Aggressive England beat Pakistan by 74 runs to win first Test in Rawalpindi - GulfToday

Aggressive England beat Pakistan by 74 runs to win first Test in Rawalpindi


James Anderson (2bd l) celebrates after taking the wicket of Rizwan (L); Ollie Robinson (C) celebrates after taking the wicket of Saud Shakeel and England's players celebrate after the dismissal of Naseem Shah in Rawalpindi on Monday. AP

England showcased its masterful approach of aggression in Test cricket with a superb 74-run victory over Pakistan in the final session of the first Test on Monday.

Needing 263 runs with eight wickets in hand on Day 5, Pakistan was dismissed for 268 against the reverse swing of James Anderson (4-36) and Ollie Robinson (4-50) — losing its last five wickets for just 11 runs after tea.

Jack Leach had the last wicket of Naseem Shah, trapped leg before wicket, after England delayed the second new ball for well over an hour with Anderson and Robinson doing the damage with the old ball.

Pakistan succumbed to the relentless attacking field settings of England captain Ben Stokes before Robinson and veteran Anderson sliced through the lower order after Pakistan was placed at 257-5 going into the final session.

Robinson had earlier ended the nearly four-hour defiance of one of the four Pakistan debutants — Saud Shakeel – in the second session to a brilliant diving catch by Keaton Jennings as the lefthander top-scored with 76.

England had posted an electrifying 657 and Pakistan responded with 579 to concede a 78-run lead on a grass-less wicket where seven batters from both sides scored centuries.

England made a bold declaration with another rapid 264-7 in just 35.5 overs on Day 4 and set Pakistan a challenging target of 343 in four sessions.

Earlier, Anderson denied Imam-ul Haq a half century after Pakistan resumed on 80-2 and reached 169-3 in the first session.

Shakeel completed his fifty while Rizwan, who took 45 minutes before scoring his first runs off the 24th ball he faced, reached 42 off the next 62 balls as Stokes persisted with his attacking field settings.

England’s recent aggressive approach to make five-day Test cricket more entertaining under the coaching of Brendon McCullum led to them racking up 657 and 264-7 declared on a flat Pindi Cricket Stadium wicket, with four of its top five batters smashing hundreds in the first innings.

Pakistan made 579 on the back of three centuries, but England took a gamble in hope of victory in its first Test in Pakistan in 17 years when declaring the second innings closed at tea on Sunday, giving Pakistan a full four sessions to achieve their target.

Anderson had Imam caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Ollie Pope in the day’s sixth over as the lefthander tried to work the fast bowler off his hip.

Stokes dried up the runs by placing men close to Rizwan’s bat on both sides of the wicket, before the batter accelerated against the spinners to help Pakistan make 89 runs in the day’s first session.

Rizwan got off the mark with two boundaries against offspinner Will Jacks, and Shakeel completed his maiden test fifty in a more traditional test-match style, off 104 balls, when he lofted over leftarm spinner Jack Leach for a straight four.

Stokes persisted with attacking fields but Rizwan changed gears in the latter half of the first session by smashing five fours and a six each against Leach and Jacks.

England leads its first test series in Pakistan in 17 years 1-0 with Multan and Karachi scheduled to host the remaining two games.

Associated Press

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