England have been excellent, despite some fighting sessions from Pakistan which couldn’t get the winning conversion. Starting from the cracking Manchester Test to the finale at Southampton, England ended the Test home summer with another series win. Pakistan started on a high note in Manchester but Woakes and Butler broke their hearts to draw the first blood in the series which could have been a series-defining game for Pakistan. The second Test was washed out but we saw some glimpses from Zack Crawley followed by a fighting knock from Mohammed Rizwan. The third Test was more intense, witnessing a finest maiden Test ton from 22-years old Zack Crawley and a captain knock from Azhar Ali. The series concluded with three points – England’s victory, Pakistan’s fight, and unpredictability of the weather in the UK.
Let’s discuss 5 talking points from the England-Pakistan Test series:
The Manchester rescue
The Manchester heist is yet another entry into the most iconic Tests between Pakistan and England. Who would have thought, the unpredictability of Pakistan will beat the weather of Manchester? But Woakes and Butler scripted a famous win from the jaws of the defeat. Shan Masood’s 156 and the excellent show from bowlers, Pakistan clinched 107 runs lead but it was England who managed to add a twist in the game yet again, bowling Pakistan out on just 169. Woakes-Butler duo came when England was five down on 117 and they rescued England and secured a dramatic 3-wickets victory.
Zack Crawley’s record-breaking double ton
Crawley surprised everyone with a fabulous knock of 267 – the 3rd highest maiden Test ton by an English player. The Kent batsman showed his batting glimpses in the 2nd Test with a fighting half-century but the final Test came like a bigger party for him. The 22-years-old put a 259-runs stand with Jos Butler to give Pakistan a scar of series loss. Crawley was admired by former and current cricketers with his techniques and his temperament. This one knock made a big difference and helped England to enforce follow-on to Pakistan. If rain was not there, England would have wrapped up the game on 4th day.
Azhar Ali’s captain knock
Brian Lara shared a note on Instagram and called Azhar Ali’s 141 not out, the best captain-knock in modern cricket. The Pakistani skipper was facing a huge criticism going into the final Test and the 35-years old Azhar played the finest knock at Rose Bowl to define his brilliance. He carried the bat through the innings and came out as a big survivor for Pakistan at a crunch situation. He completed his 6000 runs in Test cricket and put a 138-runs stand with Rizwan to give to take Pakistan closer to 300. This knock was a steady art of Test-batting when the English pace was asking tough questions to the Pakistani batting unit. We see hundred in almost each and every Test match but the situations tell us the importance of that hundred. Azhar Ali delivered something at Southampton
Anderson’s 600th wicket
English pacer James Anderson claimed his record 29th 5-wickets haul in Test cricket on the 3rd day of the final Test, equalizing Glenn McGrath’s record. With the wicket of Abid Ali, Anderson claimed his 599th Test wicket and in the search of 600th wickets, English players dropped some chances. The rain also became a spoilsport for him to get that vital one wicket to touch the magic figure of 600. At the end of the 4th day, Anderson was one wicket behind to become only 4th player to get 600 wickets in Tests. The 5th day was started in a disappointing way and the rain spoiled his plan to celebrate it early but the game started after the tea-break and Anderson got Azahar Ali out behind the stumps to achieve the milestone of 600 wickets.
Fawad Alam’s comeback after 11 years
The domestic achiever who contributed 12000 runs in First-class cricket, finally got an opportunity in the 2nd Test at Southampton. Yes, we’re talking about Fawad Alam. The Pakistani batsman was selected in the Test squad for the home series against Sri Lanka but didn’t get the chance. He also missed out the Manchester Test but management gave him a chance which was, unfortunately, ended in a duck. Fawad Alam lastly played for Pakistan in 2009, the time when Kohli and Smith even didn’t start their Test career.