A bold captaincy by Ben Stokes helped England pull off a sensational victory against Pakistan in the Rawalpindi Test on Monday.
Pakistan needed only 342 runs to win after Stokes stunned everyone by declaring England’s second innings at 264-7 on Sunday. Given that the pitch had provided little help to bowlers in the match, Stokes’ decision surprised everyone. But, the England skipper earned plaudits for his brave decision.
With light fading rapidly on the fifth day of the match, England needed just one wicket to secure a win. But Pakistan’s tailenders put up a brave fight as they negotiated English bowlers superbly.
However, Naseem Shah failed to read a slow delivery by Jack Leach and ended up losing his wicket through LBW, giving England a 74-run victory.
Former England skipper Michael Atherton termed this one of the finest victories by his country. “It has to be one of England’s finest ever Test match wins. I couldn’t think of another England team that would have won the game on this pitch.
“Even if the result had gone against England today I don’t think you would have had anyone criticise it. It gave us a fantastic last day. The crowd was brilliant and enthralled. What is the point of sport if it isn’t about that?” Atherton told Sky Sports.
40-year-old English veteran, James Anderson, and fast his fellow fast bowler, Ollie Robinson, shared four wickets each.
England now lead 1-0 in the current Test series.
Stokes, according to the BBC, said that the win in Rawalpindi was ‘up there with England’s greatest away Test wins.’
He also revealed that James Anderson was emotional at the end. “We have achieved something very special this week,” the England skipper added.
Scores in brief:
England 657 (Brook 153, Crawley 122, Pope 108, Duckett 107) & 264-7 dec (Brook 87)
Pakistan 579 (Babar 136, Imam 121, Shafique 114, Jacks 6-161) & 268 (Anderson 4-36, Robinson 4-50)
England won by 74 runs