DateLine: 18th July 2016
By Andy Jalil at Lord's
Pakistan victorious by 75 runs in first Test
London Ė A magnificent team performance saw Pakistan to victory by 75 runs in glorious sunshine on the fourth evening to go one up in the four-Test series. It was a match that saw Pakistan have the upper hand for the greater part but took some effort in the face of solid resistance offered by Englandís middle order. Yasir Shahís marvellous bowling brought him the man of the match award with ten wickets for 141.
England must get credit for the defiant seventh wicket stand between Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes as they battled for just under two hours with Pakistan struggling to break the partnership. Woakes had a superb match with eleven wickets for 112 and scoring 35 not out and 23. He was too a candidate for man of the match award as was the Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq for his first innings century. The Bairstow/Woakes stand was worth 56 from 192 balls which showed the determination of the two batsmen to occupy the crease. It was only when Pakistan were eventually able to dismiss Bairstow for 48 in three-and-a-half hours of solid defence that the tourist were able run through the remaining wickets.
Woakes held out for over two-and-a-quarter hours for 23 before he too fell to Yasir four overs after Bairstow had been bowled by the leg spinner. At tea England were struggling on 155 for six and needing a further 128 to win which looked a major task with Pakistanís bowlers on top. It was a combination of virtuoso spin bowling by Yasir Shah and the pace of Rahat Ali that put Pakistan in such a strong position.
Pakistanís hopes of a win rose early with England losing three wickets in the first hour of the innings. In a brilliant spell of pace bowling, Rahat Ali claimed the wickets of Alastair Cook, Alex Hales and Joe Root. Playing the wrong line, the England captain got a thin edge to a straight ball to be held behind the stumps. Hales, with 16, went next as he tried to cut a ball which was not that short and he edged to first slip. In the next half hour Root fell for 9, after pulling into the hands of Yasir at mid-wicket.
England had lost the first wicket on 19, the second on 32 and then on 47. But a stand of 49 between James Vince and Gary Ballance seemed to be putting England on the path of recovery when Pakistanís third left-arm seamer, Wahab Riaz sent Vince back with Younis Khan, at second slip, holding on to the ball at second attempt. It was a quick-scoring innings from Vince whose 42 runs from 49 balls included nine fours and took him past his modest previous highest Test score of 35.
The next two overs from Yasir Shah produced a magical spell of bowling. The next ball after Gary Ballance had taken his score to 43 from 66 balls with a four to cover, accounted for his wicket. It was a massive leg spin to the left-hander from of the rough of the foot marks that beat the batsman, bowling him around his legs. Four runs later, England were 139 for six with Moeen Ali stepping out for a big straight hit in Yasirís next over and being beaten by the turn.
Moeenís intention seemed to be to knock Yasir off his length and take control but it didnít work. His dismissal was followed by the solid stand of Bairstow and Woakes.
Earlier, it took England just ten minutes to claim the last two Pakistan wickets after the tourists had resumed on the fourth morning on 214 for eight. Stuart Broad claimed both wickets with the help of Bairstow behind the stumps. The first fell in the first over when Yasir edged behind without adding to his overnight 30. With the first ball of his next over, he had Mohammad Amir whose only run took the Pakistan total to 215, giving them an overall lead of 282.
Broad finished with three for 38. Woakes bowled the other over in the innings for figures of five for 32 which gave him his Test best figures of eleven for 102. Interestingly, he is only the second England bowler to take over ten wickets at Lordís in nearly 40 years, Broad had done so in 2012 against West Indies with eleven for 165. Ian Botham achieved the feat in 1978 against New Zealand with 11 for 140.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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