It was a win that should have never been possible. Defying all circumstances and conventions, Ben Stokes has led England to possibly their best overseas win with a 74-run win over Pakistan in the 1st match of their 2022 series. If there were any naysayers left surrounding Stokes’ captaincy and the direction he and coach Brendon McCullum are taking England, they were firmly put to bed when the skipper led his team off the pitch at Rawalpindi. Join us at SinkorSwimSports as we relive how England defied all the odds to claim just a third win in Pakistan.
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Pakistan vs England 1st Test Scorecard
England won by 74 runs
Drama On The Final Day
It had all the hallmarks of Karachi in the dark back in 2000. Every single Englishman looks up as the sun slips under the horizon, light metres come out, and Pakistan begin changing gloves every over – precious minutes slipping away for the Three Lions. Ben Stokes tosses the shiny new ball to Jack Leach, unable to call upon his seamers due to the light, and the added zip of the shine manages to trap Naseem Shah plum dead in front of the stumps.
A hopeful review from the Pakistani seamer later, and one of the most seismic days in English cricketing history is etched into the history books.
Taking a remarkable five wickets in the final session on the final day, England managed to bowl out Pakistan for 268 – 75 runs short of their 343 target.
How England even found themselves in a position to win the game was thanks to their aggressive batting performance, brave captaincy and some masterful spells from their seamers. On a pitch that had offered absolutely nothing for the bowlers, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson had found some reverse swing and toiled away against the Pakistani batsmen, both taking four wickets apiece.
Reaching 176-3 and 259-5, Pakistan had looked in the hunt at points during the day, however, Robinson taking the wickets of Salman Agha and Azhar Ali, and then Anderson claiming Zahid Mahmood and Haris Rauf in the same over took the win away from the hosts.
Naseem Shah and Mohammad Ali survived for 52 balls for the last wicket before Leach was able to send England into raptures.
A Win For The Ages
This was England’s first Test match in Pakistan for 17 years and marked only their third win in the country.
This will certainly be remembered as one of England’s best overseas wins (and one of their greatest of all time), and the way in which they engineered it represents one of the most remarkable moments in Tests. They had been ravaged by a virus just hours before the start of play on a pitch that didn’t deserve to host an international Test match, and were forced to rely on a combination of inexperience and part-time spinners across three days in the field.
Over the course of the match, England scored 921 runs in 136.5 overs at an economy rate of 6.73, the fastest of any side batting twice in Test history. 506-4 on day one is a Test record for the most runs scored during the opening day.
Even still, it was only Ben Stokes’ bold decision to declare at Tea on day four that managed to make all four results possible on the last day. Pakistan had done next to nothing to deserve a win in truth, and yet they had the carrot dangled in front of them.
Stokes and McCullum have spoken extensively about wanting to get people back into the spectacle of Test match cricket, and the manner in which the Rawalpindi crowd gradually filled in as the day progressed showcased the excitement this mentality cultivates.
England’s win ends a run of eleven away Test matches without a win and takes Stokes’ record as captain to seven wins out of eight games. The visitors have a chance to wrap up the series later this week in Multan. Something special is happening with English cricket. Stokes is already one of the country’s most significant captains, and Test cricket might just end up owing its existence to how the Three Lions have trailblazed this new approach.
Speaking about the result, Stokes said:
“The effort that everyone has put in this week is incredible. I feel very honoured and privileged to be able to lead these guys out on to the field. To be able to get a result on this type of wicket is mind-blowing. Jimmy Anderson said to me he was feeling quite emotional about this win. To have a guy who has experienced everything say that, it makes you realise what a special achievement this week has been.”
Red Bulls, James Anderson and Christian Pulisic enthusiast. Still unsure how Wes Brown wrangled himself a Champions League medal – Premier League, Cricket and Major League Soccer contributor at SinkorSwimSports.