Cricket Article

England Crush Pakistan to Level Test Series

England Crush Pakistan to Level Test Series Photo: IBL

England gained full revenge for their first test defeat as they beat Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs in the second test at Headingley, winning inside three days. It was a complete reversal of fortune, as the England team, heavily criticised just a week earlier, dominated the match from start to finish, levelling the series.

In what was a reverse mirror image of the opening day in the Lord’s test match, England dominated the first day in the Headingly test. This time it was Pakistan who won the toss and decided to bat, and this time it was them who, in hindsight, may have made the wrong decision.

As expected Pakistan brought in Usman Salahuddin for the injured Babar Azam, whilst the England side showed three changes – Keaton Jennings replacing Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes preferred to Mark Wood, and Sam Curran handed a debut after Ben Stokes failed a fitness test.

In conditions that favoured swing bowling, England struck immediately, Stuart Broad dismissing Iman ul-Haq before a run had been scored. He then had his opening partner Azhar Ali lbw before Hasan Sohail and Asad Shafiq tried to rebuild. However, both fell before lunch, caught in the slips off the bowling of Woakes, as Pakistan stumbled to 62 – 4.

Worse was to follow after lunch as Jimmy Anderson took three quick wickets to reduce the visitors to 79 – 7. However, teenager Shadab Khan led an attacking recovery, and together with Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali managed to add another 95 to the score, before Shadab was last man out for 56, as he gave Curran his first wicket in test match cricket.

Chasing the Pakistan total of 174, England, batting in more benign conditions, for once got off to a good start through Alastair Cook and Jennings, with Jennings impressing on his return to test match cricket before edging Faheem Ashraf for 29. Cook and Joe Root then looked to bat England in a good position, and it was a surprise when Cook gave a catch behind off Ali just before stumps for 46. However, with Root undefeated on 29, England looked well-set overnight on 106 – 2.

The second day saw play delayed by rain by nearly 4 hours, but, when matters did eventually get underway, England looked to build a solid platform with Root and night watchman Dom Bess. The pair added 32 to the overnight score before Root edged Amir, who bowled well all day in challenging conditions, for 45. Then Bess and Dawid Malan shared a 62-run partnership before Malan was out to another Amir delivery for 28.

Bess looked to be on the verge of another test half-century, but fell one run short when he was surprised by a quicker delivery from Shadab and was caught at slip. That brought Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler together, and the pair looked to increase the scoring rate. Both had some luck – Buttler was dropped on 4 and Bairstow had an lbw decision overturned on review when he had scored just 8 – but then the Yorkshireman poked at a Faheem Ashraf delivery and departed for 21.

That left Buttler to face the new ball with the tail. Woakes survived for 31 minutes before falling for 17 to Abbas, but debutant Curran and Buttler then saw out the last seven overs, as England closed on 302 -7, an overnight lead of 128. Buttler was undefeated on 34, whilst Curran had 16 to his name.

Resuming on the third morning, Buttler and Curran added a further 17 to the overnight score before Curran was given out slightly controversially, adjudged caught by Asad Shafiq off the bowling of Abbas, although replays suggested the ball may have been grounded.

With partners running out, Buttler upped his scoring rate, and hit Abbas for six to bring up his half-century. He then hit successive fours and another six that cleared the ground, before Pakistan took the last two wickets of Broad and Anderson, as England were all out for 363, with Buttler 80 not out.

Facing a first innings deficit of 189. Ali hit the first ball of his innings from Anderson for four, but the fast bowler then got his revenge, clean bowling him for 11. Anderson then picked up his second wicket with Bess producing a spectacular catch at mid-off to get rid of Haris. And then England grabbed a third Pakistan wicket before lunch when Shafiq gloved Broad to Bairstow. Ul-Haq and Salahuddin then looked to consolidate with a 42-run partnership, but that was brought to a premature end when ul-Haq gave Bess his first test wicket when he was given out lbw for 34. Woakes then had Sarfraz out in the same manner, as the tourists slumped to 102 – 6.

Worse was to follow as Faheem Ashraf gave Bess a second wicket when he tried a big shot and instead gave a top edge to backward point. And then Salahuddin holed out at mid-on to Root for 33, giving Bess a third wicket. Stuart Broad then returned and wrapped-up the Pakistan innings, having both Hasan and Ali caught at slip as the visitors crumbled to 134 all out.

Sunny c
Sunny C Sports Pundit staff writer

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