No international cricketing side can quite match the consistency of Pakistan when it comes to turning losing positions to wins or winning situations to surprise defeats. As one of the oldest cricketing tropes go, Pakistan are the masters of unpredictability.
England secured a sensational victory over Pakistan in the first Test in Manchester on Sunday after Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler took the hosts home after the visitors looked set to take the lead in the three-match series on several occasions over the course of the last four days.
A terrific knock from Shan Masood in the first innings helped visitors post a respectable score of 326 in their first innings. That was backed up by their bowlers who managed to bundle England out for just 219, with Mohammad Abbas’ delivery to dismiss Ben Stokes the stand-out moment.
With a lead of 107, Pakistan were firmly in the driver’s seat but England fought back handsomely in the second innings. A collective bowling effort saw England restrict Pakistan to just 169 in the second innings.
Needing 277 runs to win, it was still a tall order for the hosts who seemed to be crumbling under pressure from the Pakistani bowlers. Indeed, a target of more than 200 had been overhauled only twice at the venue before Sunday. The weight of that history and the impressiveness of the Pakistan bowlers kept pegging the hosts back.
However, with England reeling at 117/5, Buttler and Woakes stitched together a 139-run stand to take England closer to victory. And Woakes remained unbeaten till the end to see off the job as England registered one of their finest wins. The all-rounder was deservingly adjudged player of the match while Pakistan captain Azhar Ali was left ruing the missed opportunities.
Here are the highlights from all four days of the first Test.