On 198/4 at stumps on day three, Pakistan must have strongly fancied their chances of chasing down 355 against England in the second Test at Multan. Instead, on day four, England took the remaining six wickets to bowl out the hosts for 328 and win the match as well as the series by 26 runs.
After the match ended, England captain Ben Stokes admitted there was a luck factor in day fo’r’s play which played its part in their running toward victory. “Take a look at the conditions, it was a tricky wicket for slower bowling. We were fortunate that with the cracks opening up our seamers became effective.”
“Jimmy (James Anderson), Robbo (Ollie Robinson) and Woody (Mark Wood) put in a seriously good effort, so hats off to the lads. The way they bowled throughout the game, they looked a huge threat.”
“When it came down to the wire, I had three guys to turn to. They bowled short spells and always seemed to pick up a wicket when needed,” said Stokes at the post-match presentation ceremony.
With eight victories in their last nine Test matches, England have been rather successful since Brendon McCullum took over as head coach in June this year although their chances of making the ICC World Test Championship final are gone after a poor run at the start of the cycle.
“Different conditions and a different game. Things happened quickly this week compared to last week. Going down to the wire again, a good game to be a part of. It was pleasing the way we stuck at the task of going out and putting them under pressure even if conditions aren’t in our favour,” added Stokes.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam also accepted that the hosts were below par in the first innings but maintained that they put in a good fight in the second essay. “We were not up to the mark in the first innings. We had a couple of soft dismissals. After that, we had a fightback in the bowling and second innings we fight well, but unfortunately, we did not finish it.”
With Pakistan losing the series, they will now be eyeing a consolation victory in the third and final Test at Karachi, starting on December 17. “We have a simple plan to carry on the momentum, we had good partnerships between Imam and Saud and then Saud and Nawaz. The tail also fought well, but we didn’t finish well.”
“Dream start for Abrar, he used conditions very well in the first innings and after that, he bowled well. Good for him and the team. Looking forward to that (third Test in Karachi) and we will do our best.”