Sunday March 26, 2023

Ruthless England complete 3-0 whitewash

December 21, 2022

KARACHI: The Test series was won in Multan. The whitewash was almost confirmed on Monday evening. England returned to the National Stadium Tuesday morning – Pakistan’s biggest citadel – to perform the last rites.

Chasing a victory target of 167 and just needing 55 more, England resumed at 112-2 and completed the rout without much fuss and in just 38 minutes.

Ben Duckett was unconquered at 82 while skipper Ben Stokes was unbeaten at 35 as England completed an eight-wicket triumph after having won the first Test in Rawalpindi by 74 runs and the second in Multan by 26 runs.

This is the first time in history that Pakistan have suffered a 3-0 Test whitewash on home soil. It is also the first time that they have lost four consecutive Test at home having surrendered against Australia in Lahore earlier this year.

The victory was yet another triumph for “Bazball”, a super aggressive approach introduced by England coach Brendon McCullum and Stokes. The term is derived from McCullum’s nickname.

The victory in the Karachi Test was England’s ninth win in the last ten Tests since McCullum and Stokes took over the English team in May this year. Before that England had won just one of their previous 17 Tests, including a 4-0 drubbing in the Ashes in Australia.

There were doubts whether “Bazball” would work on low and slow Pakistani wickets but England made sure it did right from the word go. Visiting Pakistan for the first time since 2005, England floored the hosts on the opening day of the Test in Rawalpindi when they amassed 506-4 in Rawalpindi to set a record for the most team runs on the first day of a Test.

Pakistan were found wanting in every department of the game as Stokes and his team marched to a stunning series triumph which concluded with what was Pakistan’s third loss in 45 Tests at the iconic National Stadium.

Fully aware that they did not have the firepower to counter England, Pakistan prepared lifeless tracks in Rawalpindi and Multan but it backfired. They erred in the team selection while captain Babar failed to lead his team by example.

Pakistan will need to go back to the drawing board and they certainly do not have the luxury of time. New Zealand land in Karachi later this week and the first of the two Tests against them begin here on December 26.

AFP adds: “It won’t really sink in until we get home or in the new year,” Stokes said after securing what was only England’s second series whitewash in the subcontinent, following a similar result in Sri Lanka in 2018.

Duckett cracked his 12th boundary off fast bowler Mohammad Wasim to seal the victory on the fourth day, with England finishing on 170-2.

Agha Salman dropped Stokes off spinner Abrar Ahmed on 22 and with just 19 needed for victory.

Pakistan’s problems were compounded by injuries to their fast bowlers, with Shaheen Shah Afridi ruled out before the series with a knee injury.

Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah missed the last two Tests with fitness problems.

But Pakistan suffered major batting collapses, losing their last six wickets for 108 in the first innings in Karachi and seven for 52 in the second.

Score Boad

Pakistan won the toss

Pakistan 1st innings: 304

England 1st innings: 354

Pakistan 2nd innings 216

England 2nd innings

Crawley lbw b Ahmed 41

Duckett not out 82

Rehan b Ahmed 10

Stokes not out 35

Extras: (lb1, nb1) 2

Total (two wkts, 28.1 ovs) 170

Fall of wickets:1-87, 2-97

Did not bat: Pope, Root, Brook, Foakes, Robinson, Wood, Leach

Bowling: Ahmed 12-0-78-2, Nauman 5-0-38-0, Wasim 9.1-1-40-0, Ashraf 2-0-13-0

Result: England win by eight wickets

Man of the match: Harry Brook

Umpires: Joel Wilson, Ahsan Raza