Rawalpindi, 5 December 2022: England’s proactive and aggressive approach backed up by the outside the box thinking earned them only their third Test victory in Pakistan in 24 Tests and first in 22 years when they won the first Test by 74 runs at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Ollie Robinson and James Anderson reversed the ball sufficiently in the last session of the Test when they equally shared four wickets between them as Pakistan, who went for tea at 257 for five and required another 86 runs to go one-up in the three-Test series, slipped to 264 for nine.
After the last pair of Naseem Shah and debutant Mohammad Ali frustrated the tourists by surviving 53 balls between them, Ben Stokes took the second new ball and his decision was justified 11 balls later when Jack Leach ended Naseem Shah’s 46-ball resistance by trapping him in front of the wickets as Pakistan were skittled out for 268 shortly before darkness took over.
Ollie Robinson, later adjudged player of the match, had begun the end for Pakistan by dismissing Salman Ali Agha (30) and Azhar Ali (40) in a space of five balls before James Anderson accounted for Zahid Mehmood and Haris Rauf in three balls.
Robinson, who had snapped up the wicket of Abdullah Shafique on Sunday afternoon and added the scalp of Saud Shakeel (76) during the second session’s play on Monday, pinned Salman in front of the wickets and then had Azhar caught in the leg-slip to finish with impressive figures of 22-6-50-4, including figures of 17-6-28-3 on Monday.
40-year-old James Anderson, who dismissed Imam-ul-Haq (48) in the first session and Mohammad Rizwan (46) in the second session, ended up with figures of 24-12-36-4, including 22-11-32-4 on the final day.
The 74 runs victory made Ben Stokes only the third England captain to win a Test on Pakistan soil.
In October 1961, Ted Dexter’s England had defeated Imtiaz Ahmed’s Pakistan by five wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium, before Nasser Hussain inspired his side to only their second victory by six wickets at the National Stadium in near darkness in 2000.
Earlier, Pakistan resumed their second innings at 80 for two and suffered an early loss when Imam-ul-Haq managed to add five runs to his overnight score of 43. He was caught down the leg-side by Ollie Pope off James Anderson.
However, Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan successfully played out the session without being separated and in the process took the score from 89 for three to 169 for three as Pakistan collected 89 runs in the first session.
Nonetheless, Pakistan lost both Rizwan and Saud in a space of 22 runs in the afternoon session as they slipped to 198 for five. The 87-run fourth wicket partnership ended when Rizwan (46) was caught fishing outside the off-stump by Pope off Anderson.
Saud, who faced 159 balls for his 76 and had started the day at the score of 24, returned to the hut after he played a loose shot and was caught at short-extra-cover off Robinson.
Azhar Ali and Salman Ali Agha then combined to take the side to tea at 257 for five as Pakistan scored 88 runs in the penultimate session. However, the last couple of overs before tea had their own excitement and surprises when Salman survived a close leg-before against Jack Leach, before Azhar was dropped by Pope – again down the leg-side.
England were always the better side in the Test when they batted at a run-rate of nearly 6.5 to collect 657 in 101 overs in their first innings. After securing a 78-run first innings lead, they batted in a similar style in their second innings and made a bold and courageous declaration at 264 for seven to set Pakistan a 343 runs target.
While defending the target, England bowlers bowled short of length with an attacking field, effectively used the old ball and fully exploited Pakistan batters’ weakness down the leg-side. The strategy proved effective as they clinched the Test on their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years by 74 runs.
The second Test will start in Multan on Friday.
Scores in brief
ENGLAND 657, 101 overs (Harry Brook 153, Zak Crawley 122, Ollie Pope 108, Ben Duckett 107; Zahid Mahmood 4-235, Naseem Shah 3-140, Mohammad Ali 2-124) and 264-7d, 35.5 overs (Harry Brook 87, Joe Root 73, Zak Crawley 50; Mohammad Ali 2-64, Naseem Shah 2-66, Zahid Mahmood 2-84)
PAKISTAN 579, 155.3 overs (Babar Azam 136, Imam-ul-Haq 121, Abdullah Shafique 114, Salman Ali Agha 53; Will Jacks 6-161) and 268, 96.3 overs (Saud Shakeel 76, Imam-ul-Haq 48, Mohammad Rizwan 46, Azhar Ali 40, Salman Ali Agha 30; James Anderson 4-36, Ollie Robinson 4-50)
Result – England won by 74 runs
Player of the match – Ollie Robinson (England)
Second Test – Multan, 9-13 December
Third Test – Karachi, 17-21 December