England v Pakistan 1st Test Day 4: England win by three wickets
Joe Root speaks to the media after England's victory over Pakistan in the #raisethebat first Test
Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes put on enough of a score for England to get over the line.
There was a time Pakistan could've maybe walked away with it, but England's tail end made sure that wasn't the case.
Pakistan 326/10 & 169/10 (109.3 & 46.4)
England 219/10 & 277/7 (70.3 & 82.1)
Close of Play - Day 4 - England win by three wickets
Although covid-19 has denied any crowd presence on the grounds, the Test between England and Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford, had all the ingredients of a thrilling finale. It took two gutsy knocks from Jos Buttler (75) and Chris Woakes (84 not out) to turn the tables, with a 139-run stand for the sixth wicket, to achieve a three-wicket victory. A victory against odds, leaving Pakistan to rue missed opportunities.
The tail did wag for the tourists as 32 runs were added through lusty blows, within four overs, to be bowled out for 169. The bubbly Yasir Shah, top scoring with 33 priceless runs to his name as Pakistan lead jumped from 244 to 277, to set up an enthralling contest.
England took lunch at 55-1 and had negotiated the first 22 overs with a sensible approach and required another 222 to go one-up in the series. Till that point, the ball had done enough to keep both pace and spin into play. Azhar Ali, is bound to come under scrutiny, his field placing, field positioning and change of bowlers, continues to have a hint of re-activeness but Test cricket requires a more balanced approach. He carries a look of someone burdened with a stressful task, more so with runs having dried up and his contribution with the bat, outside the Asian sub-continent, being very dismal.
Coming in to bowl the 14th over with the score at 31-1, Yasir looked in good rhythm and his five overs before lunch did see sharp turn. The 50-run stand between Dom Sibley and Joe Root came off 126 balls and it was the right tempo at this stage of the game for England. Yasir in his 12th consecutive over was able to break the stand, through change of angle and tempting Sibley into an expansive drive. It was quickly followed up with the departure of Root after a watchful 42 and at 95-3, England had two new batsmen at the crease.
To take three wickets before the ball started to reverse and some inconsistent bounce creeping in, it was a good position for Pakistan to be in. Ben Stokes, so often England’s batting hero in all situations, was caught off his glove, only to be confirmed upstairs through ultra-edge technology. Ollie Pope’s departure off a nasty unplayable ball that exploded from Shaheen Afridi, was a big blow for it left the home side on 117-5. From that point Buttler and Woakes formed a stand against an exuberant side on the roll, through a positive and calculated, approach. It was felt Yasir carried on at least a couple of overs too many in his first spell of 20 overs. The two had put together 50 runs in just 49 balls when tea was taken at 167-5.
Now 110 runs to defend, Pakistan regrouped and went into the final session with plenty of work to do. They might have missed a trick by letting Woakes, who had struggled against short-pitched delivery lately, to settle down. With each boundary, the partnership looked threatening and captain Azhar was asked to shuffle his bowlers around. From Pakistan’s point of view, the ball was not doing much even after 60 overs. Buttler’s hard-fought fifty only needed 55 balls with 7 fours and in the same over Woakes got to it too having faced 59 balls and hit 8 fours. England surely could not lose from here with 65 runs away as their 100-run partnership came off 123 balls – pretty decent rate in any situation.
England - Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Root(c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(wk), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
Start Time: 11:00
Toss: Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Officials: Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Michael Gough, Steve O'Shaughnessy, Chris Broad