed Zahid Mahmood (one) and Haris Rauf (nought) in the same over as four wickets fell for just seven runs.
Then it was down to nail biting before Leach removed Naseem.
"We are disappointed as a team," Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said afterwards.
"At lunch we were confident that we could win, but credit to England on their brilliant effort."
A total of 1,236 runs were scored by the two teams in their first innings — England 657 and Pakistan 579 — before the visitors set the Test alight by declaring their second innings at 264-7 on Sunday.
Pakistan batted with caution in the first session as they progressed from an overnight total of 80-2 to 169-3, losing opener Imam-ul-Haq for 48 to pacer Anderson.
Mohammad Rizwan was one of two wickets to fall in the second session for 46, putting on a fighting 87-run stand for the fourth wicket with Saud Shakeel, who scored 76.
In the fourth over after lunch, Anderson had Rizwan caught behind while Robinson dismissed Shakeel to an excellent catch by substitute Keaton Jennings at short cover.
England are on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005, having declined to visit in the interim years on security grounds.
The second Test is in Multan from December 9 to 13, and the third in Karachi from December 17 to 21.