England pulled off a series-clinching 26-run victory against Pakistan in the dramatic second test in Multan on Monday in a fresh vindication of their highly entertaining brand of cricket. A week after pulling off a memorable victory in the series opener in Rawalpindi, Ben Stokes and his men prevailed in yet another thriller to register, with a match to spare, England’s first series win in Pakistan since 2000-01.
The hosts, set a daunting victory target of 355, added to the drama with their spirited rearguard before being all out for 328 in the second session on the penultimate day of the contest. England had won only two away tests against Pakistan prior to the start of this series.
Under Stokes, England have now won eight of the nine test matches playing a positive and result-oriented cricket that has endeared them to the fans. Day four began with Pakistan needing 157 runs to level the series, and England requiring six wickets to clinch it. Part-time spinner Joe Root dismissed overnight batsman Faheem Ashraf to claim his 50th test wicket but Pakistan clawed back into the contest riding Saud Shakeel’s 80-run stand with Mohammad Nawaz (45).
Saud (94) held the fort while Nawaz counter-attacked to transfer the pressure back on England until Mark Wood (4-65) intervened. The paceman strangled Nawaz down the leg side and then ended Saud’s gallant knock via a debatable dismissal. The soft caught-behind signal against Saud was upheld though replays suggested the ball in Ollie Pope’s gloves may had grazed the turf.
With only 64 runs separating them from victory with three wickets in hand, Pakistan refused to throw in the towel. Abrar Ahmed, who had claimed 11 wickets in his debut test, smashed four fours injecting fresh drama into the contest. England could not be denied their victory and Ollie Robinson sealed it when he had Mohammad Ali caught behind for a duck.