England 354 (Brook 111, Foakes 64, Pope 51, Nauman 4-126, Abrar 4-150) and 170 for 2 (Duckett 82*) beat Pakistan 304 (Babar 78, Salman 56, Leach 4-140) and 216 (Babar 54, Shakeel 53, Rehan 5-48) by eight wickets
This was England’s ninth win in 10 Tests since Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over as captain and coach respectively, a remarkable turnaround after a run of one win in 17 before their appointments. They have obliterated an under-strength Pakistan in their first Test series in the country since 2005, who now face a short turnaround before they play New Zealand on Boxing Day.
Asked at the presentation for his verdict on the series, Stokes simply said: “Perfect.” He later added: “We’ve adapted really well, whether that be with bat or ball. The confidence that every individual has in themselves and the people around them is unbelievable. Every person has stood up at some point and put in some kind of match-winning performance.
“We knew what cricket means to Pakistan and we knew what it meant to Pakistan for us to be here. The support that we’ve had has been incredible. We felt like the cricket that was played was just being celebrated. We came here to win but we also came to play an exciting brand of cricket and get people in to watch. To walk off to a reception like we have at every ground, being the winners over the home team, was very special.”
England cruised to victory on the final day of the series, in front of another sparse crowd at the National Stadium. Stokes set the tone, muscling the third ball he faced through midwicket, while Duckett continued to sweep, reverse-sweep and paddle-sweep liberally off Abrar Ahmed as he extended his form in a hugely impressive comeback series.
That left Duckett to back-cut Wasim through point with the scores level, raising his arms aloft as the ball ran away to the boundary rope for four. England had only ever won two Tests in Pakistan before this tour, but now clinched a third consecutive win on their return after a lengthy absence.
Azhar Ali, commemorative stump in hand, was applauded off the field with a tear in his eye after the final appearance of his long and distinguished international career for Pakistan. He retires from Test cricket with 7097 runs at 42.49, including 19 hundreds, from his 97 caps.
Harry Brook, the leading run-scorer on the tour with 468 in five innings, was named Player of the Series after hitting three hundreds in his second, third and fourth appearances as a Test cricketer. “He’s set Pakistan on fire,” Stokes said.
The third Test turned on the third afternoon when Stokes belatedly introduced Rehan Ahmed, England’s 18-year-old debut, to the attack, who promptly ripped through Pakistan’s middle and lower order. He took 5 for 48, becoming the youngest man in Test history to take a five-wicket haul on debut, and set up a routine chase.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
#Match #Report #Pakistan #England #3rd #Test