Azhar Ali, Pakistan Test captain, has credited Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes for the manner in which they launched a stunning counter-attack to wrestle the advantage and then eventually bat his side out of the game to help England register their 10th highest run-chase  in their history.
England were staring down the barrel when Buttler and Woakes came together at the crease. But the duo launched a brilliant counterattack, stroking 139 runs off 33 overs. Both batsmen stroked their respective half-centuries and though Buttler got dismissed in the end, Woakses ensured, he stayed till the end for what turned to be a remarkable finish for England.
Azhar Ali even went on to compare the duo’s knocks with Ben Stokes Headingley heroics last year against Australia, adding that the presence of crowd would have made the knocks more exciting.
” Disappointing to be at the wrong end of it. Credit to Buttler, for taking the game on when we were comfortable and suddenly the pitch did nothing. They changed the momentum of the game and we had no reply. I give credit to the partnership between Woakes and Buttler, and it’s tough to keep the boundaries dry. You have to give credit to the opposition,”. Azhar Ali said at the post-match conference as quoted by CricBuzz
”This one is not far behind Ben Stokes innings against Australia because it was a tough situation. If this was played in a packed house, it would have been more enjoyable, but at least people watching these games on TV would be entertained,” Ali added.
‘That’s where we lost the game’- Azhar Ali on Pakistan’s dismal second innings with the bat
Azhar Ali also lamented on the fact that Pakistan couldn’t shut the door on the home side in their second innings despite taking a hefty 107-run lead after the first innings. Pakistan was dismissed for a mere 169 in their second innings which also included two run-outs, something Ali termed as ‘unforgivable- a crime’. He also expressed disappointment by the fact there were no reverse-swing on offer ‘despite the ball being in a good shape’
”We had the opportunity to bat England out of the game in the 2nd innings, but I think that’s where we lost the game. Especially run-outs in Tests are unforgivable – a crime. This total was enough but we just weren’t good enough this time,” Azhar Ali said.
”It surprised me that there was no reverse-swing despite the ball being in good shape. We were patient and believed that we would get some reverse swing. We were rewarded with wickets for our discipline, but that partnership changed it all,” he added.
The three-wicket loss in Manchester means, Pakistan has now lost seven consecutive overseas Tests. The Azhar Ali-led team will now be desperate to shrug off the heartbreak and break the appalling streak when they lock horns with England at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from August 13.