Review - The Investec Series - 1st Test.
Before the onset of this series, who would have thought that Pakistan would beat England within four days?
Yes. The above said has happened. Pakistan has become the first Asian team to defeat England at Lord's for the fourth time. The happenings of the match were nothing less than a screenplay. Having won the toss on Day 1, Misbah-ul-Haq elected to bat first. After losing Shan Masood and Mohammad Hafeez before lunch and Azhar Ali and Younis Khan after it, the 42-year old captain stitched a 148-run partnership with Asad Shafiq.
Shafiq got out for a well-made 73 but Misbah continued with the fow of runs. He scored his 10th century in test cricket before stumps on the first day itself. As good as it was, the feat was celebrated in the most apt way possible. However, he failed to stick to his guns on the second day and Pakistan was bundled out for 339. Chris Woakes did not let England miss James Anderson as he picked-up a career best six-for.
A total of 339 was not a mammoth one but given the strength of Pakistan's bowling, it was never facile. For England, their captain Alastair Cook top-scored with a wobbly 81 as he was dropped twice off the bowling of Mohammad Amir by Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps. Apart from Alex Hales and Gary Ballance, every batsman got a start but failed to convert it. A match which was obsessed by Mohammad Amir got dominated by Yasir Shah. The 30-year old leg-spinner registered figures of 6-72. His dominance did not allow England cross the 300-run mark as they were eventually dismissed for 272.
|Pakistan team bringing out the push-up celebrations.|
With a lead of 67 under their belt, Pakistan did not make the best of starts. They lost their four wickets on 60, including the centurion from the first innings, Misbah. Shafiq, Sarfraz and Yasir Shah's notable contributions helped them cross the 200-run mark. Woakes again picked up a five-for. On the morning of Day 4, Stuart Broad made sure that the visitors do not add more than a run to their total. Pakistan was all out on 215, setting a target of 283 for the home team.
With almost two days left in the match, a result was certainly on. In the fourth innings, Pakistan drew the first blood as Cook was dismissed cheaply by Rahat Ali. He later went on to dismiss Alex Hales and Joe Root. England had only scored 47 till then. James Vince and Ballance started with the rescue act but theirs and Moeen Ali's wicket in quick succession left England reeling at 139-6. It was Jonny Bairstow and Woakes who constructed a sedate but responsible partnership of 56.
The moment Bairstow lost his stumps to Yasir Shah, the course of the game had changed. Amir then bowled Broad. Woakes patience also ended when he was caught at slip by Younis Khan. Amir finally disturbed Jake Ball's furniture which meant that Pakistan had registered a historic win!
Yasir Shah was declared the Man of the Match. It was the first match for Mickey Arthur as the Head Coach of the team. The management would want it's batsmen to take more responsibility. On the other hand, the return of James Anderson and Ben Stokes would prove to be a boon for England.