LEEDS, United Kingdom: England won their first Test match since September as they thrashed Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs in the second Test at Headingley on Sunday.
Victory, completed inside three days, saw England level the two-match series at 1-1 after Pakistan won the first Test at Lord’s by nine wickets.
It was also England’s first victory in a Test match since they beat the West Indies at Lord’s in September last year, with the side having endured a winless run of six defeats in eight Tests coming into this fixture.
By sharing the spoils in this short campaign, England avoided a third successive series loss after reverses in Australia and New Zealand.
Jos Buttler’s blistering 80 not out on Sunday saw England to a total of 363 and commanding first-innings lead of 189.
Pakistan then collapsed to 134, losing their last seven wickets for just 50 runs.
Stuart Broad took three for 28 and off-spinner Dominic Bess grabbed his first Test wickets in a return of three for 33.
England resumed Sunday on 302 for seven, with Buttler 44 not out and Sam Curran, unbeaten on 16.
Curran, however, was out for 20 on his 20th birthday when he was well caught low down at second slip by Shafiq off man-of-the-series Mohammad Abbas, who took eight for 64 at Lord’s.
At this stage, no batsman in the innings had scored a fifty, although Bess had made a commendable 49 in his role as nightwatchman to follow a fifty on debut at Lord’s.
Buttler, dropped on four on Saturday when Hasan Ali failed to hold a routine chance at midwicket, soon altered that statistic.
He went to fifty in style with two boundaries in as many balls off Abbas — an extra-cover driven four followed by a hooked six.
Buttler was missed in the deep by Usman Salahuddin on 66 and the3 very next ball saw him straight drive medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf for six.
But with Buttler five runs short of equalling his Test-best 85, made on debut against India at Southampton in 2014, No 11 James Anderson was caught in the slips off Hasan Ali.
Buttler faced 101 balls, including 11 fours and two sixes.
Pakistan had been behind in this game ever since they were dismissed for 174 in their first innings after captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss on a good pitch but saw his batsmen struggle in overcast, bowler-friendly, conditions.
Their second innings started in style when Azhar Ali drove the first ball, from Anderson, for four.
But Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, knocked over the midle stump of Azhar, who made 11.
Pakistan were 30 for two when Haris Sohail (eight) saw a hard-hit drive off Anderson brilliantly caught one-handed by a diving Bess at extra-cover.
Any hope Asad Shafiq, one of Pakistan’s more experienced batsman, might steady the innings ended when he was given out on review for five after a thin glove behind down the legside via a thin glove off Broad.
Pakistan had moved on to 83 for three at lunch when 20-year-old Bess, finally grabbed his first Test wicket.
For all the Somerset rising star had impressed with the bat and in the field, Bess had been selected primarily as an off-spinner.
Imam-ul-Haq drove his first ball Sunday for four but, five balls later Bess had the left-handed opener, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, lbw for 34 to a ball that skidded on.
Imam’s exit effectively ended Pakistan’s resistance and the match finished when England captain Joe Root, on his Yorkshire home ground, held a sharp slip catch to dismiss Abbas off Broad.—AFP