England make history with Test series win in Pakistan as speedster Mark Wood’s latest spell seals thrilling nail-biter
ENGLAND spoke of another thrilling and historic victory in Pakistan with Mark Wood taking the vital wickets.
Wood’s pace turned the game around on day four and Ben Stokes and his players won the second Test in Multan by 26 points.
He secured an unbeatable 2-0 lead in his first Test series in Pakistan for 17 years.
Prior to this trip, England had only won two Tests in Pakistan. Now they’ve won two in a week.
Fortunes fluctuated on day four, but Wood’s two strikes before lunch – when he had Mohammad Nawaz and Saud Shakeel caught in the side of the leg – were the defining moments.
Shakeel’s sacking caused much debate, but third referee Joel Wilson upheld permanent official Aleem Dar’s belief that wicketkeeper Ollie Pope had taken the hold cleanly.
Wood then pitched Zahid Mahmood after Jimmy Anderson had Abrar Ahmed, who swung out and slapped fours in both overs after lunch, caught in the covers for 17 of 12 deliveries.
Ollie Robinson took the final wicket with the first serve in a new spell when No11 Mohammad Ali was caught. The decision was postponed but England knew they had their man – and victory.
Pakistan have lost their last five wickets for 38 runs.
Although Pakistan has traditionally been a venue for bowlers, it was the English bowlers who made the difference.
Ben Stokes has now won eight out of nine Test matches since taking over from Joe Root as captain and linking up with manager Brendon McCullum.
The ‘Bazball’ juggernaut remains unstoppable for now.
Once again, Stokes looked completely calm amid the tension of the tight finish and his bowling changes and on-field rankings were again perfect.
Wood said: “I’m broken, we had to dig deep and it was very hard. But it was worth it. The guys invested so much in those two games.
“Stokesy told me to make a difference and change the game with this spell. That’s what I tried to do.
“Those two wickets were key. We knew with their cue that we could get late wickets.
“Stokesy knows exactly what he wants from all of us. I would walk through a brick wall for him.
Pakistan started the fourth day needing 157 more runs to level the series with six wickets intact.
And they lost southpaw Faheem Ashraf in the sixth when he edged Root to Zak Crawley on the slide.
Root became only the third man after Jacques Kallis and Steve Waugh to score 10,000 runs and 50 wickets in Test cricket, although it must be said that Kallis has 292 wickets!
Mohammad Nawaz then helped Saud Shakeel go 80 for the sixth wicket with ever-growing confidence. England desperately needed a wicket.
Wood was brought into the attack to try and shake off the batsmen with a short bowling and he quickly struck twice with his pair of snares to the side of the leg.
Nawaz gloved a hold, comfortably held by Pope, then Shakeel was given for a nice 94 into Wood’s follow as Pope dove to his right.
Pakistan were 291-7 and still needed 64 more points and, although the lower order hacked a few borders, England were still likely to win after that.